St Catherine


Drawn by Love

The Mysticism of Catherine of Siena


"The heart is always drawn by love" Dialogue 26

"A marvelous site dedicated to St. Catherine of Siena" - Amy Welborn

"You are rewarded not according to your work or your time but according to the measure of your love."      "Love transforms one into what one loves."       "We trust and believe in what we love."       "There will be love in proportion to faith and faith in proportion to love."        "And the eternal Father said, 'And if anyone should ask me what this soul is, I would say: She is another me, made by the union of love.'"         "They love their neighbors with the same love with which they love me."      

* Brief introductions to her life and teaching
    Kenelm Foster's article from the Westminster Dictionary
             of  Christian Spirituality

    Edmund G. Gardner, "Saint Catherine of Siena,"
             Catholic Encyclopedia 1908
     Thomas McDermott, OP, General Introduction to St. Catherine

   Suzanne Noffke, Introduction to Catherine of Siena: An Anthology

* Guidebooks (English) 

    Church of San Domenico and St. Catherine's House in Siena

Suggested reading list

    Articles and books on the life and teachings of
             Catherine of Siena 

* Two of Catherine's most famous letters

     Letter T273 describing an execution of a young man
Letter T272 on which the Dialogue is based

One of Catherine's prayers

     "My Nature is Fire" prayer (Noffke 12; Cavallini XXII)

* General introductions to her mystical teachings

    Benedict Ashley, OP, "Guide to
Saint Catherine's Dialogue"
                                  [from Cross and Crown 29 (1977): 237-249]

    Benedict Ashley, OP, "St. Catherine and
                                  Contemporary Spirituality"

    Benedict Ashley, OP, St. Catherine of Siena's Principles
                                                of Spiritual Direction  [from
                                   Spirituality  Today 33:1 (March 1981): 43-52]

     Kenelm Foster, OP, Introduction to
I, Catherine.Selected writings of
                                     St. Catherine of Siena

                                        (on both her life and teaching)

    Kenelm Foster, OP, "St. Catherine's Teaching on Christ"
    Edmund G. Gardner, "St. Catherine of Siena" (1906)   
    Hilda C. Graef, "St. Catherine of Siena--A Mystic
                                    in the World," from The Way of the
Cork, 1947. 

     Hilda Graef, "Catherine of Siena" from The Light and
                                   the Rainbow.
London, 1959 
     Alvaro M. Grion, OP  
"The Mystical Personality of St.  
                           Catherine  of  Siena" (1950) 

     Mary O'Driscoll, OP, "Catherine the Theologian"
      Ann Walsh, OP [Sr. Dominic], "St. Catherine
                                  of Siena: Doctor of the Church"
      Thomas McDermott, OP "St. Catherine of Siena" 
                                  (Discerning Hearts Program)

*Thematic studies of her mystical thought

Fr. Tom McDermott, OP, "Saint Catherine of Siena: Doctor of Communion" *NEW*

Archbishop Paul D. Etienne, "The Christian Meaning of Suffering: As Found in the Writings of Catherine of Siena" 

Fr. James Peter Trares, OP, "Keep the Fire Burning: St. Catherine of Siena's Preaching to her Brothers" 

Fr. Paul Murray, OP, "Who am I?" St. Catherine of Siena and Self Knowledge" 

Fr. Thomas McDermott, Catherine of Siena and the Crisis in the Church 

Prof. M.A.F. Pelligrini, St. Catherine and the Priests 

Dr. Karen Scott, Catherine Of Siena, Preaching & The Bible: How Ordinary Catholics Connected With Scripture In The Middle Ages 
Vivian Boland, OP, Catherine of Siena, Spiritual Director and Pastoral Theologian

Marie Flood, OP, Catherine of Siena on Religious Obedience
Joel Giallanza, CSC, St. Catherine and the Eucharist
Bp. Michael O. Jackels   "Ontological Poverty"
Thomas McDermott, OP, "Catherine of Siena's Teaching on Self- 
Thomas McDermott, OP  Catherine of Siena and Lent  
Suzanne Noffke, OP   "Catherine of Siena, Justly Doctor of the Church?"

Sister Gabriella Yi, OP, Giving Birth to Souls Through Infinite Desire: Spiritual Motherhood According to St. Catherine of Siena 


 *Audio and Video Recordings                                                     

Thomas McDermott, OP  "Catherine of Siena. Doctor of Friendship, Doctor of the Church" (Purdue University, April 22, 2021) 
Fr. Thomas McDermott, OP,  Catherine of Siena: Life and Teachings 
Fr. Robert Ombres, OP, "St. Catherine of Siena: Compassion and Mysticism"
Elisabetta Valgiusti, "Saint Catherine of Siena" 


Books online

* Quotes

    Quotations of Catherine of Siena 

* Homilies

    Homily for St. Catherine's Feast Day by Archbishop S. Rylko 
Homily for St. Catherine's Feast Day by Vivian Boland, OP

* Images of Catherine's world

     Drawn by Love PDF (PDF)

Papal documents regarding Catherine of Siena

     Pius II Bull of Canonization (1461) 
     Paul VI General Audience on Saint Catherine 1969                  
       Paul VI Mirabilis in ecclesiae Deus  (1970)
     Paul VI homily October 4 1970
     JP II Homily on the Sixth Centennary of Catherine of
     John Paul II: Letter on the 25th anniv of Catherine's

Images of the true likeness of Catherine of Siena

      Vanni portrait of Catherine
      14th century bust of Catherine

      La sacra testa (the relic of her head) (Historical account)
Image of the relic




Welcome to the fascinating world
of Catherine of Siena!

