In the midst of the joy of Easter, we find ourselves with the celebration of the feast of our great sister, Catherine of Siena, an appropriate reason to continue delving into the Mystery of Christ the Savior and the Church, two themes that were very present in the heart and life of the saint.
At this moment in which the celebration of the 90th anniversary of the Canonical recognition of our Institute still resonates in our hearts and minds, St. Catherine gives us an example of dedication to the service of God and the Church.
Living in an extremely troubled time, the saint, for the love of Christ, always knew how to love the Church. She learned to recognize in her the body of the Lord, a body so often disfigured and torn. She knew how to “get her hands dirty” recognizing always and in any circumstances that Christ is present in the Pope as in the poor, in those who suffer, in prisoners, in priests, in families, in the ecclesiastical hierarchy even though it was dominated by worldliness and power.
This was the body of Christ that St. Catherine touched with her hands, the body of Christ that she has always loved unconditionally. She was convinced that no one can relish God, in the abyss of the Trinity, without the help of the Church, because we all have to go through the door of Christ crucified, and this door is not found anywhere else than in the Holy Church.
We can say that the reality in which St. Catherine lived can be compared to our own reality. It is not necessary to list situations that reflect “the disfigured and torn body of the Lord” in the world and in the Church itself. This is the challenge that we have to face, and I hope that it will be so, with renewed dedication as we committed ourselves in the celebration of our 90th anniversary to maintain the brilliance of the mission that the Lord has entrusted to us.
Walking together in this present time implies not only naming the errors or pointing out the causes, but like St. Catherine, spreading to the four winds, manifesting through our lives, deep convictions of constructive values of forgiveness, reconciliation and peace.
Catherine, submerged into the bitterness of the evils that overwhelmed the Church, immersed herself into the contemplation of God’s Mercy and Divine Providence and placed all her trust in the promise of mercy for mankind and the Holy Church. Her unwavering faith and her experience of God moved her to awaken a world that was numb and deaf to the cry of her suffering brothers.
Catherine did not have modern means of communication; however, her preaching was more effective because she believed that it is God himself who continues to hear the cries of his people and manifests himself through those whom He calls to communicate His ever-active mercy of which we are both the object and the subject at the same time.
An evangelization like that of St. Catherine who cries out with her life, with her words, with her example before the world around her, firm and faithful to her conviction that “every change must be nurtured in the heart of man… where complementarity and fraternity flows forth” can offer an answer to what the world and the Church need in our time.
Sisters, may the example and intercession of St. Catherine invigorate us and rekindle the fervor of our total dedication to God and to the Church.
With my fraternal embrace and prayer
Sor Mª Asunción González, O.P.