Catherine of Siena

A brief biography.


Catherine of Siena, - Caterina Benincasa -, born March 25, 1347, became a tertiary of the Dominican order (1363), joining the Sisters of Penitence of St. Dominic in Siena. She rapidly gained a wide reputation for her holiness and her severe asceticism. When the rebellious city of Florence was placed under an interdict by Pope Gregory XI (1376), Catherine determined to take public action for peace within the church and Italy and to encourage a crusade against the Muslims. She went as an unofficial mediator to Avignon with her confessor and biographer Raymond of Capua. Her mission failed, and she was virtually ignored by the Pope, but while at Avignon she promoted her plans for a crusade.

It became clear to her that the return of Pope Gregory XI to Rome was the only way to bring peace to Italy. Catherine left for Tuscany the day after Gregory set out for Rome (1376). At his request she went to Florence (1378) and was there during the Ciompi Revolt in June.

After a short final stay in Siena, during which she completed her Dialogo (begun the previous year), she went to Rome in November, probably at the invitation of Pope Urban VI, whom she helped in reorganizing the church. From Rome she sent out letters and exhortations to gain support for Urban; as one of her last efforts she tried to win back Queen Joan I of Naples to obedience to Urban, who had excommunicated the Queen for supporting the antipope Clement VII.

She died in Rome, Sunday afternoon 29 April 1380, and is buried in the church Santa Maria sopra Minerva of the Dominican priory in Rome. The people of Siena want to have a relict of Catherine and so her head was taken on 5 Mai 1284 to the church of San Diomenico in Siena. Her mother Lappa, 94 years old, was presented! 
She was canonized by pope Pius II on 29 June1461.

Catherine's writings, all of which were dictated, include about 380 letters, 26 prayers, and the four treatises of Il libro della divina dottrina ("The Dialogue of Saint Catherine"), better known as the Dialogo (c. 1475).
She was declared a doctor of the church in 1970



 Catharine of Siena on paintings


Fra Angelico



Fra Angelico, EM 34: The coronation of the Virgin, ca. 1434/1435. Tempera on panel 112 x 114 cm.

Many Dominican Saints: Dominic and one unknown Dominican on the left; Peter Martyr, Catherine
of Siena
on the right.


Galleria degli Uffici, Florence.

Grenada 1997, Mi Bl 180 ; Sc 2732, sheet.

Dominica 1996, Mi Bl 318, Sc 1907, sheet.





Fra Angelico, EM 77: Transfiguration of Christ, a. 1441,
fresco 181
x152 cm. Catherine on the left.


Museo di San Marco, cell 6, Florence.


Equatorial Guinea 1974, Mi 347, Sc 7433.
Mali 1982, Mi 915, Sc C451.






Antonio Bazzi
il Sodoma, 1477-1549)

Catherine of Siena.

Fresco by Antonio Bazzi (il Sodoma, 1477-1549) for the side chapel
in the chruch of San Domenico in Siena, 1526.


 Vatican City 1962, Mi 402-404, Sc 335-337.

This stamp Mi 402, Sc 335.







Ambrogio da Fossano (Bergognone or Borgognone,
ca. 1445-1523


Catherine of Siena with Madonna and Child and her secretary Stefano de Corrado Maconi (c 1350-1424).He noticed her Dialogo.

Painting by Ambrogio da Fossano (Bergognone or Borgognone,
(ca. 1445-1523).


Malawi 1977, Mi 289, Sc 311.





Catherine of Siena with Catherine of Alexandria.


Painting by Ambrogio da Fossano (Bergognone or Borgognone,
ca. 1445-1523). Oil on panel 157
x 129,5 cm.

National Gallery, London.


Saint Lucia 1975, Mi 371, Bl 7; Sc 371.





Niccoló Circignano
                  + 1597

Catherine of Siena on the right          

Painting by Niccoló Circignano (il Pomarancio il Vecchio+1597).

Madonna of the Rosary (Dominic recievs the rosary).

Parish church of S.Jean Baptist in Pomarancio, Italy.


