I have had some good teachers, I have had some bad teachers, and I have had some mediocre teachers. But my best teachers have always fallen into one of two categories, there were those who encouraged me to ask questions and find my own answers, and there were those who wrote lovely words that — encouraged me to ask questions and find my own answers!
Many of the latter category were spiritual leaders and mystics who shared their divine insights through beautiful prose and poetry. These wise thinkers continue to be my guides and companions as I seek truth in my spirit and in my days.
St. Catherine of Siena is one such teacher. The 23rd (that’s right, no typo there!) child of a wool dyer and without formal education, she became one of the greatest theologians of the 14th century. A visionary from the age of 6, she is now one of the patron saints of Italy and was designated the first female Doctor of the Church by Pope Paul VI on October 4, 1970.
Being a “respected figure for her spiritual writings, and political boldness to “speak truth to power”, St. Catherine seems a logical teacher for one who wants to understand better her Catholic faith history and what that means to her as a woman. And so I have not only read numerous of her writings, but flip regularly through some of her selected poems for learning.
Today, in flipping open one such book of poetry, my eyes read the following poem:
All has been consecrated.
The creatures in the forest know this,
the earth does, the seas do, the clouds know
as does the heart full of
Strange a priest would rob us of this
and then empower himself
with the ability
to make holy what