207. ST. Catherine of Siena. Part twelve
We were discussing the story of the lost piece of Host (consecrated bread used in the ceremony of Holy Communion). Greatly worried Raymond told Catherine that a piece of the Host cannot be found anywhere. To his mild surprise she did not seem perturbed. A faint smile appeared on her face. “Did you look everywhere?” she asked. Raymond said “yes”. “Then why are you perturbed”, she said and smiled again. By this time Raymond became suspicious. He said, “Mother, I truly believe that it was you who took the Host.” “It was somebody else!”, she said. Raymond said, “Please tell me all you know of this matter.”This is what she said:
“…As my confessor I will tell you. It was brought to me. It was offered to me by Jesus Christ! I took it. My companions did not want me to take it today. To avoid upsetting them I agreed. But then I turned to my most kind Savior. He appeared to me, and offered me the fragment by His most holy hands”.
On other occasions, some very trustworthy persons have told Raymond that they have seen the Host flying out of the priest’s hand as he was offering it to the holy virgin.
I have one more episode of change of Catherine’s face to narrate. Catherine used to nurse a woman in the hospital who was dying from cancer of breast. One day as Catherine came into the room, a pleasing light appeared in the room. She looked around for the source of the light, and saw a mantle of light around Catherine, and there was light around her face. Her face had an angelic quality. It did not look like the face of Lapa’s daughter, Catherine.
Miracles after death. The story of Semia, though long, is so fascinating that it deserves to be told with all its details. She was a virtuous woman. When Catherine arrived in Rome, Semia heard of her holiness and tried to spend as much time as possible in her company. She became her close companion. On the day of Catherine’s death (29th April,1380, Sunday, at hour of Terce)she was supposed to get up early, cook food for her demanding five sons, go for High Mass of Sunday, and then rush to the house where Catherine was staying. She overslept in the morning and saw an amazing dream. She saw a most beautiful little girl emerging from a silver tabernacle. Her face looked like that of Catherine. The girl was adorned in shining white dress, necklaces, and on her head were three crowns, one on top of another. Semia was trying to guess who that girl was. Her features resembled Catherine’s but Catherine was a much older person. The girl said to the two boys who were there, “See, she does not recognize me.”Four more graceful boys appeared. They put the crowned girl on a couch. The girl floated to Semia and said “I am Catherine of Siena.”The bridal bed rose in the air. A throne appeared, on which a bejeweled king was seated. He was holding a book in his right hand. The boys laid the bed in front of the throne. The girl got up, and bowed at the king’s feet and worshipped him. The king welcomed Catherine, by name. Further ceremonies followed. They awaited the queen. The queen held Catherine by hand and said, “Welcome to you, my most beloved daughter, Catherine.”Semia also saw many virgins, such as St Agnes, and St Margret.
When Semia woke it was already hour of Terce (9AM). She was late. She thought she was going to miss the Mass. That made her suspect that the vision she had seen was the work of the Devil, to make her miss the Mass. She said to herself, “if I miss the mass, it must have been the work of the Devil, if I find a Mass, it must have been a favor from mother Catherine”. As it happened the Mass was over by the time she reached the church. But then she went to another church and could attend the Mass. Before going to the church she washed and cut the vegetables and meat for the dinner. She locked the front door before she went to the church.
During the Mass, she asked Jesus, that if the vision was truly from Him, she be saved from grumbling of her sons, for food being late. Her sons were arriving at the door by the time she was reaching home. The door was locked. To her intense surprise food had been cooked and dinner was ready. She realized that the Savior had heard her prayer and answered it. She decided to go to Catherine, as soon as possible, and tell her about the miracles. She kept on saying, “Oh dear mother! You are truly a saint. You came in my house with locked door and cooked food for me.”
To be continued