Italy 1997, Mi 2521, Sc 2164.



 Painting by Niccoló Circignano (il Pomarancio il Vecchio)+1597.

Parish church of S.Jean the Baptist in Pomarancio,


Italy 1997. Postmark Pomarancio 18.07.1997.






Alonso Sánchez Coello


Raymond of Capua, O.P. (1330-1399) recorded in his biography of
Catherine of Siena about her Mystic Marriage with Christ (1367). 
Catharine to
o wrote in her Dialogo della divina Providenza
(1347-1380) about the same experience.

The Spanish artist Alonso Sánchez Coello (1531/31-1588) painted
this event in ca.1578, preserved in the Prado Museum, Madrid.

Grenadines, Carriacou, Petit Martinique  2000, Mi --, Sc 22




Grazio Cossoli (1597)


This stamp, dedicated to the fifth centenary of the birth of St. Pius V, is
inspired by the altarpiece by Grazio Cossoli (1597), which is placed in the Chapel of the Rosary, located in Santa Croce di Bosco Marengo, in the Province of Alessandria, Italy. The altarpiece, painted to commemorate
the victory in the Battle of Lepanto (07.10.1571), shows Our Lady of the Rosary betweenSt. Dominic and St. Catherine of Siena, venerated by
Cardinal Bonelli and St. Pius V, as well as by Philip II and Doge Mocenigo.

Vatican City 2004, Mi 1483, Sc     



Fra Filippo Lippi

Painting by Fra Filippo Lippi (1406-09.10.1469):
Madonna dell' Umilità con angeli e santi carmelitani;  too  t
he Madonna of Humility.
In early time it belongs to the collection of Trivulzio, now preserved in the Museo Castello Sforzesco. Milano, and too named the Trivulzio Madonna,
after the name of the previous owner.

Probably painted (oil on panel, 85x168 cm.), when Fra Lippi was living in the monastery Santa Maria del Carmine, ca 1431, and destined for the altar of the Carmelite Saints Angelo and Alberto around the Virgin.

But probably there are two figures from the Dominican history
at the right. One had a cleaver in his head and that is the symbol of the Dominican Peter Martyr of Verona. Near him a Saint with lily on his shoulder, like Saint Dominic, but both with a white (Carmelite) cloak!
Is that for the colour on the painting or a sign of the celestial situation?

Tempera on panel in form of a timpano, 85x168cm.
Preserved in the Museo del Castello Sforzesco, Milano, since 1934.


Sierra Leone 2001 (Christmas) , Mi-- , Sc



Pietro Lorenzetti
                      16th century


Catherine of Siena in adoration of the Virgin with Child and John Baptist.

Fresco by Pietro Lorenzetti, 16th century, in the basilica of Saint Dominic
in Siena.

Sovereign Military Order of Malta (S.M.O.M.)  26.02.1984,
nr.250. Sheet Christmas 1984.





Giovanni M. Morandi


Catherine of Siena accepts the Child Jesus. Dominic receives the lily.
by Giovanni, M. Morandi (1622-1717). The reproduction
gives only the hands of St. Dominic, and is the mirror image.
Preserved in the Dominican priory Santa Sabina, Rome, the see
of the Master of the Dominican Order

Grenada 1975, Mi 720, Sc 687.


Filippo Naldini
(+ 1782)

The Virgin of the Rosary with St. Dominic and St. Catherine, painting by Filippo Naldini (+ 1782) in the church of the Sts. Peter and Callistus in Civitella  d’ Agliano (Viterbo).


Entire painting framed on three sides by the mysteries  of the rosary, i.e. illustrations of the events of the life of Christ narrated in the Gospels: annunciation, birth and childhood (left); passion und death (right); resurrection, ascension and Pentecost ; and two vignettes
of the
dormition and glorification of the Virgin (top).


Sovereign Military Order of Malta, (S.M.O.M.), 15.10.2001, 
sheet nr. 610.


