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tercourse with others ; and she had
already brought about some very won-
derful conversions, of which Fr. Ray-
mond has given us an account. She
had in several cases been successful
in obtaining reconciliations between
families hostile to one another through
the hereditary feuds and traditions of
revenge which have always had so
baneful an effect on Italian society;
but it does not appear that she had
had any personal intei'course with
Urban Y., or any of the great prelates
or princes of the time ; and perhaps
her fame had not travelled far beyond
the frontiers of Tuscany. Giacomo
Orsini, who passed through Siena in
the year following the deaUi of Urban
to receive the dignity of cardinal from
Gregory XI., may have made her ac-
quaintance in her native town, and
carried the report of her wonderful
sanctity to the court of Avignon. The
next year, 1872, we find her already
in correspondence with important per-
sons. War had agam broken out be-
tween the Holy See and the restless
Bamabo Visconti. Bamabo had
usurped the dominion of Beggio, a fief
of the Church, and had proceeded to
other excesses, such as to force Greg-
ory XI. to excommunicate him in



does not Beom to as to use the letters as they
mi«tat hATe been used. M. Ohristophe, in his
^BUtoirede la PapatUe pendant 1$ XlVeSilcU:'
fliUs entirely in giving eafflclent importance to
the sain t There la agood Itellan "Sioria di Sta.
Oatarina da Siena^** by Fr. Oapecelatro. an Ora-
torian, publlehud a few years ago, in which mnch
vae ie made of the admirable notes of Fr. Bar-
•macchl to QlgU*^ edition of the letters.



1371. War was now declared ; but
it was at first favorable to the Milan*
ese tyrant. A league was then organ-
ized against him, in which the emper^
or, the King of Hungary, and the
Count of Savoy took part. John
Hawkwood, moreover, with his fisi-
mous English lances, was engaged on
the Pontifical side. The success was
now chiefly on the side of the league,
and Visconti once more betook him-
himself to intrigues and negotiations
at Avignon, where he obtained a trace
in 1374. We find St. Catharine writ-
ing, in* 1372, to two great French pre-
lates, the Cardinal Pierre d'Estaing^
who had just been appointed legate at
Bologna ; and the Abbot of Marmon-
tier, a relation of the Pope, who was
sent at the same time to govern Pera-
gia and discharge the office of nuncio
in Tuscany. Her letters to the cardi-
^nal seem to show that she was already
known to him. The first contains lit-
tle but spiritual exhortation, though
there is a hint at l^e end to the saints
favorite subject at this time, the cru-
sade against the infidels. In the seo
ond she speaks strongly for peace
among Christians. The letter to the
abbot — ^who afterward became a cardi-
nal, and died on the schismadcal side
— ^is evidently an answer to a letter
from him, asking advice for himself
and also for the Pope. St. Catharine
urges him to prevail on the Holy Father
to put down the nepotism that pre-
vailed among high ecclesiastics, to
discourage the luxurious worldliness
of the prelates, and to choose good
and virtuous men as cardinals. A
little later we find her writing to the
truculent Bamabo himself, the man
who made papal legates eat the mis*
sives of excommunicatio]i which they
were charged to deliver to him — ^who
declared that he was Pope in his own
dominions, and dressed up a mad >
priest in mock vestments to excommu-
nicate the Pope in return, and made
the monasteries under his rule take
charge of his hounds. This letter, ^
again, was in answer to a message
brought to Siena from Bamabo by



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551



one of his servants. Catharine sets
before him the crime he has been
guilty of in going to war with the
Pope, and exhorts him to make
amends for it bj taking part in the
crdsade. The letter seems to have
been written afler the peace granted
to Visconti in 1374. The^ame date,
or perhaps an earlier one, seems to
belong to a long letter of the saint to
Beatrice della Scala, the wife of Bar-
nabo, in which that ladj is urged to
become more religious herself, and
thus to inflaence her liusband, espe-
cially to peace and obedience toward
the Holy Father. This letter, also, is
in answer to a message.

