Catherine of Siena (1347-1380) is one of Roman Catholicism’s most highly venerated saints. In 1970 she was proclaimed a “Doctor of the Church,” an honor bestowed upon only thirty-three individuals to date.
The Middle Ages saw a flourishing of monasticism and mysticism. The thinking was that acts of penitential self-denial and self-mortification equated to climbing a ladder to spiritual perfection. Severe fasting and self-imposed sleep deprivation often brought on swoons of beatific ecstasy and visions. The Bible says that if anyone claims to have been visited by Jesus prior to His second coming they are a liar (Matthew 24) but Catherine, a Dominican nun, claimed that Christ visited her often, eventually joining with her in a “mystical marriage” and that he presented her with a wedding ring consisting of his infant prepuce (circumcised foreskin) which only she could see. But how could Catherine have had Jesus’s foreskin when both the Charroux Abbey in France and the small church in the fortress village of Calcata in Italy claimed possession of the actual “Holy” Prepuce? If that wasn’t enough, in an extreme act of self-mortification Catherine drank the pus from a cancerous lesion of a patient in her care. She was also an anorexic who often forced herself to vomit the little food she ate.
In today’s society a person like Catherine would be correctly diagnosed as mentally ill but her church rewarded her extreme “piety” and devotion to the popes of her day by proclaiming her a “saint” in 1461.
Thank the Lord for salvation by the grace of God through faith in Jesus Christ ALONE!
“They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things (like the pope, Mary, “saints,” and bogus prepuces) rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen.” – Romans 1:25