Serafini, Augustine, H.: S.M.O.M. Notebook in The Coros Chronicle, December 2001, number 320, p. 166-167.





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Giovanni Battista Tiepolo


Madonna with six Saints. Oil on canvas 72,8 x 56 cm. 1755/1756.

Painting by Giovanni Battista Tiepolo (05.03.1696-27.03.1770).
To the left St. Catherine and St. Dominic. Szépm
üvészeti Muzeum Budapest.


Hungary 1984, Mi 3660, Bl 170; Sc 2839 f.




Andrea Vanni
(circa 1322-c 1413)  

Catherine of Siena.

Fresco by the Italian Andrea Vanni (c 1322-c 1413), 1396-1400.

The figure on the stamp likes to be inspired by the oldest iconographical
portrait, fresco, (ca 1390) on the mural by Andrea Vanni (c 1322-c 1413) 
in the church of San Domenico in Siena.


Italy 1962, Mi 1122, Sc 853.





Poland issued 2002 a set of six stamps in the form of a souvenir sheet
six Saints of Poland and Europe. Among them Catherine of Siena, Dominican tertiary and instrumental in causing the Popes to return to Rome.
She is the patroness of Italy, and of scientists and students. Inspred by
the fresco of Vanni.


Poland 2002, Mi 1412 in sheet 155, Sc 3662c.




Giorgio Vasari



Catherine of Siena escorted pope Gregory XI
at Rome on 17th January 1377.Fresco by Giorgio Vasari (30.
07.1511-27.06.1574) at the Sala Regia in the
Apostolic Palace (1571-1574), Rome.


Vatican City 1977, Mi 701,702, Sc 613,614.





 Reliefs and statues of Catherine of Siena


On the façade, 1670, of the Dominican church at Vienna
are some Dominican Saints, among others Catherine of Siena.

Austria 1966, Mi 1202, Sc 757.





Catherine of Siena in the front of the Capilla del Rosario, Bogotá, haut-relief 1654, with Madonna del Rosario, Dominic, Thomas Aquinas, Cristóbal of Torres or Pius V, by an unknown artist.


Colombia 1938, Mi 390, Sc 458.

Other stamps:  Colombia 1954, Mi 708, Sc 632.



  The same reproduction on Colombia 1954,
  Mi 712, Bl 8,9;Sc C266


             Colombia 1959, Mi 847, Sc C316.





The Virgin gives the Rosary to St. Dominic, in the church
of the Premonstratenzer-abb
-abbey of Osterhofen, Germany.

Statue by Egid-Quirin Asam (1.9.1692-29.4.1750):


Germany 1983. Postmark Osterhofen 26.08.1983.




Catherine of Siena in the Glory.

Relief by the Maltese artist Melchior Cafà or Gaffà ,( c 1631-1667),
in the
apse of the church of S.Catarina in Magnanapoli, Rome.


Malta 1967, Mi 356, Sc 367.





Catherine of Siena.

Woodcut by unknown woodcarver, 15the cent.


From the Editio Princeps of the letters of Catherine, Bologna 1492.


Italy 1962, Mi 1123, Sc 854.




Catherine of Siena patron of churches,congregations, countries and monasteries.


The blessed Colombian sister Laura Montoya (1874-1949) dedicated her congregation Catherine of Siena.


Catarina-church in Banskà Stiavnica  (Chemnitz), since 1493.
The statue of Catherine is now in the Museum in t
he old Castle of Chemnitz.                                            

Czechoslovakia 1957, Mi 1003, Sc 786.              



Many Congregations of Dominican nuns are named after Catherine of Siena.
So the congregation of the foundress Caherine Herrera (1717-1795)
in Quito,
Ecuador, 1777.


Ecuador 1977, Mi 1740, Sc C596.



Church St. Catherine in Pordenone.


Italy 2002. Postmark Pordenone 20.10.2002.





Sint Francis was patron of Italy in ???

Catherine was declared patron as patron of Itayby pope Pius XII in 1939.


Italy 1989, Postmark Rome 11.11.1989. San Francesco - Santa Catelina.
50th Anniversary Proclamatione Patroni dÍtalia.





