Quotes from St. Catherine of Siena (Doctor of the Church, Papal Advisor, Mystic and Visionary)


On finding God in the midst of a busy life:

“Build an inner cell in your soul and never leave it.”

Faithfulness to duty:

“Let all do the work which God has given them, and not bury their talent, for that is also a sin deserving severe punishment. It is necessary to work always and everywhere for all God’s creatures.”

To Pope Gregory XI, who was weak and indecisive:

“You can do what he (Pope Gregory the Great) did, for he was a man as you are, and God is always the same as he was. The only thing we lack is hunger for the salvation of our neighbour, and courage.”

To a cardinal, on the need for courage:

“A soul which is full of slavish fear cannot achieve anything which is right, whatever the circumstances may be, whether it concern small or great things. It will always be shipwrecked and never complete what it has begun. How dangerous this fear is! It makes holy desire powerless, it blinds a man so that he can neither see not understand the truth. This fear is born of the blindness of self-love, for as soon as a man loves himself with the self-love of the senses he learns fear, and the reason for this fear is that it has given its hope and love to fragile things which have neither substance or being and vanish like the wind.”

To her spiritual director Blessed Raymond of Capua, on courage:

“(I long) to see you grow out of your childhood and become a grown man…For an infant who lives on milk is not able to fight on the battlefield; he only wants to play with other children. So a man who is wrapped in love for himself only wishes to taste the milk of spiritual and temporal consolation; like a child he wants to be with others of its kind. But when he becomes a grown man he leaves behind this sensitive self love…He has become strong, he is firm, serious and thoughtful, he hastens to the battlefield and his only wish is to fight for the truth.”

To those who think the Church’s day has come to an end:

“If you reply that it looks as though the Church must surrender, for it is impossible for it to save itself and its children, I say to you that it is not so. The outward appearance deceives, but look at the inward, and you will find that it possesses a power that its enemies can never possess.”

To us all:

“If you are what you are meant to be, you will set the world on fire.”  (Source)


St. Catherine of Siena (1347–1380) was born in Siena, Italy, the 25th child of a wealthy wool dyer. She began having profound mystical experiences at the age of six which encouraged her in a life of virtue, extreme penance, and total consecration to God. She became a Dominican Tertiary at the age of 16 while continuing to live in the home of her parents as a Virgin. She had regular mystical visits from, and conversations with, Jesus, Mary, and many of the saints. Catherine had no formal education and could not read, however, her theological knowledge astounded many. She was especially devoted to the unity and spiritual health of the Church. Among her most famous accomplishments was that she persuaded the pope to go back to Rome from Avignon in 1377. She became an important political figure in her day, and her spiritual and practical wisdom was widely sought after both inside and outside the Church. St. Catherine was granted the Stigmata which was made visible only after her death in Rome at the age of 33. In 1970 she was proclaimed a Doctor of the Church. Her feast day is celebrated on April 29th.

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8 Responses to Quotes from St. Catherine of Siena (Doctor of the Church, Papal Advisor, Mystic and Visionary)

  1. mmvc says:

    Thank you for this, Kathleen.
    May St Catherine of Siena intercede more than ever for the Holy Father, for our Church and for us all!


  2. kathleen says:

    Thank you dear Maryla for those wise words.
    Yes, now more than ever, we must hammer at Heaven’s door (St. Catherine of Siena style 😉 ) for our suffering Church and that the Holy Father will become truly inspired by the gifts of the Holy Spirit in leading Her . The Church was in great danger in St. Catherine’s day too – and look how much this young woman achieved in setting things right! Truly amazing… and it should inspire us today to not cower down amidst so many problems and attacks from ‘the enemy’, but to put each and every one of our own little ‘tools’ to fight for our Glorious Faith.


  3. GC says:

    There is a rather good statue of St Catherine along the Pilgrim Path at St Patrick’s Cathedral, Melbourne. I personally think it captures much of the spirit of what she taught, as in the quotes above.

    Cardinal Pell commissioned the statue while he was still archbishop there before moving to Sydney and solemnly blessed it in 2000. The statue is the work of Dutch-born Australian sculptor Louis Laumen.



  4. geoffkiernan says:

    Saint Catherine…. a great doctor of the Church


  5. johnhenrycn says:

    Very impressive statue.


  6. reinkat says:

    Beautiful quotes, and still so timely even after so many centuries.
    The more things change, the more they stay the same.


  7. GC says:

    JH, this from the website of the Archdiocese of Melbourne.

    St Catherine is depicted during a vision that she had of Christ offering her a choice of a crown of gold or a crown of thorns, and her acceptance of the crown of thorns. The statue sees the crown of thorns actually impaling her hands as a sign of the stigmata.



  8. kathleen says:

    That’s lovely GC – thank you so much.

    Also, Reinkat at 2:14 really nails it!


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