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Mt 11, 25-30

Today is the feast day of Catherine of Siena, a remarkable woman of character and courage.  Born in Siena, Italy in 1347, she lived in a time of great tumult, when the Church was involved in state politics and war, and the Pope fled from Rome to Avignon, France.

As the writer Mary Ann Sullivan describes Catherine, she “deliberately told popes, queens and kings how to behave. She was spontaneous, unafraid of authority and fearless in the face of death. She was a Dominican religious who corresponded with Popes and peasants alike.”  Catherine had a powerful influence on the Church and two Popes relied on her counsel, which was honest and straightforward.  After her death, she was named a saint and later one of the first women Doctors of the Church.

How did Catherine have such courage when it seems we so often get mired down in our own fears?  The answer may be in today’s gospel.  Jesus promises that after he is gone, the Holy Spirit will come in his name. The Holy Spirit will teach us and remind us of everything Jesus told us, including courage in the face of adversity.

Our trust in the Holy Spirit will bring us the comfort, strength and guidance to live our lives as Jesus did, challenging injustice, questioning institutions and comforting and helping the poor.

Dear Lord, give me the courage today to follow your Spirit.  Let me take the time to listen, to be emboldened in the struggle for justice and to worry more about those who are in need than my own needs.  Let me be honest and direct in your service and help me to be humble and listen with an open heart.

By Maureen McCann Waldron

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