Christopher Check – Catholic Answers Article –
A version of St. Catherine’s life might go something like this: At seven years of age a girl determines never to marry. At age twelve, she is pressured by her parents to submit to an arranged marriage so she defiantly cuts off her hair and neglects her appearance.
Later, the young woman develops quite a following in her town. Men and women alike seek her counsel. Soon she is bringing influence to bear in political circles unknown to women. She arbitrates family feuds. She brokers peace within and between the city-states of Tuscany. Bankers, generals, princes, dukes, kings, and queens, as well as scholars and abbots, seek her counsel. Her admonitions inspire the pope to restore the papacy to Rome. She writes one of the greatest works of medieval literature. She accomplishes all of this in 33 years.
When, six centuries later, she is at last declared a Doctor of the Catholic Church, she is only the second woman at the time to receive the honor. A real glass-ceiling breaker, Catherine made it big in a man’s world.
In marked contrast, St. Catherine never understood herself as a pioneer for women’s rights, much less a model for narcissistic self-fulfillment. On the contrary, she put into practice the truth her holy Bridegroom revealed to her early in her mystical life: “I am that which is; you are that which is not.”