Saint Catherine of Siena
By Paul Murray, OP

Catherine of Siena is one of the most intriguing and explosive saints in Church history. A young laywoman with almost no education, she became renowned for her intense mystical experiences, inspired preaching, and scathing criticism of corrupt political and ecclesial authorities. She is even recognized today as a Doctor of the Church—the only layperson to ever receive the title—yet comes across to us more as an apostle than an intellectual. Her work is like Aquinas’ Summa set on fire.

But for all the fascination with Catherine, the distinguishing feature of her life has received surprisingly little attention: her preoccupation with freedom. Catherine had a keen sense of the “unspeakably crazy” love of God and the liberating power of his mercy. But she also knew the terrible bondage of sin—and the necessity of facing our own inner darkness if we are to overcome it. She had a passion for leading those enslaved by fear and oppression to self-knowledge in God—and ultimately, to true freedom. It is this “fire” that inflames almost every page she writes.

In this profound book, the Irish Dominican poet and writer Fr. Paul Murray draws us into the fire of this great mystic’s love for God and humanity, reading her life and teaching not only in light of Dominican spirituality, but also the writings of Renaissance philosopher Giovanni Pico della Mirandola and the modern psychologist Carl Jung. What results is a portrait of a preacher of freedom who speaks to us, even today, with compelling authority.

Author: Paul Murray, OP
ISBN: 978-1-943243-64-8
Binding: Hardcover
Page Count: 208
Publisher: Word on Fire Institute

Language: English
Release Date: 2020-06-14






Chapter 1
"Freedom That Is a Woman"

Chapter 2
Fear into Freedom:
The Liberating Message of Catherine

Chapter 3
A Tale of Two Freedoms:
Catherine and Giovanni Pico della Mirandola

FIRE AND SHADOW: Catherine's Vision of the Self

Introduction to Part II: A Path of Liberation

Chapter 4
"Who Am I?":Catherine and Self-Knowledge

Chapter 5
The Shadow and the Self: The Visions of Catherine and Jung

"TO PRAISE, TO BLESS, TO PREACH": Catherine's Three Remarkable Freedoms

Introduction to Part III: A Motto and Mission

Chapter 6
 Laudare: Freedom to Praise

Chapter 7
 Benedicere: Freedom to Bless

Chapter 8
Praedicare: Freedom to Preach

Clarity, intelligence, passion and elegance – these are the marks of a writer in top form, and Father Barron brings all these gifts to bear in this extraordinary reflection on the Catholic faith. If you read one book this year on what Catholics believe and why, this is the book to read – and to share with others.

—Charles J. Chaput

O.F.M. Cap, Archbishop of Philadelphia

Father Robert Barron’s Catholicism: A Journey to the Heart of the Faith takes a path less traveled in leading us to explore the faith through stories, biographies, and images. In these pages, we meet the “Word made Flesh” not only in theological formulations, but also in saints and poets, cathedrals and chants, priests and prophets. What makes Catholicism so compelling are the ways in which Father Barron shows how the Incarnation goes on in the true, the good, and the beautiful.

—Timothy M. Dolan

Archbishop of New York

Prepare yourself for an entrancing tour of the many facets of Catholicism. From Her art to Her architecture, Her theological riches, to the inspired personalities that have filled Her pews, the Catholic Church is laid bare by a priest who is more than up to the task. Like the Faith it seeks to capture, it is a journey that will leave you full – and then hungering for more.

—Raymond Arroyo

New York Times Bestselling Author of Mother Angelica and host of EWTN's The World Over Live

When Father Barron is talking, I can't stop listening. Whatever he writes, I can't put down unfinished. He loves the people he addresses. He writes about what matters to us. To read him is to be loved in word after word. In these pages, heart speaks to heart.

—Mike Aquilina

co-author of The Mass: The Glory, the Mystery, the Tradition

Father Robert Barron’s great gift is to wed intellectual depth with clarity and vividness of expression. His Catholicism: A Journey to the Heart of the Faith is a superb exploration of the Catholic vision that seamlessly unites theological reflection and masterpieces of architecture and art. The story he tells comes truly alive in his portraits of concrete men and women who, in every age, have lived the journey of faith to the full.

—Rev. Robert Imbell

Associate Professor of Theology at Boston College