Catherine, St.

, of Sienna, was born in that city in 1347, and having vowed virginity at eight years old, she took the Dominican habit some time after, and became eminent for her genius, charity, zeal, and writings. Going to Avignon, in order to reconcile the Florentines with Gregory XI. who had excommunicated them, she pressed that pope so much, by her discourses and solicitations, that she engaged him to quit France and go to Rome in 1377, where he again fixed the pontifical seat, seventy years after Clement V. had removed it to France. She died 1380, aged 33, and was canonized by Pius II. 1461. Various “Letters” in Italian are ascribed to her, which were printed at Venice, 1500, fol. “Italian poems,Sienna, 1505, 8vo, and some small devotional treatises. Her whole works were collected at Sienna, 1707, 4 vols. 4to. Her Legend, in Italian, is very scarce, Florence, 1477: and the editions of 1524, 4to, and 1526, 8vo, are also scarce. Johndu Pins wrote the life of St. Catherine in Latin, Bologna, 1505, 4to; there is another in French by P. de Rechac, Paris, 1647, 12mo.

Her “Letters” are written in a style so pure and elegant, that Sienna has pretended to rival Florence in the production of classical language. Girolamo Gigli, a learned man of Sienna, who published a fine edition of St. Catherine’s Letters in 1707, had a design of subjoining a vocabulary of words and expressions peculiar to her, but in this attempt took so many liberties with the language and academy of Florence, that his “Vocabolario Cateriniano” was stopt by an order from pope Innocent XII. the author banished, his work burnt by the hands of the hangman, and his name struck out of the list of the Florentine academicians, as guilty, says a late Italian historian, not only of leze-grammar, but of leze-majesty. The vocabulary, however, was afterwards published, without a date, 4to, and with the fictitious name of Manille. 2


Dupin.Moreri.—Ginguené Hist. Litt. d’Italie.