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Saint Catherine of Siena & The Antipope

3 min read

Life in Brief

St. Catherine of Siena, Third Order Dominican, Consecrated Virgin, Doctor of the Church and Mystic lived in times even more interesting than our own.

Having brought Pope Gregory XI from his Avignon Captivity to Rome, a miracle in itself given the violent times in which she lived, Catherine did not stop there. A pope successor was elected and she had the mystical gift of detecting antipopes of which she would detect three.

Lay Dominican

In those days a lay Dominican, now called Secular Dominicans, too vows of actual chastity. This meant they had to remain celibate for the rest of their lives like their Religious Sister counterparts.

They lived very much the life of a religious in the World, although they were not bound to one Covenant. Nonetheless, St. Catherine gathered around her many holy priests, religious and holy lay advisers.

Life at Home

She had a rough life at home and acted as a house servant for the first couple of years of her life. Once she became reknowned for her miracles she had patronage and could travel about on missions from the Lord.

Beginnings of Miracles

Her earliest known miracles were prophecies, ecstacies and invisible stigmata would she retained for the rest of her life. Some sources say she lost all her friends before her death. The life of a Saint is uncompromising and does not allow half-measures.

Great Works

Pope Gregory XI from Avignon to Rome. Through many letters, she started to persuade Gregory to move back to the Eternal City, the home of the Church. Eventually, she visited him and they left Avignon in the middle o the night to return to Rome.


The Dialogue is the primacy work of hers that made her a doctor of the Church coupled with her many wondrous works. In it is contained her dialogue with God about holiness and various grades of perfection contained in little dialogues.


Invisible stigmata were her lot. When she realized that she was receiving them she petitioned they would be invisible, which they were appearing on her hands and feet after her death. Much like St. Teresa of Avila’s transverberation (piercing) of the heart, Catherine’s mystical wounds were only discovered after she passed.

Antipopes & The Great Western Schism

Catherine’s mystical mission did not stop with the death of Gregory XI’s passing. When his successor Urban VI was elected, she knew him through a mystical sense of being the true pope. When the cardinal electors tried to invalidly replace Urban VI with Antipope Clement VII, Catherine detected the ruse and aided Urban as best she could.

Antipope and Pope detection

Through a mystical gift (an infallible intellectual vision) Catherine detected three antipopes during her lifetime. There were some false local claimants to the papal throne and Catherine could sense them.

Antipope Clement VII

Catherine upbraided the cardinal electors for trying to deceive the people. However, the Romans were upset that Pope Urban VI was not a Roman and the Cardinals wearied of Urban’s constant criticisms of their evil.

Pressured by Roman Citizens, the cardinal electors held a false election and named Clement VII as pope testifying to his authenticity. It was all a lie to save their necks, ears, and consciences.

Clement VII persisted, but Catherine passed away, having not fully solved the Great Western Schism which persisted past her death.

Other Miracles

Catherine was known to have the odor of sanctity (an indescribable heavenly odor) and the gift of healing. She also had a charismata (miraculous gift) of reading hearts. She used all these to advance the Kingdom of God.

Prophetic Insight

St. Catherine is a great inspiration to our times when so much confusion prevailed. She had a gift to cut through the confusion and make matters very clear which was shown in her personal discernments and bringing Gregory XI back to Rome.


Sacred Heart of Jesus, be forever our Salvation and Wisdom. Amen.

Mary, Mother of Orthodox Catholicism pray for us. Amen.

All you Saints and Holy Angels pray for us. Amen.


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