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April 29

Saint of the day:

Saint Catherine of Siena

Patron Saint of Fire Prevention

Saint Catherine of Siena’s Story

The value Catherine makes central in her short life and which sounds clearly and consistently through her experience is complete surrender to Christ. What is most impressive about her is that she learns to view her surrender to her Lord as a goal to be reached through time.

She was the 23rd child of Jacopo and Lapa Benincasa and grew up as an intelligent, cheerful, and intensely religious person. Catherine disappointed her mother by cutting off her hair as a protest against being overly encouraged to improve her appearance in order to attract a husband. Her father ordered her to be left in peace, and she was given a room of her own for prayer and meditation.

She entered the Dominican Third Order at 18 and spent the next three years in seclusion, prayer, and austerity. Gradually, a group of followers gathered around her—men and women, priests and religious. An active public apostolate grew out of her contemplative life. Her letters, mostly for spiritual instruction and encouragement of her followers, began to take more and more note of public affairs. Opposition and slander resulted from her mixing fearlessly with the world and speaking with the candor and authority of one completely committed to Christ. She was cleared of all charges at the Dominican General Chapter of 1374.

Her public influence reached great heights because of her evident holiness, her membership in the Dominican Third Order, and the deep impression she made on the pope. She worked tirelessly for the crusade against the Turks and for peace between Florence and the pope.

In 1378, the Great Schism began, splitting the allegiance of Christendom between two, then three, popes and putting even saints on opposing sides. Catherine spent the last two years of her life in Rome, in prayer and pleading on behalf of the cause of Pope Urban VI and the unity of the Church. She offered herself as a victim for the Church in its agony. She died surrounded by her “children” and was canonized in 1461.

Catherine ranks high among the mystics and spiritual writers of the Church. In 1939, she and Francis of Assisi were declared co-patrons of Italy. Pope Paul VI named her and Teresa of Avila doctors of the Church in 1970. Her spiritual testament is found in The Dialogue.











Santa Maria sopra Minerva

(Our Lady Above Minerva)

Via del Beato Angelico 35

Rome, Italy

*This church is near the Pantheon.

*The body of St Catherine of Siena rests under the main altar.

She spent the last two years of her life in Rome before her passing in 1380.

A devotional chapel made out of the room where she died can be visited by entering the sacristy.

Originally this room was located a few blocks away at Via Santa Chiara, 14. However, in the 1630s it was reconstructed and brought here.

*Along the walls of the Capranica Chapel, located just to the right of the main sanctuary, are a number of frescoes by Giovanni de’ Vecchi that depict scenes from the life of St Catherine of Siena. Her remains rested in this chapel from 1430 to 1855.


Basilica di San Domenico (Saint Dominic’s Basilica)

Piazza San Domenico

53100 Siena, Italy

*The head of St Catherine of Siena rests within a chapel on the right side of the nave.

*Also a finger of the saint is venerated within a reliquary case just to the right of this chapel.

This relic has traditionally been used to impart a blessing on the Italian military.


Santi Giovanni e Paolo (Saints John and Paul)

Castello 6363

30122 Venice, Italy

*A relic of the foot of St Catherine of Siena rests near the Chapel of St Dominic on the right side of nave.

Monastero della Madonna del Rosario a Monte Mario

(Monastery of Our Lady of the Rosary at Monte Mario)

Via Alberto Cadlolo 51

Rome, Italy

*This monastery is on Monte Mario northwest of the Aurelian Walls.

*The left hand of St Catherine of Siena rests within the church at this monastery.

Her Quotes:
Read about her...

Her Feast:

1. “Love follows knowledge.” 

2. “The human heart is drawn by love.”

3. “God is more willing to pardon than we have been to sin.”

4. “What father ever gave up his son to death for the sake of his slave!”

5. “God was made man and man was made God.”

6. "The soul cannot live without love. She always wants to love something because love
      is the stuff she is made of,and through love I created her." (God to St. Catherine)

7. "Do not be satisfied with little things, because God wants great things!"

8. “If you are what you should be, you will set Italy ablaze.”

9. “We trust and believe in what we love.” 

10. “Love transforms one into what one loves.”

During this time lemons & garlic are in season in Rome! 

Lemon-Ricotta Crostata

For the dough:

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour

  • 1 cup confectioner's sugar

  • 1/4 tsp. fine sea salt

  • Finely grated zest of 1 lemon

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cold and cut into 1/2-inch cubes

  • 1 large whole egg

  • 2 egg yolks

For the filling:

  • 8 oz. fresh sheep's milk ricotta or well-drained cow's milk ricotta

  • 8 oz. mascarpone

  • 1 large whole egg

  • 2 egg yolks

  • 1/2 cup confectioner's sugar, plus more for dusting

  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

  • Finely grated zest of 1 lemon, plus 2 Tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

*Candied Citron To Decorate
**I love adding blueberries or cherries to this recipe

For the dough:
1. Put the flour, sugar, salt, and lemon zest in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade. Pulse to combine. Distribute the butter around the bowl and pulse until the mixture is crumbly. Add the whole egg and egg yolks and process just until the mixture begins to come together in the bowl.

2. Turn the bowl out on a lightly floured surface and briefly knead it together. Without overworking it, shape the dough into a disc, patting rather than kneading. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for at least 1 hour, or until well-chilled.

3. Remove the dough from the fridge and cut into 2 portions, one slightly larger than the other. Re-wrap the smaller portion and return to the fridge. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the large portion into an 11-inch circle, about 1/8-inch thick. Transfer to a greased and floured 9-inch tart pan with a removable bottom (I had to do some piecing together for this, as the dough is a little dry). Press the dough into the bottom and up the sides of the pan. Roll the rolling pin over the top of the pan to remove any excess dough. Place in the fridge to chill for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, prepare the filling.

For the filling and assembly:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a large bowl, combine the ricotta, mascarpone, whole egg and yolks, sugar, vanilla, lemon juice, and zest. Using a stand mixer or handheld beater, beat the ingredients on high for about 1 minute or until thoroughly combined and fluffy.

2. Remove the tart shell from the fridge and scrape filling into it, smoothing with a silicone spatula. Roll out the reserved dough on a lightly floured surface into a 10-inch round, about 1/8-inch thick. Cut into 3/4-inch wide strips with a fluted pastry wheel. Carefully place the strips over the fitted tart shell in a lattice pattern, gently pressing the ends into the sides of the tart. Use any remaining strips to form around the tart's perimeter.

3. Bake the crostata for 35-45 minutes or until the crust is golden and the filling is puffed and just set. Remove from the oven and place on a wire rack to cool for 20 minutes. Remove the tart ring and let cool completely. Serve at room temperature or slightly chilled and dust with confectioner's sugar before serving. Will keep in the fridge 2-3 days.

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