The Dominicans signed the contract for the building of Catherine
de Siena’s monastery at Patzcuaro, Mexico on 13th April 1742.


Mexico 1980, Mi 1724, Sc 1211.






Prince Henryk V founded 1294 the monastery for the Dominican nuns
of Catherine of
Alexandria in Wroclaw.


The chapel is dedicated to Catherine.


Poland 1972, post-card.






Congregations dedicated Catherine of Siena



Francisca del Espíritu Santo, O.P. (1647-24.8.1711). member of
the Third Order of S. Dominic since 1682, founded 1696 the

Congregation of Catherine of
Siena. in Manila for Philippine girls. 
n the background the main house of the Congregation.


Philippines 1996, Mi 2676, Sc 2409.





Other items 



Pope Paulus VI declared the Archangel Gabriel as the patron
of the philatelists, on 9th December 1972.


Brasil 1973, Mi Bl 33; Sc 1308.

With postmark Santa Catarina.







Busta Lettera Postale, - post-card -, with the Madonna di Pompei, St.Dominic, at the left, who received the rosary from the Child, and St.Catherine of Siena at the right who accepts the rosary from the Virgin.  


Italy 1920, 29 October. Post-card.







Issue in honour of the 600th birthday of Catharine.


Catherine of Siena with a poor man.
She said; Meglio senza mantello que senza caritá.
          : Better without a coat than without charity.

Italy 1948,  Mi 740, Sc 489.




Catherine bearing the cross.

 She said: I’ vo gridando pace, pace, pace.

              : I am walking around crying peace, peace.


Italy 1948, Mi 741, Sc 490.








Catherine of Siena. second Patron d’ Italia. by pope Pius IX in 1866.

Six  churches: San Ambrogio, Milano; San Marco, Venice; Santa
Maria del Fiore, Florence; San Pietro, Rome; Ruvo di Puglia;
Cefalú, Sicilia.


Italy 1948, Mi 742, Sc 491.







Catherine of Siena with her secretary Stefano de Corrado
Maconi (c 1350-1424).

 She said: Dopo la tempesta il Signore darà il sereno.

 After heavy weather, the Lord will give clarity.


Italy 1948, Mi 743, Sc 492.





Catherine with Cross.


Italy 1948, Mi 744, Sc C127.







Catherine of Siena,  patron of Italy.


Italy 1948, Mi 745, Sc C128.








Relics of Caterine of Siena



The tomb of Catherine of Siena in the Dominican church Maria sopra Minerva in Rome
by Isaia da Pisa.




Catherine's feet is as relic preserved in the Dominican church
of Giovnni e Paolo (Zanipoli) in Venice.


Burundi 1971, Mi 822, Sc B24.






Reliquary of Catherine of Siena

Catherine of Siena died in Rome, Sunday afternoon 29 April 1380, and
is buried in the church Santa Maria sopra Minerva of the Dominican
priory in Rome. The people of Siena want to have a relict of Catherine
and so her head was taken  to the church of San Diomenico in Siena
on 5 Mai 1284. Her mother Lappa, 94 years old, was presented! 

Reliquary in the church of San Domenico in Siena, Italy.


Italy 1980, Mi 1688, Scott 1397.

Postmark Siena, 29.04.1980 with the text: VI centenario morte S.Caterina.



Catherine of Siena.

Through the prayers and efforts of Catherine of Siena
pope Gregory XI returned
from Avignon to Rome in 1376.


Vatican City 1974, Kimcover 504.







Pope John Paul II visited Siena for the celebration
of the 6th centenary of Catherine of Siena’s dead

on 14th September 1980.


Vatican City 14.9.1980. KimCover PW 126.





Catherine of Siena with Francis of Assisi, 50-year
Saints of Italy, 1939-1989.


 Vatican City 1989. Aerogramme.








Painting by Peter Paul Rubens (1577-1640).   On order.


Sierra Leone 1988, Mi Bl 87; Sc


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