DOMUNI UNIVERSITAS

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The first Part devoted to St Catherine considered primarily as a Dominican woman dealt, so to speak with the “prehistory”, that is how there came to be a Dominican institution that permitted consecrated people living in the world to share in and live out the charism of the founder of the Order of Preachers.

In this second Part, the aim is to focus on how Catherine lived out the Dominican values that she professed on becoming a mantellata attached to the Dominican convent in Siena.

  • The keynote article by Mary O’Driscoll invites reflection on the “lived theology” of Catherine of Siena, bringing precious insights to an understanding of how our saint, who was lacking almost entirely in formal education, functioned in the Church and society of her day.
  • The lengthy section devoted to Raymond of Capua and his relationship with Catherine Benincasa highlights her involvement in Church politics, her charitable works ; Blessed Raymond’s biography also reveals the detail of how she related to St Dominic, in what ways she was inspired by him. The article by André Duval brings added insights on this point.

St Catherine in audience with the Pope – note she has another mantellata,
her “socia” with her

You may possibly feel that there is a degree of repetition here, but the aim is to bring to the attention of the student a variety of perspectives around an important issue. These perspectives may either converge or diverge. It is for the student to exercise his or her faculties of critical discernment to ascertain where the truth – or the probability – resides.

Finally the second article by Mary O’Driscoll widens out the perspective, using the
example of Catherine to draw some wider implications on the subject of women in the
Church. Catherine of Siena was by no means a revolutionary or an iconoclast, yet she was an instrument of innovation that still speaks to us today.

The final Part will aim to show how these same Dominican values are reflected in the writings of Catherine of Siena : The Dialogue, the letters and the prayers that she composed.