Catharine's life became still more
actiye than before about this time.
She was sent for to Florence by the
general of her order, and seems to have
gone about to several other cities, such
as Pisa and Lucca, and to have ex-
ercised great influence everywhere.
Her presence had before this begun to
attract crowds wherever she went:
they came to speak to her, to consult
her about the affairs of their souls or
their family troubles ; and her burn-
ing words wrought numberless con-
versions. The B. Raymond, speak-
ing of this part of her life, teUs us in
his simple way, '< If all the limbs of
my. body were turned into so many
tongues, they would not be enough to
relate the fruit of souls which this vir-
gin plant, that the heavenly Father
hath planted, did produce. I have
sometimes seen a ihousand persons or
more, men and women, come at the
same time, as if drawn by the sound
of some unseen trumpet, from the
mountains or from the villages in the
territory of Siena, to see or to hear
Catharine. These persons — I don't
say at her words, but even at the mere
sight of her — were suddenly struck
with compunction for their misdeeds,
bewailed their sins, and ran to the con-
fessors, of whom I was one; and so
great was the contrition with which
they made their confessions, that na
one could doubt that a great abundance
of grace had descended from heaven



upon their hearts. This happened
not once or twice only, but very often.
For this reason Pope Gregory XI., of
happy memory, who was both con-
soled and rejoiced at this great fruit in
souls, granted letters apostolic to me
and to my two companions, giving us
power to absolve all those who came
to see Catharine and to confess their
sins, in all the cases for which the
bishops of the dioceses had faculties.
And that truth, that neither deceives
nor can be deceived, knows well that
many came to find us out whowete
laden with great sins, and who had
never before made confession, or never
received as it ought to be received the
sacrament of penance. We — ^that is,
my companions and myself— often re-
mained fasting till evening, and were
too few to hear all those who wished
to confess ; and indeed, to declare my
own imperfection, and the influence of
this holy virgin, so great was the
throng of people wishmg to confess
that many times I found myself quite
worn out and wearied by the excess
of fatigue. But Catharine went on
praying incessantly; and when the
holy prey was won, she rejoiced fully
in the Lord, as one who had won a
victory, ordering her other sons and
daughters to wait upon us, who were
tending the nets that she had spread.
No pen can express the abundance of
the joy in her mind, nor even the signs
of gladness that she gave, which in-
deed gave us so much internal de-
light as to make us forget the recol-
lection of any sadness whatever we
had to undergo." *

Gregory XI. seems before his elec-
tion to have been well acquainted with
St. Bridget, for he was the cardinal
through whom she had wished to com-
municate to Urban V. the message
that she had received to deliver to
him. He kept up a correspondence
with her as long as she lived, and re-
ceived some tremendous warnings
from her about the return cf the Holy
See to Bome. At the time of which

* Legmkda^ li. ch., 7.



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PuiHc Life of Sl Catharine of Siena.



we axe speaking, 1374, in the fifth
year of his reign, he sent SL Bridg-
et's confessor to Catharine to recom-
mend himself to her prayers. This
may have been the opening of the in-
tercoarse between them. Of the four-
teen letters to Gregory that remain to
us, none seem to bear an earlier date
than 1376.* It does not appear cer-
tain, therefore, whether she had any
direct influence upon the Pope's de-
sire to set on foot a new crusade, which
he urged on with much vigor about
the time of the peace granted to Yis-
conti. But it was one of St. Catha-
rine's thi*ee darling projects ; thd other
two being the reform of the prelacy
ftnd the restoration of the papacy to
Rome. The fact that her confessor
and friend, Fr. Raymond, was appoint-
ed to preach the crusade seems to im-
ply that she had been in conununica-
tion with Gregory upon the subject.
We have already said that she pix>-
posed to Bamabo himself to take the
cross. The idea of sending all the
turbulent spirits in Europe to fight
against the Turks was not a new one ;
Urban V. had proposed it to the
^ companies" who ravaged France and
even insulted him by exacting a ran-
som for Avignon ; but the freebooters
naturally preferred the less dangerous,
though less glorious, life that they
were living in France* They were at
last persuaded to enlist against Peter
the CrueL In St. Catharine's time
there was a proposal of the same kind,
with regard to the ^' bands" in Italy,
whom we shall presently see the
instruments of the greatest possible
miBchief to that unhappy country.
We have a letter from her to Sir John
Hawkwood, from which it appears



