Book Prep: St. Catherine Setting the World on Fire

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As I began mapping the women that I wanted to study and the places they would lead me, I wanted to not only know the ‘noble’ women in history and their accomplishments, but I wanted to be honest and sure in knowing their complications. If we don’t know their complications, we don’t know their humanity, and we completely miss the point.

St. Catherine, y’all.

She’s one of two patron saints of Italy, along with St. Francis of Assisi; one of six patron saints of Europe; and one of only four female Doctors of the Church. Most of what we know about her comes to us through the writings of Raymond of Capua, a close friend and spiritual director of St. Catherine who published her biography after her death.

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Book Prep: The Lost Apostle & Church Grandmothers


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Around a year ago, I found a list on the Internet (hooray internet!) of every woman listed in the New Testament- named and unnamed, many of which I had never heard stories of as I grew up. With friends and later with a former student, we began to sift through these women and their stories, beginning with the genealogy of Christ at the start of Matthew: Tamar, Rahab, Ruth, Bathsheba, and Mary. We researched these grandmothers of Jesus and learned their stories, discussed why their names were included when every other genealogy lists only men. We talked about their seemingly sordid history that we often see as 21st century Americans, and found instead women with courage in circumstances they could not control, women who grew and reached for a larger vision of the world.

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For my six followers:

Dear my mother, my aunt, Sarah’s mom, and the three random Swedes that will find this site and follow it:

Here it is, a special site for all of the preparation, duration, and aftermath of this monster trip that I am so fortunate to take! Feel free to subscribe to learn more about the women I’ll be studying, the books informing this journey, the photos/stories I’ll collect, and the various versions of “Landslide” I’ll listen to along the way.

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