Catherine of Siena: Suggested Reading List

A “sampler” of Catherine’s letters and prayers with excerpts from the Dialogue:

 Catherine of Siena.  Catherine of Siena: Passion for the truth, compassion for humanity. Selected spiritual writings.  Edited, annotated and introduced by Mary O’Driscoll, O.P.  (New York: New City Press, 1993).  (This book contains many of Catherine’s prayers as well as an excellent introduction to her spiritual thought). In print.

 About eighty of Catherine’s 381 letters (but an old translation) on the internet:

Catherine of Siena.  Saint Catherine of Siena as Seen in Her Letters. Translated and edited with introduction by Vida D. Scudder (New York: E.P. Dutton & Co., 1927).  Available on this website.  The introduction to the book as well as the individual introductions to the letters are excellent.

 Contemporary translations of Catherine’s letters:

 Complete edition of all letters: The Letters of Catherine of Siena. Translated with introduction and notes by Suzanne Noffke, O.P. 4 vols. (Tempe, Arizona: Arizona Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies, 2000, 2001, 2007).

 Contemporary translation of the Dialogue:

Catherine of Siena.  The Dialogue. Translation and introduction by Suzanne Noffke, O.P. The Classics of Western Spirituality. (New York: Paulist Press, 1980). [Note: the older Thorold translation published by TAN Books is drastically abridged and is not recommended].

 Contemporary translations of the prayers of Catherine of Siena:

Catherine of Siena. The Prayers of Catherine of Siena.  Suzanne Noffke, O.P., translator and editor.  2nd edition. (San Jose: Authors Choice Press, 2001).

 Catherine of Siena.  Catherine of Siena: Passion for the truth, compassion for humanity. Selected spiritual writings.  Edited, annotated and introduced by Mary O’Driscoll, O.P.  (New York: New City Press, 1993).  (This contains many of the prayers—but some are abbreviated).


 (1)  Modern—based on the primary sources.  The best biographies are out-of-print but available from used book dealers on the internet such as  The best one is perhaps Arrigo Levasti’s My Servant, Catherine (London: Blackfriars, 1954), which is posted on this website (   Another good one is Johannes Jorgensen’s Saint Catherine of Siena (London: Longmans, 1938).  One which is still in print is Alice Curtayne’s Saint Catherine of Siena (London: Sheed and Ward, 1929 and reprinted by TAN Books and Publishers in Rockford, Ill.).

 (2)  The major primary source—written in the 14th century. The most important primary biographical source for St. Catherine is Bl. Raymond of Capua’s The Life of Catherine of Siena, written in the 14th century.  (It’s perhaps best to start with a contemporary biography, such as Levasti’s, before reading Raymond).  Two English translations are available:  Raymond of Capua. The Life of Catherine of Siena.  Translated, introduced and annotated by Conleth Kearns, O.P. (Wilmington: Michael Glazier, 1980; reprinted by Dominicana Publications.  Available from Third Order Bookstore, 487 Michigan Avenue N.E., Washington, DC 20017-1585, for $25.00 postage paid).  This edition has an excellent introduction.  Another edition but without introduction is: Raymond of Capua.  The Life of St. Catherine of Siena by Blessed Raymond of Capua Confessor to the Saint. Translated by George Lamb.  (London: Harvill Press, 1960; reprinted by TAN Books).

 Recommended books and articles in English on Catherine’s spiritual theology:

 (N.B.: Many are available on Journal articles can usually be found in the libraries of Catholic universities or seminaries.]

Ashley, Benedict.  “Catherine of Siena and Contemporary Spirituality.”

Ashley, Benedict.  “Guide to Saint Catherine’s Dialogue.” Cross and Crown 29 (September 1977): pp. 237-249.   Ashley has a very helpful chart to explain the various sections of the Dialogue.  Also available on

Cavallini, Giuliana. Catherine of Siena. Outstanding Christian Thinkers (London: Geoffrey Chapman, 1998).  In print.

Dominic, Sr. [Ann Walsh, O.P.] “St. Catherine of Siena: Doctor of the Church.” Supplement to Doctrine and Life 8 (1970): pp. 134-144.  Also available on

D’Urso, Giacinto, O.P. Catherine of Siena: Doctor of the Church. Notes on Her Life and Teaching. Trans. with notes by T. McDermott, O.P.  (Chicago: New Priory Press, 2013).

Fatula, Mary Ann, O.P. Catherine of Siena’s Way. The Way of the Christian Mystics Series.  (Wilmington, Delaware: Michael Glazier, 987).  Out-of-print.

Foster, Kenelm, O.P. Introduction to I, Catherine: Selected Writings of Catherine of Siena, ed. and trans. Kenelm Foster, O.P., and Mary John Ronayne, O.P. St. James Place, London: Collins, 1980: 11-44.  Out-of-print.  Foster’s introduction to Catherine’s life and theology is superb.  Available on

Foster, Kenelm, O.P. “St. Catherine’s Teaching on Christ.” Life of the Spirit 16 (1962): 310-323. Superb.  Available on

Foster, Kenelm, O.P. “The Spirit of St. Catherine of Siena.” Life of the Spirit 15 (1961): 433-446.  Available on

McDermott, Thomas, O.P., editor. Catherine of Siena: Essays on Her Life and Teaching (Chicago: New Priory Press, 2015). Essays by various writers on Catherine’s teaching on the virtues, her spirituality, political activism, etc.

McDermott, Thomas, O.P. Catherine of Siena.  Spiritual development in her life and teaching. New York: Paulist Press, 2008.  A  presentation on the main points  of Catherine of Siena's mystical thought in English. 

McDermott, Thomas, O.P. "Catherine of Siena's Teaching on Self-Knowledge."  New Blackfriars 88 (November 2007): 638-648.  Available on

McDermott, Thomas, O.P.  “Catherine of Siena: Doctor of Communion” in Il servizio dottrinale di Caterina da Siena (Roma: Centro Internazionale di Studi Cateriniani (2012) 53-78. Available on

McDermott, Thomas, O.P. “Love and Laughter: Catherine of Siena” in The Tablet, April 10, 2016, pp.10+. Available on

O’Driscoll, Mary, O.P. “Catherine the Theologian.” Spirituality Today 40 (Spring 1988): pp. 4-17.   Available on

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