Catherine of Siena

Catherine of Siena

Saint, mystic, Mamma. Activist, author, Doctor of the Church. These are some of the ways that the young Catherine di Benincasa would come to be remembered. After receiving visions of Christ when she was only a child, Catherine devoted herself to religious sacrifice, compelled by the knowledge that God had bigger plans for her. When her life of penitence and privation led her to join the Dominican Order, her piety soon began to earn her a following. And as news started to spread of the small miracles that surrounded her – like her levitation during prayer and her ability to restore the deathly ill – the church was ready to sit up and pay attention. The growing belief in Catherine’s holiness gave her remarkable access to the inner sanctum of the patriarchal Catholic church, even to the Pope himself. But her spiritual devotion would eventually led to her demise, as her lifelong commitment to fasting and starvation ultimately took its toll on her.

Join us as we return to 14th century Europe, far away from the battlefields of France to the solitude and reflection of Catherine of Siena.


Bell, Rudolph M. Holy Anorexia. The University of Chicago Press, 1985.

Cavallini, Guiliana. Catherine of Siena. Bloomsbury Publishing, 2005.

Egan, Jennifer. ‘Power Suffering’. The New York Times, 1999

Luongo, F Thomas. The Saintly Politics of Catherine of Siena. Cornell University Press, 2006.

Walker Bynum, Caroline. Holy Feast and Holy Fast: The Religious Significance of Food to Medieval Women. The University of California Press, 1987.


One Comment Add yours

  1. I fucking loved this episode – like you two, I find the lives of the women saints absolutely fascinating. And slightly horrifying. Great food for thought here on feminine power, and it’s expanded on my ideas of women seen as containers waiting to be filled.


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