“Start being brave about everything” Catherine said. So simple and profound! When I saw Pope Benedict’s home in 2017 when I took my solo trip to Italy, I was inspired after what I saw especially when I remembered Catherine’s role in persuading the Holy Father to return to Rome. I desperately wanted to find her displayed body in one of the Cathedrals and was hopelessly wandering around the eternal city. I found out that the only day I had left to find that Cathedral with her body was closed, and I was definitely disappointed, but something better happened.
Not very many of the warm and vibrant Italians spoke English so I made a lot of wild hand gestures when I was lost, but I approached one man to ask about Catherine and he spoke English in reply and said, “I have something better for you; let me show you something”. I do not remember what the building itself was or why I even followed what appeared to be a stranger, but I could sense that divine tug that I could trust him. It was an old theatre house or museum and he led me to a room with a glass case with some reliquary (later now I realize must have been dedicated to the saint) and a large picture of Catherine of Siena where the window happened to shed the perfect light on the image. There was a kneeler beneath the portrait with the whole room dedicated to it. Then the man said, “this is the room where Catherine drew her last breath; I will give you a minute”. He left the room, and I got down on that kneeler and knew Our Lady led me to Catherine.