The mystical betrothal of St. Catherine by Francesco Parmigianino

The mystical betrothal of St. Catherine by Francesco Parmigianino

Catherine of Siena was for Italy and for the Catholic world what Jeanne d’Arc became in the next generation for France. Both girls emerged from the bowels of the popular masses, both in the sacred fervor of selflessness defeated their female timidity and became mentors of the leaders of nations. high religious visions from the circle of family and solitude, both early in their sight of their vocation, and in the Love for God and people scooped strength for the feat of life.

Joan of Ark girdled with a knight’s sword to save her fatherland from foreigners. For Catherine of Siena, the interest of the earthly fatherland coincided with the triumph of the heavenly kingdom and divine truth, and therefore she wanted to defeat the power of the earthly sword by the power of love and eternal truth. Catherine’s ascetic asceticism is superior to her sternness, with its physical results, everything that can be cited from the history of medieval monasticism, and at the same time is accompanied by high ecstatic phenomena, reliably witnessed and accurate described.

Like the martyr of Alexandria, the name of which she bore, Catherine became engaged to Christ. At this time she was about twenty years old. She felt that a decisive turning point had to happen in her life and continued to fervently pray to the Lord, repeating: “Combine with me by marriage in faith!” There was a carnival evening of 1367. These days, people used to “celebrate the feast of the stomach.” Noise filled the city and even the house of Catherine. A young girl in her room for the thousandth time, with deep concentration, repeated her prayer for marriage and faith. And now the Lord appeared to her, saying: “Now, when others are having fun, I decided to celebrate the feast of your soul with you.”

The vision was full of vision and hearing: the heavenly host with the saints whom she most loved appeared before her. At the sound of the psalms of David, the Mother of God took her right hand and, stretching out to the Son, asked Him to deign her to become engaged to Him in faith. And Christ put on her hand a gold ring with a beautiful diamond and four pearls and said: “Behold, I combine with you marriage in faith, I am your Creator and Savior. You will keep this faith unspotted until you celebrate heavenly eternal marriage with me. “

The vision disappeared, but the ring remained forever on the hand. The ring was invisible to others, but not to Catherine. In Siena, the custom has been preserved, according to which, on the last day of the carnival, no procession and no mask passes through Fontebranda Street, where this wedding was celebrated. On the gable of the house where Catherine lived, the inscription: “This is the house of Catherine, the Bride of Christ.”

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