Fonr of these letters (7-10) were written
vhUe Catharine was at Avignon, and were only
to be found in Latin amone the papers of B.
Raymond, who wae, it appears, interpreter be-
tween tlib saint and the Pope, who did not qq-
derstand her Tnscan dialecL M. Chavin de
Jialan (11^ 880) conjectures that the first three of
them may be sammaries of oonversatkms ihat
paased at ATignon. taken down afterward by
B. Raymond. Bat internal evidence is aealDst
this BQppositlon ; and it is not at all unlikely, as
the oppoRition to her inflacDce was so strong,
that the Pope preferred that she should oommu-
nicate with him by letter.



that he and his followers had actuaUj
^i^g&ged to sei've in the crusade.
Other letters on the subject of the
same expedition show that she was
now in a position to address herself
with effect to the sovereigns of great
states. She writes at this time to
Queen Jos^na of Naples, and to the
queen-mother of Hungary, in hopes
of her assistance in persuading her
son. King Louis. But if the peace
with Bamabo had made the crusade
once more possible, fresh troubles
soon ensued in Italy which prevented
it, and which occasioned the still
greater prominence of St. Catharine
' as an earnest advocate of peace.

The disturbances were not, this
time, the work of the ViscoiUL Bar-
nabo turned them to his own advan-
tage, but he was not their author.
Historians concur in attributing a
feeling of general discontent with the
internal administration and external
policy of the pontifical government in
Italy to the conduct of the^rench le-
gates. We find very strong charges
against them; for example, in th&
chronicle of St. Antoninus, written in
the following century ; but it may be
questioned whether he did more than
repeat what he found in other Floren-
tine writers; and, in this case, the
testimony of a Florentine is hardlj to
be admitted without suspicion. But
it is very hkely that many of the
charges of tyranny, ambition, extor-
tion, and luxury are not unfounded.
Still, the internal administration of the
States of the Church had been settled
by Albomoz, and his system might
have carried the government through
without an outbr^dL, even under the
trial of administrators quite unworthy
to succeed him. had it not been for
the suspicions that arose, in cities ex-
ternal to the pontifical territory, that
its governors aimed at the subjugation
of their neighbors. It thus seemed to
become their interest not only to de-
fend themselves, but to anticipate the
danger by raising revolts in the States
of the Church. It is quite clear that
Gregory XI. had no such design him*



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Belf, and that he would not have toler-
ated it in his subordinates. Neither
are the acts of the latter such as can-
not be explained on other grounds.
But what is clear to us at a distance
was not necessarilj so dear to the
contemporaries of St. Catharine. Cer-
tain measures of the legate at Bolog-
na, and of the governor of Perugia,
had an unfor unate look. In the first
place, it seems that the diplomacy of
that time did not insist, in the case of
a confederacy of a number of powers
against a common enemy, that peace
should not be made by one member of
the league without the consent of the
remainder. The peace with Bamabo
had been made, it appears, without the
concurrence of Florence, Pisa, Siena,
and the other allies of the Pope. An-
other cause of soreness was a measure
adopted about the same time by the
Cardinal Legate of Bologna, which
pressed hardly upon Tuscany. The
last two years had been yeara of great
scarcity in that part of Italy, and he
now forbade the exportation of grain
from the Legation. He was no doubt
afraid of relieving his neighbors at the
risk of suffering himself. But there
was more to come. Sir John Hawk-
wood and his followers had to be dis-
charged on account of the peace;
they were no sooner dismissed than
they invaded the Florentine territory,
attempted to make themselves masters
o^ Prato, and ravaged the country up
- to the gates of Florence itself. Thus
soldiers, only a few days before in the
pay of the Holy See, were attacking
one of its allies with fire and sword.
It looked very like an attempt to en-
slave Tuscany. At the same time
Siena had a complaint of the same
sort against the abbot of Montmajor
at Perugia. The powerful family of
the Salimbeni were at that time in
exile from Siena, the last revolution
of which city had put the supreme
power' into Uie hands of the popular
party. The pontifical governor of
Perugia leagued himself with the ex-
iles, and thus appeared to be aiming at
the destruction of the liberties of Siena.



