204. ST. Catherine of Siena. Part nine
Saint Catherine’s confessor Fra Tommaso and Friar Giorgio Naddi were travelling together. They were followed by a band of robbers. Soon the brigands waylaid them and removed them from their horses. They took all their possessions. To hide their robbery they talked between themselves of killing them and burying their bodies in the jungle. Friars promised that they won’t disclose this deed to a soul, but it had no effect on the miscreants. No human help was available. In desperation, Fra Tomasso called, “O sweetest daughter …..Come to our aid in this tremendous danger”.
He had not finished his call for help when one of the robbers suddenly burst out with the words, “why should we kill these good friar, they won’t breathe to a soul”. They talked some more. Then they not only spared their lives but returned all their possessions and horses. As I have already mentioned Catherine was twenty-four miles away with a companion. At the very moment Father Tommaso called, Catherine said, “My father is calling me, and I know he is in great distress”. She got up and went to a place where she prayed.
Prophecies. In 1375, most of the cities and lands that belonged to the Roman Church rebelled against Pope Gregory X1. One day the news of insurrection of Perugia came while Raymond and Catherine were sitting together in Pisa. They were both saddened by the news. Then Catherine said, “But this is nothing as compared to what is going to come”.
“You mean something worse than this is going to happen”
“Yes! A time is going to come when there will be a schism in the Roman Church. It will break into two”
Father Raymond was horrified by the thought of breakup of Christendom.
Catherine said, “Those will be terrible times. You will be alive when this happens, so you will be a witness to the events”
When the schism occurred in the reign of the next Pope, I reminded Catherine of her prophecy years ago in Pisa. Catherine said that even worse things are going to happen in the border areas.
Raymond asked her that what will happen to the Holy Church.
She replied, “After all these disasters, God will purify the Church. It will rise and shine to greater glories”
Things happened as she had predicted.
Multiplication of edibles. There was a great famine in Siena. A time came when fresh wheat became unavailable. People were obliged to eat old wheat/flour which had become moldy. Catherine was staying with her inseparable companion Alessia. They were eating bad wheat like everybody else. When the fresh crop came new wheat became available. Alessia decided to throw the small amount of moldy wheat away as the Lord had mercy on them. Catherine advised her not to throw the old one away, because Lord had made it. She advised her to give it to the poor, who did not even have that available to them. Alessia said that she did not want to do it because it will be on her conscience that she gave sour bread to the poor, she would rather give good wheat to the poor. Catherine said, “Bring me the moldy flour you want to throw and some water, I will make bread myself for the poor of Jesus”
She started making loaves from the moldy flour. Her speed of making was so fast that in a small amount of time she made large amount of loaves. As a matter of fact she made 4-5 times more loaves than would have been possible from the small amount of flour that was available. Everybody was amazed. They were sent to the bakehouse for cooking. Then they were eaten at the dinner table by everybody. There was nothing wrong with them. People remarked that they had never eaten such sweet bread.
That was not the end of the miracle.
Bread was distributed to the poor and the friars. The bin in which loaves were stored, kept on producing loaves for several weeks!
Thus God performed a miracle with three parts; Moldy bread was transformed to sweet bread, the amount of dough was increased, and numbers of loaves in the bin were multiplied.
When Raymond heard of this miracle he thought of investigating all the facts of this case. He asked holy virgin herself. She told him the following: “I was seized with the desire to help the poor and not to waste any food which Lord had made. I suddenly saw Blessed Mary and many holy spirits and angels in front of me. She asked me to proceed with the task and with her own most holy hands started making bread with me. The loaves increased in number due to her holiness.”
She was ordered to go to Rome by Pope Urban VI. Many persons accompanied her on this journey to Rome. They had gathered around her from all over the province of Tuscany. She was instructing these sons and daughters in the way of holiness.To be continued