This website is intended as a resource to the mystical thought of Catherine of Siena (c. 1347-1380), Dominican saint, mystic, Doctor of the Church, and one of the most remarkable women of the 14th century. 

Although much has been written about her life, relatively little attention has been given to her spiritual teaching  as found in the compendium of her mystical thought known as the Dialogue, her 381 letters, and 26 prayers.  In this website we have brought together some of the very best but often hard-to-find resources on Catherine's thought in the hope of filling this lacuna in spirituality.  Every effort has been made to post materials on this website in such a way that citations for academic papers can be made without having to find the originals in a library.  We hope to add new materials to this site from time-to-time--so please come back often.

Catherine's thought has long been regarded as somewhat difficult and even impenetrable owing to the lack of English translations of her works (a problem which, for the most part, no longer exists) and the fact that many of her teachings were dictated to others over a period of time while she was in a mystical state and therefore contain interruptions, repetitions, and overlapping arguments. However, we feel certain that with the help of the material on this website you will be able to "unlock the door" of her mysticism and begin to experience its tremendous richness--- and perhaps be helped along on your own spiritual journey.

If you know little or nothing about Catherine of Siena, then we suggest that you begin by reading Arrigo Levasti's excellent biography entitled  My Servant, Catherine which is posted on this website.  Regarding Catherine's writings, we suggest that you begin with an edition of her letters---perhaps Mary O'Driscoll's collection entitled Catherine of Siena: Passion for the Truth, Compassion for Humanity or Vida Scudder's Saint Catherine of Siena as Seen in Her Letters which, although available on this website, is a dated translation.   

The Dialogue, since it requires a bit more effort, should perhaps not be read first.  Before reading it for the first time be sure to read Benedict Ashley's article "Guide to Saint Catherine's Dialogue" on this website.  To further understand Catherine's mystical thought, read the superb articles by Kenelm Foster and others also posted on this website as well as Thomas McDermott's book, Catherine of Siena: Spiritual development in her life and teaching (see below). When you've been "hooked" on Catherine, then you're probably ready to read Raymond of Capua's  medieval biography The Life of Catherine of Siena.

 Four important resources...

Catherine of Siena: Essays on Her Life and Thought Edited with an Introduction and Notes
Thomas McDermott, O.P.(Chicago: New Priory Press, 2015)

New Priory Press is proud to present this volume of six classic essays on the life and thought of St. Catherine of Siena (1347-80), Dominican mystic and Doctor of the Church. The essays, which include several that appear here in English for the first time, are: Thomas Deman, O.P., “Theology in the Life of St. Catherine of Siena”; Thomas McDermott, O.P., “Catherine of Siena: Doctor of Communion”; Maria Francesca Carnea, “Freedom and Politics in St. Catherine of Siena”; Yves Congar, O.P., “The Holy Spirit in the Prayers of St. Catherine of Siena”; Michael J. Houser, “Processo Castellano. An excerpt from the testimony of Fra Bartolomeo Dominici”; Antoine Lemonnyer, O.P., “The Spiritual Life in the Teaching of St. Catherine of Siena.” (190 pages)

Click here to order from Amazon.

Filled with All the Fullness of God:
An Introduction to Catholic Spirituality

By Thomas McDermott, OP
New York: Bloomsbury, 2013
128 pp.

Filled with All the Fullness of God examines the truths of Christian faith which pertain to spiritual growth and the '”lived theologies” or spiritualities which derive from them.  Far from being an idiosyncratic or personal presentation of Catholic spirituality, McDermott draws from the rich spiritual patrimony of the Church and presents “old” truths” from a fresh perspective.

McDermott discusses a variety of issues: self-knowledge, our understanding of God, our partaking in the divine nature of God through deifying grace, the role of the virtues and gifts of the Holy Spirit in deifying our hearts and minds, the reign of God and the place of the Church and the sacraments, the role of prayer, stages in the spiritual life, and life after death.  

He presents Christianity not about “getting into heaven” but as a way of participating in the divine life here and now through deifying grace, in the sphere of the Church with prayer and the Eucharist. McDermott illustrates his argument with a variety of sources: Scripture, the Church Fathers, Thomas Aquinas, Catherine of Siena, the Catechism of the Catholic Church, and contemporary spiritual writers.

“Eminently sensible and practical, this book contains a veritable treasure-house of sources and resources. With unaffected simplicity and wisdom, McDermott  allows us to hear the voices of many of the great saints and theologians within the Catholic tradition. A most thoughtful and illuminating introduction!” – Fr. Paul Murray OP, Professor of Spiritual Theology at the Angelicum in Rome.

