Setting the World on Fire: The Brief, Astonishing Life of St. Catherine of Siena

Setting the World on Fire The Brief Astonishing Life of St Catherine of Siena One of only two patron saints of Italy the other being St Francis of Assisi St Catherine was ahead of her time As a political powerhouse in late th century Europe a time of war social unrest and

  • Title: Setting the World on Fire: The Brief, Astonishing Life of St. Catherine of Siena
  • Author: Shelley Emling
  • ISBN: 9781137279804
  • Page: 290
  • Format: Hardcover
  • One of only two patron saints of Italy, the other being St Francis of Assisi, St Catherine was ahead of her time As a political powerhouse in late 14th century Europe, a time of war, social unrest and one of the worst natural disasters of all time the plague, she worked for peace between Christians while campaigning for a holy crusade against Muslims She was illiteratOne of only two patron saints of Italy, the other being St Francis of Assisi, St Catherine was ahead of her time As a political powerhouse in late 14th century Europe, a time of war, social unrest and one of the worst natural disasters of all time the plague, she worked for peace between Christians while campaigning for a holy crusade against Muslims She was illiterate but grew into a great writer by dictating to assistants She was frail and punished herself mercilessly, often starving herself, while offering moral guidance and inspiration to kings, queens and popes.It s easy to see why feminists through the years have sought to claim the patronage of St Catherine From her refusal to marry to her assertion that her physical appearance was of no importance, the famous Saint is ripe for modern interpretation She was a peacemaker during Siena s revolution of 1368, sometimes addressing thousands of people in squares and streets she convinced Pope Gregory XI to return the papacy to Rome at a time when the Catholic Church was unraveling.How did this girl, the second youngest of 25 children of a middle class dyer, grow to become one of the most beloved spiritual figures of all time, a theological giant to rank alongside the likes of Thomas Aquinas InSetting the World on Fire, Emling gives an intimate portrayal of this fascinating and revolutionary woman.

    One thought on “Setting the World on Fire: The Brief, Astonishing Life of St. Catherine of Siena”

    1. Isms--mysticism, fanaticism, feminism--only begin to describe the life of Saint Catherine of Siena. Her devotion to the medieval Catholic Church and the blood of Jesus exceeds human understanding. Mine, anyway. Beginning in early childhood, she renounced life's comforts and necessities to pray. She self-flagellated, wore a hair shirt and slept on a wooden bed with a stone for a pillow. "She very much wanted martyrdom."She existed most of her years in a state of 'holy anorexia' and despite her la [...]

    2. Spent more years than I want to remember in Catholic schools, went through a period of time when I was in grade school where reading about the lives of the saints was a keen interest of mine. Catherine was the name I choose as my confirmation name. So I had read about this saint before, with younger more naïve beliefs.Loved the background of this one, her family life, the political situation at the time and her beginning commitment to God. Would have liked to have learned more about exactly how [...]

    3. I'm a fan of St Catherine of Siena, but this biography didn't do her justice. It covers all the main points, but does so in a straightforward, very dull way. The writing is mundane, and the chapter breaks seem arbitrary. All in all, not a great biography.

    4. I visited Siena, Italy in 2011 and was unable to visit the cathedral of St. Catherine and I was glad to find this detailed book about her life , her great devotion to Jesus and her love and hope for the Church. I was especially interested in the how and why of her devotion to God. I learned a great deal about the policies and troubles of the early church before her time, during her time as a servant of God and her hopes and fears for the unity of the church and what caused the split between the [...]

    5. St. Catherine of Siena was not only one of the Catholic Church’s greatest mystic, she was also one of its greatest writers. She wrote a book called Dialogues, a conversation between God and the human soul about spiritual life. She is also one of the few women that was given the title of Doctors of the Church. In this biography of the saint, this novel focuses on her accomplishments as well as her struggles. St. Catherine of Siena was the daughter of a wool dyer. She was known as a happy child. [...]

    6. Shelly Emling states: "Rather than view Catherine through the prism of modernity, one must consider the way her life and teachings transgressed the boundaries placed upon women of her time."I found that one of the key points of this self described "secular biography" was Catherine's role as a woman who superseded the boundaries of her time and culture, which is an interesting observation, however nowhere in Catherine's own writings did I see a woman out to change the role of women so I found it [...]