Sr^o omnis fariie eurrexit Etruria
jusHs, Nothing had indeed been done
which did not admit of explanation ;
And, if his legates had really been
guilty of aggression, Gregory XI.
could, have readily disavowed them.
Indeed, he ordered the edict against
the exportation of grain from the Ro-
magna to be revoked ; in which, how-
ever, the cardinal at Bologna refused
to obey him. But this conciliatory
order came too late. Under such pro-
vocation men, and especially Italians,
would not wait for explanations.
They were jealous of their liberties,
and they hated the idea of foreign
domination ; the representatives of
the pontifical government at the time
were foreigners to them, and seemed
to be seeking to enslave them. Flor-
ence flew to arms : she had been long
devoted to the Holy See ; now she
gave herself over to the rule of the
faction within her, who had ever been
the minority, because they were the
enemies of the Pope ; and these men,
feeling themselves still in reality the
weaker party, lost no time in plunging
into the most frantic excesses, that
they might alienate their country from
the Holy Father beyond hope of recon-
ciliation, and wreak their own ven-
geance on their personal enemies so
fully as to leave them no chance of
again recovering their power. Hawk-
wood was soon disposed of; he was
bought off for a large sum. The move-
ment in Florence became a revolution,
with all its accompaniments of blood,
spoliation, and terror. The inquisitors
were massacred, the prisons destroy-
ed ; the prior of the Carthusians, who
presented himself as papal envoy
with overtures of reconciliation, was
torn to pieces, and his flesh thrown to
the dogs. The clergy were with-
drawn from the jurisdiction of the
Pope ; the nomination of benefices
assumed by the magistrates of the re-
public. These, however, were all
changed ; a committee of eight, a sort
of Comite du Salut Publlque — called,
in derision, the Eight Saints — seized
the helm of government; it was a



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Puilic Life of Si. CcUharine of Siena.



complete reign of terror. Bat thej
were not content with turning Florence
against the Pope ; thej sent envoys
throughout the whole of Tuscany and
Umbria, inyiting all the- cities to join
in league against the pontifical gor-
emment, and bearing with them red
banners inscribed with the word " Lib-
ertas." The conduct of the French
governors had but too well prepared
die subjects of the Pope for these in-
vitations. Citta di Castello led the
way ; Perugia, Nami, Viterbo, Mon-
tefiascone followed ; before the end of
1375 nearly the whole of the pontifical
territory, ibi^ Patrimony, the Duchy
of Spoleto, and the March of Ancona,
were in open revolt All that Albor^
noz had done for the Holy See seem-
ed to have been done in vain. Bolog-
na, almost alone, remained faithful;
but even there the government of the
legate was very insecure.

It was felt at Avignon that some-
thing was now to be dealt with very
different even from a war against the
Visoonti. Some " companies" of Bre-
tons were then ravaging or ransom-
ing cities in the south of France, un-
der two famous captains of the day,
Jean de Malestroit and SUvestre de
Bade; they were enlisted under the
flag of the Church, and prepared to
descend on Italy. But Gregory XL
determined to try the method of con-
ciliation before letting them loose.
He sent envoys to Florence, who of-
fered terms to which" no prudent per-
son could make objection. Perugia
and Citta di Castello were to be fi^e,
but the Florentines were to cease in
their revolutionary propaganda in the
States of the Church, and particularly
in Bologna. The " eight saints** had
all that was reasonable and good in
Florence against them, and they dared
not openly refuse to entertain terms
such as these. But they sent secret
instructions to their commander in the
field while the negotiations were being
carried on ; he marched on Bologna,
raised the people in revolt, and made
the legate a prisoner. They succeed-
ed in their ulterior object: the Papal



envoys left Florence without conclud-
ing any peace.*

After this fresh provocation, noth*
ing remained for the Pope but to at-
tack the Florentines with every weap*
on at his disposal. The Breton com-
panies were ordered to march, under
the general command of the Cardinal
Robert of Geneva, a man, it seems,
with more of the soldier than the
priest about him, who was to be, with-
in three years from the time that he
began his expedition, the first of the
miserable line of Antipopes who op-
posed themselves to the legitimate
successors of Gregory XL His pres-
ent campaign was distinguished chiefly
by two events, neither of which cast
credit on the pontifical cause : a treaty
he made with Visconti (who had be-
fore allied himself with the Floren-
tines), by which the Guelfic party in
the nordi of Italy were sacrificed to
the enmity of the tyrant ; and the aw-
ful sack and massacre of Cesena by
the Breton troops. But the Pope
used spiritual weapons also against
offenders like the Florentines ; and in
their case the temporal consequences
of the solemn excommunication under
which they fell made themselves fi&r
more swiftly and keenly felt than in
that of a great seigneur like Bamabo.
Their merchants and agents were in
every country of Europe : the sentence
of the Pope exposed them everywhere
to confiscation, imprisonment, and
slavery ; their commerce was rained,
and it is said that the immediate loss
to the city amounted to three million
florins. At all events, early in the
year 1376, and but a few weeks aft«r
they had chosen not to avail them-
selves of the moderate overtures made
by the Papal envoys, the Florentines
began to desire peace. It is probable
that there had always been but a nar-
row majority in favor of the violent
measures of which we have spoken ;
now, the great misfortunes of the state
made even its revolutionary rulers
look about them for a mediator, for
their first attempt at negotiation had
proved a failure. They had sent two