“Fr. McDermott, O.P. has until now stood out in scholarly circles by presenting Catherine of Siena not only as a saintly mystic but a brilliant theologian as well. Here in his latest work, he draws from his expertise of medieval spirituality (and beyond) to illustrate how true Christian discipleship is not simply a matter of right belief or right action, but to become "filled" with God's very life and thereby become other Christs for the world. McDermott's writing is accurate and alluring, inviting all into this great Catholic transformation.” –  Fr. David Meconi, S.J., Assistant Professor of Theological Studies, Saint Louis University.

“Here is a delightfully fresh, clearly expressed vision of Catholicism. It is just what the Church needs today: an invitation to intimacy with God that elicits desire for Him and leaves us in wonder over how blessed we are to be Catholic! This book is perfect for adult faith formation, deacon formation and personal spiritual reading.” 
– Deacon James Keating, Ph.D, Director of Theological Formation, Institute for Priestly Formation.

Click here to order from Amazon.

Catherine of Siena
 Spiritual Development in Her Life and Teaching

By Thomas McDermott, OP
New York: Paulist Press, 2008
368 pp.


In his ground-breaking, systematic presentation of Catherine of Siena's teachings, Thomas McDermott draws on Catherine's writings to explain her principal teachings in relation to spiritual development and identifies her possible sources as well as her areas of originality. By examining Catherine's life and mystical experiences, McDermott shows how she grew spiritually and how her growth corresponds to her later teachings. Finally, he explicates what he regards as the fundamental message of Catherine's life and teaching. Students of mysticism and spirituality will find this book a trustworthy guide through the rich mysticism of one of the 14th century's most amazing women.  Preface by Fr. Wojciech Giertych, OP, Theologian to the Papal Household

"Thomas McDermott's magisterial book is the first work in English that does full justice to the systematic theological importance of Catherine of Siena's teaching. Readers will find their thinking freed from the styles and whims of so much writing on 'spirituality' and set firmly on the path that Jesus himself trod with his disciples."
              -Benedict M. Ashley, OP, Professor Emeritus
            Aquinas Institute of Theology, Saint Louis, MO

"In this well-researched book, Thomas McDermott has unraveled the many intertwining threads in Catherine of Siena's teaching on spiritual development to produce a logical and convincing description of the spiritual journey along the Christ-Bridge. Catherine of Siena offers its readers many helpful markers on their own journey toward God."
                -Mary O'Driscoll, OP
                University of St. Thomas Aquinas, Rome

"The merit of Father McDermott's book is that it tackles some of the most difficult aspects of St. Catherine of Siena's teaching. A demanding but enriching work which brings our understanding of Catherine an important step forward."
                 -Fr. Paul Murray, OP, author of
                 The New Wine of Dominican Spirituality

To order, go to:
Preview it here: google.books

Catherine of Siena. Doctor of the Church.
Notes on her life and teaching.

By Giacinto D'Urso, OP.
Translated with introduction and notes by Thomas McDermott (Chicago: New Priory Press, 2013). 125 pages.

Product Details

In 1970, the year St. Catherine of Siena was proclaimed Doctor of the Church, Giacinto D'Urso, O.P., the world's foremost authority on the saint, wrote his magnum opus on her teaching. It was only in this work, of which this is the first-ever translation in English, that Father D'Urso undertook a comprehensive exposition of her thought. D'Urso's work reflects a classical theological training, knowledge of mysticism in general, his Dominican vocation, and an ardent love of Catherine. He is careful and thorough in his summaries and analyses; his conclusions are balanced and reliable; his style is literary, succinct and dense. His scholarship reveals new depths to Catherine's thought. All students of Catherine of Siena and of medieval mysticism will find this volume a valuable asset.

To order, go to Amazon. Kindle Edition: $6.95 Paperback: $14.95

* Prayers and devotions to Catherine of Siena

    Five Wednesdays Devotion to St. Catherine of Siena (1955)
    Litany of St. Catherine of Siena  
     Way of the Cross with Catherine of Siena    

* Letters of her disciples

   Letter of Ser Barduccio di Piero Canigiani on the death
      of Catherine of Siena  

Christian mysticism and related topics

     A.B. Sharpe, Mysticism. Its True Nature and Value.  
London, 1910.  [book online]

      John A. Hardon, S.J. "Visionaries and Visions"  
Catechism of the Catholic Church,   On Private Revelations 


Links to other Catherinian sites

    New Critical edition of Catherine's letters by A. Volpato 
   Catherine of Siena's letters in Italian
    Letters of Catherine's Disciples in Italian
    Catherinian Basilica of Saint Dominic in Siena
    Basilica of Santa Maria sopra Minerva, Rome
Associazione Internazionale Caterinati

    Il Centro Internazionale di Studi Cateriniani
    Youtube video clip on the International Study Center 
    Fr. Thomas McDermott, OP, talking about St. Catherine    

Other links of interest

    Order of Preachers (Dominicans) international web site
Dominican Province of Saint Albert the Great, USA

    The Eckhart Society

This site is managed by Fr. Thomas McDermott, OP, Catholic chaplain, Purdue University, USA















This site was last updated September 17, 2023.