    7. This is a short biography of Catherine of Siena. Catherine lived in the 1300s and was directly involved in the return of the Pope to Rome from Avignon only to see the Church politically split with two separate popes as the result. She was an interesting woman, but I don’t feel like the biography did her justice. It was really for informational purposes with some ideas for further reading. I wanted the author to explore Catherine more deeply. There are some interesting ideas, particularly that [...]

    8. An intriguing portrait of a woman growing up in 14 century Italy becoming one of the best known orators.She was a complex person who sought to bring together the Catholic faith which was in danger of falling apart and inspiring church leaders and royalty.Unfortunately her support for Pope Urban brought her into conflict with his enemies and Catherine was executed. Many years later she was beatified as there was evidence of miracles happening when ailing persons were cured just by coming into con [...]

    9. The story of Catherine and her role in the Catholic church is not one with universal appeal - even amongst Catholics. The author has however set down an accurate perception of Catherine as a person and as someone who was saintly in a way very easy to understand by a lay reader.Being Catholic it was easy to read and I gained more insight into the life and times of Catherine. The period in which she was born was turbulent politically for both her state and her country and Catherine loved both very [...]

    10. I now know MORE than I ever wanted to know about the political, economic, and social conditions in 14th century Italy. The Black Death, the Crusades, corrupt churchmen, fun fun fun!!!:-)Catherine of Siena is supposed to be a role model for feminists, but all I can see is a masochistic anorexic with a big mouth. The whole licking sores and wearing (invisible!) stigmata and imagining baby Jesus' foreskin as a wedding ring is too much for me. I know religious fashions change, but this is a side of [...]

    11. An interesting and informative biography of St Catherine of Siena which fails to offer any psychological depth. A hagiography more than anything else, Catherine’s sanctity is taken as a given, as are facts such as her ability to go for long periods without food or drink, and that she experienced the stigmata. It’s a simplistic approach, which makes for some unsatisfactory reading. It seems to me that Catherine was mentally ill, and however strong the author’s faith this issue should have a [...]

    12. This is a very well told story of St. Catherine of Siena. The picture painted of the times she lived in really gives a realistic perspective of her life. Also added in is context in the history of the church at the time so there is no mistake of the trials she faced. I loved how the author really filled in St. Catherine's life with details of her family and other religious figures she encountered and admired. I enjoyed that you could almost follow her thought processes as her life unfolded. A gr [...]

    13. Good book and interesting read about the historical figure of Catherine of Sienna. Very easy to read with historical and socio-political background provided in order to explain the circumstances of the time she was living in. This was during a very interesting time in European history, and as such provides interesting insight. It does not completely glorify her, due to her support of a Pope that wasn't consistent to the Catholic doctrine, and that I appreciated it. The author did not try to cove [...]

    14. Having encountered many quotes from St. Catherine of Siena in the daily meditations in "Divine Intimacy," I was curious to learn more about her. I found Emling's book an informative and enjoyable read. I found Catherine Benincasa to be a remarkable daughter of the Church, a feisty, outspoken firebrand who ranks right up there with St. Teresa of Avila and St. Therese of Lisieux as women who left an indelible mark on not just the Catholic faith, but on the world. I received an ARC of this book in [...]

    15. I purchased this book in Siena after touring St. Catherine's home. It was a fascinating look into a saint of medieval times, and did a good job at trying to explain the parameters of the world within which St. Catherine lived, without reducing St. Catherine to an object of ridicule, which would not be difficult if viewing some of her actions from a more modern lens. This was a secular biographer that did a good job of telling us about the amazing life of St. Catherine.

    16. If you are interested in mystics you will enjoy this book. The life of one of the Church's most distinguished saints, St. Catherine of Siena is brought to life. You will learn about her quirks and what made her so special. The author meticulously recounts the history of the Church at that time so we learn a lot about the political situation. There is an excellent bibliography at the end if you want to learn more about her.

    17. I read this because she is my patron saint and we visited her house and the relic of her head in Siena. But who would have thought the biography of an anorexic holy mystic from the 14th century, who , despite being a woman, negotiated with popes and noblemen, could be so dull. I guess being a sinat is not all it's cracked up to be.

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