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555



ambassadors to Avignon ; but instead
of apologising for their undeniable ag^
gressions, they laid all the blame on
the pontifical delegates, and were dis-
missed by Gregory with a confirma-
tion o£ their sentence. A mediator,
therefore, was necessary ; and instead
of asking the kind offices of the emper-
or, or the king of France, or some
other of the sovereigns of £arope,
thej determined to seek the help of
Catharine of Siena.

Catharine had bsen in the midst of
the tnmult, doing what she could to
maintain peace. It seems that
Oregory XL had begged her to go to
Lucca, where she was held in great
veneration, to keep that city from
pining the league against the Church.
She had also exerted her influence at
Pisa, and seems lo have susoeedad in
both places, though with soms diffi-
culty. From Pisa she wrote the first
of her series of letters to the Pope.
She was still there when the magis-
trates of Florence invited her to un-
dertake their cause. She visited the
city, conversed with the principal men
of all parties, and it was agreed that
they should send another and a hum-
bler embassy to Avignon, on condition
that she should precede the envoys,
and endeavor to soften the heart of
the Holy Father toward his rebel-
lious children. She was already
sending letters to Avignon imploring
peace, and urging the Pope to return
to Rome, and to raise the standard of
the crusaders, in order to unite all
discordant elements by directing them
to a common object. She had sent
her mp^t intimate confidant and con-
fessor, Father Raymond, to plead the
cause of the Florentines ; and soon
followed him herself, accompanied by
a number of her « disciples," arriving
at Avignon about the middle of June,
1376.

As is so often the case in the lives
of the chosen instruments of Provi-
dence, Catharine was to do a great
work at Avignon, but not the work
for which she apparently went there.
She was received by the Pope with



the greatest kindness and distinction;
she was even intrusted by him with
full powers to make peace with the
Fiorantines. But Gregory XL. knew
the men with whom he was dealing
better than she. The government of
Florence was still in the hands of the
eight; they did not really desire
peace, at least on any terms that the
Pope could grant them. They had
yielded to the vast majority of their
fellow-citizens in seeming to wish for
wha!; would be in reality the end of
their own power. The envoys
delayed their journey to Avignon:
when thsy did arrive, and Catharine
proposed to use the full powers the
Pops had given her, they replied that
they had no authority to treat with
her; nor ware thay more honest in
their de^lin^s with the Pope himself.
The timd, then, for the particular task
that Catharine had undertaken was
not yet eome ; but she was at Avignon
now, at the side of Gregory XI., and
she was to decide him to a step far
more important than the granting a
peace to Florence.

The character of Gregory XL is so
constantly represented in the same
colors by historians of every grade,
that it would seem almost rash to sup-
pose that they could all have been
mistaken in the picture. It has a
softness and beauty about it that are
extremely touching, when viewed in
the light of his many misfortunes and
early death, overshadowed as it was
by the threats of the still greater
troubles from which it saved him.
He had been marked out for high
ecclesiastical dignity from the very
first, and was but eighteen when his
uncle, Clement VL, made him car-
dinal. His career after his elevation
justified his premature advancement;
he made himself famous for learning,
and even more so for his tender piety
and the unsullied purity of his lifo.
His humility and sweetness won all
hearts : perhaps the more because his
frail health, his pale countenance, and
evident delicacy of constitution, gave
a kind of plaintive charm to his very



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PMic Life of St. Oatharine of Siena.



appearance. Though he was barelj
fortj jears of age at the death of
Urban V., he had been elected Pope
after the conclave had lasted but a
single night. He had refused at first,
but at last had been forced to accept
the crown of Sl Peter as a matter of
dutj. He was then onlj in deacon's
orders. No one has ever questioned
the puritj of his alms, or even the



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