SCS4 – The Avignon and Rome Years – St. Catherine of Siena with Fr. Thomas McDermott O.P. – Discerning Hearts Podcast

The Avignon and Rome Years – St. Catherine of Siena with Fr. Thomas McDermott O.P.

Fr. Thomas McDermott - Prayer and the Dominican Tradition 1

Fr. Thomas McDermott and Kris McGregor discuss the life of St. Catherine of Siena and her role in persuading the Pope to return to Rome from Avignon after a 70-year absence. They shine a light on St. Catherine’s remarkable transformation from a seemingly shy recluse to a prominent figure advising the Pope. Her directness and authority, rooted in her divine revelations and visions, were instrumental in influencing the Pope’s decision.

Fr. McDermott also shares his personal connection to St. Catherine, describing how studying her teachings profoundly impacted his spiritual journey, leading to a deep admiration and engagement with her life.

Fr. Thomas McDermott - Prayer and the Dominican Tradition 2

Discerning Hearts Reflection Questions:

  1. St. Catherine’s Influence: How does St. Catherine’s transformation from a shy recluse to a prominent advisor to the Pope reflect her deep spiritual journey and divine calling?
  2. Access to the Papal Court: What do you think allowed St. Catherine, a woman, to have such unprecedented access to the papal court during her time, and what significance does this hold for understanding the medieval Church’s attitude towards women?
  3. St. Catherine’s Authority: In what ways did St. Catherine demonstrate her prophetic voice and authority, particularly in her directness and fearlessness in confronting the Pope and addressing the issues within the Church?
  4. St. Catherine’s Personal Sacrifice: Reflect on St. Catherine’s physical and spiritual suffering, such as her struggles with food and her tireless devotion to prayer for the Church. How does her perseverance in the face of suffering inspire you in your own spiritual journey?
  5. St. Catherine’s Legacy: Discuss the enduring impact of St. Catherine’s life and teachings on the Catholic Church. How can her example of love for the Church coupled with constructive criticism guide us in our efforts for spiritual renewal and reform today?

This series is based on ‘Catherine of Siena’ by Fr. Thomas McDermott

For the entire Discerning Hearts series “The Life and Teachings of St. Catherine of Siena” visit here

Fr. Thomas McDermott, OP is Regent of Studies for the Dominican Province of St. Albert the Great and is the author of “Catherine of Siena: Spiritual Development in Her Life and Teaching” (Paulist, 2008) and “Filled with all the Fullness of God: An Introduction to Catholic Spirituality”. He obtained a doctorate in spiritual theology from the Angelicum and taught for several years at Kenrick-Glennon Seminary in St. Louis. He crrently serves as pastor at St. Vincent Ferrer, in Chicago, IL.

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