• Catherine of Siena

  • By: Sigrid Undset
  • Narrated by: Sydney Penny
  • Length: 11 hrs and 49 mins
  • 4.8 out of 5 stars (84 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Sigrid Undset's Catherine of Siena is critically acclaimed as one of the best biographies of this well-known and amazing 14th-century saint. Known for her historical fiction, which won her the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1928, Undset based this factual work on primary sources, her own experiences living in Italy, and her profound understanding of the human heart.

One of the greatest novelists of the 20th century, Undset was no stranger to hagiography. Her meticulous research of medieval times, which bore such fruit in her multi-volume masterpieces Kristin Lavransdatter and The Master of Hestviken, acquainted her with some of the holy men and women produced by the Age of Faith. Their exemplary lives left a deep impression upon the author, an impression Undset credited as one of her reasons for entering the Church in 1924.

Catherine of Siena was a particular favorite of Undset, who also was a Third Order Dominican. An extraordinarily active, intelligent, and courageous woman, Catherine at an early age devoted herself to the love of God. The intensity of her prayer, sacrifice, and service to the poor won her a reputation for holiness and wisdom, and she was called upon to make peace between warring nobles. Believing that peace in Italy could be achieved only if the Pope, then living in France, returned to Rome, Catherine boldly traveled to Avignon to meet with Pope Gregory XI.

With sensitivity to the zealous love of God and man that permeated the life of Saint Catherine, Undset presents a most moving and memorable portrait of one of the greatest women of all time.

©2009 Ignatius Press (P)2019 Ignatius Press

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What listeners say about Catherine of Siena

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Must read for all Christians

This book displays beautiful insights into Scripture and God’s action here on earth. Will reaffirm Catholics in their beliefs and will show non-Catholic Christians how much they are missing in their disunion with the Bride of Christ.

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Enriching

Would definitely recommend this book. Fantastically documented, with sources listed throughout. I might actually grab a physical copy just to flip back through it

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well researchers and well written. inspiring.

good female voice. enjoyed the book and heard it in a short period of time






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Stunning story, presented well, life changing

Thank you — a beautiful presentation of the life of Catherine of Siena; a doctor of the Church. I’m forever appreciative of Undset’s writing and Ms Sydney’s inspired narration.

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A Splendid Production

Anyone interested in St Catherine, the Avignon papacy, history of the Middle Ages or fantastic writing will thoroughly enjoy Sigrid Undset's masterful biography of the inspiring, fascinating and haunting saint and her community. This kind goes without saying. It's rare, though,that the narrator is equal to a work this grand. Penny's work here is absolutely superb. Even on the chapter I found myself "speeding through" to finish during my commute (1.25), the reading was perfect for entertainment and comprehension. Among the best audiobooks I've had the pleasure to listen to, cannot recommend highly enough.

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Good listening for times of crisis

A very good historical account if a difficult and tumultuous time. Very inspiring and challenging.

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Inspirational

Reading this biography not only taught me a lot about St. Catherine but it made we want to be a better person.

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The great Unset teaches the great Saint Catherine

One of the world’s greatest writers shows her skill as a spiritual theologian. Undset’s prose does justice to Catherine’s sanctity. A rare combination in all literature. Perhaps only the Seraphic Doctor, St. Bonaventure, writing about our Seraphic Patriarch, St. Francis, surpasses this masterpiece.

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Appalling....

I have no fault with the author - she is one of my favorites - or the narrator.... but the biography itself is appalling. I would consider myself deeply Christian but found the portrait created of this woman to be unrealistic, filled with cold, inhuman piety, to have no relation to true human feelings and struggles. It portrayed a distorted person who seems to me to be not saintly, but truly mentally ill with the early and consuming need to punish herself with sleep deprivation, lack of food, physical punishment. I know many will disagree with me, but this image of what God or the church admires and loves is deeply disturbing to me.

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Excellent!

Enjoyed the author's telling of Catherine's story!
As well as the narrator, even though her voice seemed like that of a little girl when she was quoting Catherine; nevertheless, overall it was a good narration.

Having taken a graduate course on Catherine of Siena, I listened carefully to see if the author covered all the basic important points of her life - which was done! I also liked the coverage of Raymond of Capua who I think was a vital human link in Catherine's life - he was the great man behind this great woman giving her essential guidance, support, and protection.

Given the situation of our world with its problems & challenges in this 2nd decade of the 2nd millennium, I wonder what comparisons the author would make now. Obviously, and justifiably, two world wars had had a tremendous impact on the author's reflections.

May the good God give us another person with the qualities of a St Catherine of Siena for our world today.

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