201. ST. Catherine of Siena. Part six
As Brother Neri got better, Brother Stefano got ill. He developed fever. His sickness made all the members of his party very sad. Even holy virgin was affected. He was liked by everybody. She touched him and realized that he had high fever. She was overcome with spirit and said,” I command you by the power of holy obedience not to suffer from this fever any longer.” A miracle happened. Before she left his bed, fever went away and Stefano became healthy.
Another miracle was not directly observed by Raymond, but he researched it. It happened to a Sister of Penance of St Dominic called Giovanna of Capo. She was still alive when Raymond wrote his book. Catherine was in Florence by the order of Pope and was negotiating peace between the rebellious Florentines and the Pope. For tactical reasons Catherine was obliged to go out of the city with her party. Unexpectedly, the feet of Giovanna swelled and she developed fever. She could not accompany the party. Catherine did not want to leave her behind, alone and unprotected. She could come to harm at the hands of the ruffians. She started praying for her recovery. Lord interceded. Giovanna fell asleep as Catherine was praying. When she woke up she was perfectly healthy. She accompanied the party. People, who had seen her sick, were astonished at this miracle.
Once, in Toulon, holy virgin was staying in an inn with her party. A woman brought a little boy on her back, which was all swollen and looked an absolute monster. Catherine was filled with compassion and took the boy in her arms. As soon as the boy came in her arms he began to expel wind. His body gradually returned to normal size and the boy completely recovered. This miracle was so widely talked that the bishop of the city approached Raymond and asked his help to get an interview with Catherine, which he did.
Reading thoughts. Raymond wrote that she could read her companion’s most intimate thoughts. This used to happen often. But let me furnish an objective example:
There was in Siena an old soldier by the name of Messers Niccolo dei Sarcini. He took part in many wars. His wife wanted him to go to confession but he always refused. His wife knew St Catherine and wanted him to go to St Catherine. He would reply, “What can that little woman do for me.” Finally the wife mentioned the matter to holy virgin and asked her to pray for him. She agreed.
One night the soldier had a dream in which Catherine appeared. She advised the soldier that to avoid eternal damnation he must listen to his wife and confess his sins. When the soldier woke up he told his wife his dream and said that he must meet Catherine and see if she is the person who came in his dream. When the soldier met Catherine he was reassured of the veracity of his dream. She directed him to meet her confessor, Fra Tommaso. He confessed his sins. One day he came to Raymond and told him that he wanted to see Catherine regarding some matter.
He found the holy virgin and told her about his meeting with Fra Tommaso. She said, “Are you sure that you told him all your sins?” the soldier replied in affirmative. She said, “Think again. Did you tell him all your wrong actions?”The soldier said, “Yes”. Catherine said, “Think the matter over and make sure you have not left anything out”. Then the soldier left, Catherine called him back. “Are you sure you did not leave any wrong action out?” The old soldier insisted that he did not leave anything out. Holy virgin took him aside and narrated certain incident from his past which he had committed in Apuleia. Old soldier was astonished. Nobody in the whole world knew about it and he had forgotten it. Afterwards he told this incident to everybody who would listen. He considered it a miracle and thought of her a saint and a prophet. He died the same year.
This miracle consisted of several parts. Her appearance in the dream, revealing the incident from his past, and become an instrument of the Lord in his confession, conversion and salvation.
Knowing of somebody else’s secret from the past. I have described the miracle of the soldier. Here is another episode. French Pope Gregory lived in Avignon. It was best for the Christianity if Pope lived in Rome, instead of with French Cardinals in Avignon. Pope himself was pious but his courtiers were corrupt. They lived in luxury and sin with sisters, nieces and mistresses. The cardinals tried their best to prevent the Pope from leaving for Rome. Catherine tried her best to persuade him to go to Rome. One day Gregory will decide to go to Rome, the next day he would change his mind. What was the right course of action?. Finally he asked God for a sign.
One day Gregory and Catherine were talking to each other on the subject of moving to Rome. Pope asked her what she would do if she was in his place. Catherine looked at his face, long and hard, and said, “You know what to do more than anybody else. Your Holiness has long kept a vow to return to Rome” Pope had never told his vow to anybody else. He was wonderstruck. How could Catherine know about his vow? Nobody except him and God knew about it. God must have told her. That was the sign he had asked from God