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Old 09-25-2010, 12:53 PM   #1
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Siena, St. Catherine of: The letters of Catherine Benincasa V1. 25-Sep 2010

Saint Catherine of Siena T.O.S.D (25 March 1347 – 29 April 1380) was a tertiary of the Dominican Order, and a Scholastic philosopher and theologian. She also worked to bring the Papacy back to Rome from its displacement in France, and to establish peace among the Italian city-states. She was proclaimed a Doctor of the Church in 1970. She is one of the two patron saints of Italy, together with Francis of Assisi.

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The letters of Catherine Benincasa, commonly known as St. Catherine of Siena, have become an Italian classic; yet perhaps the first thing in them to strike a reader is their unliterary character. He only will value them who cares to overhear the impetuous outpourings of the heart and mind of an unlettered daughter of the people, who was also, as it happened, a genius and a saint. Dante, Petrarch, Boccaccio, the other great writers of the Trecento, are all in one way or another intent on choice expression; Catherine is intent solely on driving home what she has to say. Her letters were talked rather than written. She learned to write only three years before her death, and even after this time was in the habit of dictating her correspondence, sometimes two or three letters at a time, to the noble youths who served her as secretaries.
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