|Deacons R Us|
The Cathedral church of the diocese is St. Catherine of Siena, which possesses a relic of the saint.David Warren write a nice encomium to the Doctor, one of four women with that distinction. (The other three are Hildegard of Bingen ["The Sybil of the Rhine"], Teresa of Ávila, and Thérèse of Lisieux ["The Little Flower"]. Mr. Warren writes:
Yet more extraordinary, to us glib moderns: everything she accomplished remains within sight of the demonstrable historical record; everything witnessed with conventional human eyes, and surviving in evidence still physically available.
Were nothing holy allowed to her — nothing the agnostic historian will recognize as miraculous — she must still be admired for having, often single-handedly, by the boldest imaginable acts of persuasion, on the basis of no formal authority or title, achieved astounding things.
These would include healing the Great Schism of the fourteenth century; bringing the papacy from exile in Avignon home to Rome (with Europe-wide ramifications); negotiating peace between warring Italian states; quelling insurrections; reforming the incorrigible; and turning the whole worldly activity of the Church once again healthily outward — back on mission and crusade, after a period of institutional self-immolation almost as shameful to recount as our own times. And this before she died, “under the whole weight of the Barque of Peter,” at the age of thirty-three.