Mystical Experience of Saint Catherine of Siena

Saint Catherine of Siena (1347 – 1380) was a member of the Third Order of Saint Dominic, a Catholic group comprised of laypeople whose lives are dedicated to prayer and service.  Most of Saint Catherine’s writings (except her letters) we dictated to others during her ecstatic states.

Saint Catherine once said, “The human heart is drawn by love as by nothing else, since it is made of love….Love, love, love one another! Be glad, be jubilant! Summertime is coming! For on the night of April first God disclosed his secrets more than usual.  He showed his marvels in such a way that my soul seemed to be outside my body and was so overwhelmed with joy that I can’t really describe it in words.”

In another of her letters, Saint Catherine provided a description of her mystical experience as follows:

“Truly the Soul’s being united with and transformed into him [God] is like fire consuming the dampness in logs.  Once the logs are heated through and through, the fire burns and changes them into itself, giving them its own color and warmth and power.  It is just so with us when we look at our Creator and his boundless charity.  We begin to experience the heat of self-knowledge – which consumes all the dampness of our selfish love for ourselves.  As the heat increases, we throw ourselves with blazing desire into God’s measureless goodness, which we discover within our very selves.  We are then sharing in his warmth and in his power, in that we begin at once to feed on and savor souls…”

Quoted by Carol Lee Flinders in A Little Book of Women Mystics.

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