Above all, Catherine struggled for peace. She was convinced that `not by the sword or by war or by violence’ could good be achieved, but `through peace and through constant humble prayer’. Yet she never sacrificed truth or justice for a cheap or easy peace. She reminded the rulers of Bologna that to seek peace without justice was like smearing ointment on a wound that needed to be cauterized. She knew that to be a peacemaker was to follow the steps of Christ, who made peace between God and humanity. And thus the peacemaker must sometimes face Christ’s own fate, and suffer rejection. The peacemaker is `another Christ crucified’. Our own world is also torn by violence: ethnic and tribal violence in Africa and the Balkans; the threat of nuclear war; violence in our cities and families. Catherine invites us to have the courage to be peacemakers, even if this means that we must suffer persecution and rejection ourselves.
Timothy Radcliffe: St Catherine of Siena (1347-1380) Patroness of Europe, A letter to the Dominican Order, published April 2000 to celebrate the naming of St Catherine of Siena as one of the Patrons of Europe.