Our History

1912: the beginning

In 1912 a church and rectory were started on the lots purchased at west 42nd and Federal Boulevard.

 

1915: the dedication

Old Saint Catherine of Siena’s Church was dedicated on February, 21, 1915.

 

1921: the School’s first classes

The basement of the Church was converted into classrooms. On September 6, 1921, Saint Catherine’s School held its first sessions. Three Sisters of St. Joseph from St. Patrick’s Convent did the teaching.

 

1927: the Convent

On New Year’s Day 1927 the Convent was opened with six Sisters.

 

1928: the School building

In 1923 work was begun on the present gymnasium which, when finished, served as a school building until the now existing school was finished in 1928.

 

1951 – 1963: new Church and decoration

The actual Church, from 1951-1952, was decorated in 1963 in Medieval Florentine style. Gold dominant design with over 100,000 feet of gold leaf rolls was used.

Saint Catherine of Siena

St Catherine of Siena (1347-1380) lived during a troubled period in the life of the Church and throughout the social context of Italy and Europe.

When Catherine was 16 years old, motivated by a vision of St. Dominic, she entered the Third Order of the Dominicans. While living at home, she confirmed her vow of virginity made privately when she was still an adolescent and dedicated herself to prayer, penance and works of charity, especially for the benefit of the sick.

When the fame of her holiness spread, she became the protagonist of an intense activity of spiritual guidance for people from every walk of life: nobles and politicians, artists and ordinary people, consecrated men and women and religious, including Pope Gregory XI who was living at Avignon in that period and whom she energetically and effectively urged to return to Rome. She travelled widely to press for the internal reform of the Church and to foster peace among the States.

She was canonized in 1461. Her teaching is endowed with such excellence that in 1970 the pope Paul VI declared her a Doctor of the Church, a title that was added to those of Co-Patroness of the City of Rome — at the wish pope Pius IX — and of Patroness of Italy — in accordance with the decision of Venerable Pius XII.

Like the Sienese Saint, every believer feels the need to be conformed with the sentiments of the heart of Christ to love God and his neighbor as Christ himself loves. And we can all let our hearts be transformed and learn to love like Christ in a familiarity with him that is nourished by prayer, by meditation on the Word of God and by the sacraments, above all by receiving Holy Communion frequently and with devotion. Catherine also belongs to the throng of Saints devoted to the Eucharist.

Despite her awareness of the human shortcomings of priests, Catherine always felt very great reverence for them: through the sacraments and the word they dispense the saving power of Christ’s Blood. The Sienese Saint always invited the sacred ministers, including the Pope whom she called “sweet Christ on earth”, to be faithful to their responsibilities, motivated always and only by her profound and constant love of the Church.

She said before she died: “in leaving my body, truly I have consumed and given my life in the Church and for the Holy Church, which is for me a most unique grace”. Let us learn from St Catherine to love Christ and the Church with courage, intensely and sincerely.

 

Pope Benedict XVI, November 24, 2010