London: Collins, 1980. First edition. Octavo, original brown cloth, gilt spine, original dust jacket. A fine book, slight wear to fore-edges, mild toning to spine and upper front panel of unclipped original jacket. An excellent copy. Item #1433
"I, CATHERINE, SERVANT AND SLAVE OF THE SERVANTS OF JESUS CHRIST, WRITE TO YOU IN HIS PRECIOUS BLOOD"
First edition collecting the selected letters of St. Catherine of Siena—published by English Dominicans to coincide with the sixth centenary of the great Saint's death in 1380. Complete in the original illustrated dust jacket designed by Yvonne Skargon.
St. Catherine of Siena, "one of the greatest saints of a tumultuous era" (Robert Ellsberg), was born Catherine Benincasa in 1347. Europe was on the brink of the catastrophic Black Death and torn by schism and disunion in the Church. A reputation for asceticism and mysticism "even in her lifetime made her something of a celebrity" and Catherine began to attract disciples ("the Caterinata"). Drawn into the conflicts surrounding the papacies of Gregory XI and Urban VI. "What was distinctive about the holiness of Catherine was the way she mediated through her own heart the burning love of Christ and the needs of her time" (Ellsberg). Catherine's loyalty to Pope Urban VI left her unable to resolve the fracture and she ultimately failed to heal the schism in the Church before her early death in 1380.
The selected letters are divided chronologically into groups I - IV, with a concluding extract from The Dialogue of Divine Providence. The text is supplemented with an index in two parts: Index of Addresses/Index of Names. Translated by Sister Mary John Ronayne, O.P. and Father Kenelm Foster, O.P., the text is preceded by Foster's lengthy Introduction, in three parts. I. A sketch of St, Catherine's Life, II. A brief summary of her spiritual teaching, and III. Details about the text of her writings and their more important editions. Dedicated "To Sister Mary Catherine OP and her Sisters at Carisbrooke."