Setting the World on Fire

Shelley Emling. St. Martin's Press, $26.99 (256p) ISBN 978-1-137-27980-4
In this insightful biography, Huffington Post senior editor Emling (Marie Curie and Her Daughters) explores the humble powerhouse St. Catherine of Sienna. This daughter of a dyer, now one of two patron saints of Italy, was a study in contradictions. Though illiterate, she would become a respected writer. Though modest in appearance and frail, she was called on by kings, queens, and popes for guidance and for her influence among the people. Catherine's life in 14th-century Europe was filled with war and heavily influenced by the specter of the plague. Emling details Catherine's defiance of her parents' wish that she marry, her various mystical visions and experiences, her obsession with Christ's suffering and blood, her frankness with political and spiritual leaders who sought her out, and her campaign to unite Christians while calling for a holy crusade against Muslims. While at times the historical background can feel a bit long, Emling's portrait of St. Catherine's brief life and its tremendous influence in Italy and around the world is engaging and enlightening. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 03/14/2016
Release date: 04/05/2016
Genre: Religion
Ebook - 978-1-4668-7919-5
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