“I want to become a Saint, because I love Jesus.”
The Church was in crisis! The Good Shepherd would not leave His lambs alone to be devoured by wolves; so once again God raised up Saints and other powerful men and women to save His Church.
In the Fourteenth Century, God wanted the Papacy to return to Rome. He knew what was going to come to pass; the Papacy had to be located in the eye of the storm, to combat the forces of dissension which were bubbling beneath the surface, and those which would erupt in the Fifteenth Century and explode in the Sixteenth. God putting his chess pieces in place, raised up a woman, St. Catherine of Siena; He groomed her for her mission and when it was time, sent her to Avignon to bring the Papacy back to Rome.
But as God was maneuvering, putting His troops on the front line, the enemy, in an attempt to outmaneuver God, attacked the Church from the rear, initiating the birth of the Renaissance! The people were battle weary and Dark Ages depressed; they were ripe for anyone selling them something or someone who would bring some joy and happiness into their lives; but sadly even good things that are not holy will eventually, like a dog with a cruel master, turn on you and bite you. The Renaissance, the period of enlightenment which was to lead them out of the darkness of the Dark Ages, only led them into deeper darkness through a tunnel to hell.
In the mid 1400s Renaissance had been wildly spreading its humanistic, paganistic secularism, selling man on wanting more, but not more God, more self-gratification. God seeing His children about to be run over by trojan horses bearing poisoned sweets called forth Saints like St. Bernardine, St. John Capistrano, and others, His plan – to offset with holiness, the evil with which the devil was unscrupulously tipping the scales.
Much of Italy had been conquered by a tyrant called Visconti who was swallowing up province after province, conquering citizens and land by intimidation, crushing their spirits by bondage and servitude, enslaving them into complete subjugation by imposing the worst forms of terrifying tyranny upon them. He trampled the forces in the North, almost effortlessly. But, as he traveled southward, ready to strike the Tuscany region, Visconti found formidable fighters, free spirits, people of fire and focus who would not be enslaved! Although under the Medicis, this would not have been called a democratic form of government, it was Tuscany for and by Tuscans.
The Fifteenth Century no better than the Fourteenth, God, countering evil with good, raised up a unique Saint. Permissiveness and promiscuity were running wild like the wine and revelry of the times, God raised a Saint who will not only be a contradiction in this hedonistic society, she will gather others to follow her in her divine quest to live a life of holiness. And so through her, a new heretofore unknown charism will be born into this troubled time, through another Saint who was willing “to do the ridiculous so that God would be moved to do the miraculous.”
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