Student Reflection: Votive Mass of St. Catherine of Siena

Rowan Auriemma '24 provided the student reflection at the Votive Mass of St. Catherine of Siena on Friday, April 26. Read her full reflection below.
Catherine was able to do remarkable works because of her faith, and God was able to turn her suffering into opportunity. Catherine was born in Siena, Italy, in 1347, the 24th child of her parents. She started having visions and mystical experiences from a young age, which she later described as her spiritual marriage to Christ. Catherine was deeply committed to her faith, and she spent most of her life working tirelessly for the church, even to the point of advocating for the Pope to return to Rome from Avignon, France, where he had been residing for years.

One of the most remarkable aspects of Catherine's life was her ability to persevere through difficult times. She experienced a great deal of opposition and criticism throughout her life, as she sought to bring about reforms within the Catholic Church. Many people did not understand her spiritual experiences, and some even accused her of heresy. Despite these challenges, Catherine remained steadfast in her faith and her commitment to the church. She wrote many letters to political and religious leaders, urging them to take action to address the corruption and abuses within the church.

Catherine's perseverance and endurance were also evident in her personal life. She endured many physical hardships, including severe fasting, self-flagellation, and illness. However, she did not let these challenges deter her from her mission. Instead, she saw them as opportunities to grow closer to God and to better understand the suffering of Christ.

For Fenwick students, Catherine's life can serve as a reminder of the importance of perseverance, even in the face of adversity. Whether it is striving to achieve academic excellence, pursuing a career, or overcoming personal challenges, there will always be obstacles along the way. However, with perseverance and endurance, these challenges can be overcome. Like Catherine, students can draw strength from their faith and their commitment to their goals. Students can learn from her example of service by seeking out opportunities to serve others in their communities like the sophomore service days or the junior service project. Catherine serves as a role model for Fenwick students for her great faith and works.

As we reach the end of the year and get ready for the summer, and for some of us, the next chapter in our lives, it is important to remember the role models that the saints serve as in our lives. Freshman, you’ve got the rest of your Fenwick career to learn about service to others and devotion to God, take every opportunity that is given to you and make the most out of them. Sophomores, you will be starting your Junior service projects soon, use this time as a moment to find God through service to others and learn about those around you. Juniors, as the rising leaders of the school, take everything that you have learned and be examples to the underclassmen, and make the most out of your senior year. And finally, fellow seniors, as we head into this next phase, it’s important for us to never forget these memories and experiences we have had at Fenwick. The service opportunities, the community, the teachings, and everything in between have shaped us all, use them to make the future warm and bright. Go Friars.
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