St Catherine was born in 1347 as the 25th child of her mother. She herself was born a twin, though her sister did not survive infancy. Always religious, she became a Dominican tertiary, and lived out her life of prayer at home. At the age of 21, she had a powerful spiritual experience which changed her life for ever, when Jesus appeared to her and presented her with a ring espousing her to Himself. From then on, she began to enter more fully into the issues of her time, and to take definite steps to assist the poor and others in need. She also became involved in politics, and was instrumental in persuading the Pope to return to Rome from Avignon. She died in 1380 at the age of 33.

The image, by Giovanni di Paolo, shows the mystical espousal of the saint to Christ, watched over by the Blessed Virgin. May St Catherine pray for us, and may God bless you this day.