St Catherine of Siena Quotes That Will Set You on Fire


St Catherine of Siena quotes abound, but why is she so admired?

St Catherine of Siena was a Lay (Third-Order Dominican) who took the world by storm in the 14th century.

Born during the century of the black death, she is known for convincing Pope Gregory XI, the last Avignon Pope, to return to Rome, but she is mostly known for her mystical conversations with God the Father, chronicled in the Dialogue.

If you’d like to read more about St Catherine of Siena, New Advent Encyclopedia has a pretty good entry.

She is admired by Catholics and secular people because of her combination of humility and fearlessness!

She faced fear during many of her endeavors, but she kept on going knowing that she need not fear, as long as she was doing the Will of God.

May these St Catherine of Siena quotes give you much courage!


1) “If you are what you should be, you will set the whole world on fire.”

If we had to choose one quote that St Catherine of Siena is famous for, it would be this one.

What she actually said, was “If you are what you should be, you will set all Italy ablaze (on fire).”

Somehow, that became set the “world”, which makes sense.

We live in a global world know where you can hop on a plane and visit any country. But for most people who lived in the 14th century, their world was their country, with some excursions into nearby European countries.

A Guy Named John Who Was Afraid of Leadership

John had really good leaderships skills but lacked the confidence. Whenever he was asked to take charge of something, he would try to decline. When he did accept, he did a wonderful job.

However, deep down he felt like an impostor. He was sure he was the wrong person for the job.

We have all heard of impostor syndrome, right?

However, impostor syndrome occurs when you doubt your accomplishments and are afraid of being exposed.

As John grew in humility, he realized that his confidence should not come from his own accomplishments, but from the Lord.

God is not an impostor.

And so, he humbly accepted the gifts that God gave him and set the world on fire, for the glory of God.


2) “Nothing great is ever achieved without much enduring.”

This is the motto of the Theta Phi Alpha sorority.

Why is this quote so popular?

It speaks to our reluctance of embracing the cross.

We don’t want to suffer, yet nothing worthwhile is easy.

St Peter of Damascus said,

“Patient endurance kills the despair that kills the soul; it teaches the soul to take comfort and not to grow listless in the face of its many battles and afflictions”

If everything were easy, we would all be doing the hard things.

Sometimes you are called to do something for God’s glory and it’s hard. So hard, you want to quit.

But why do you want to quit?

Have you truly discerned that you are not acting in God’s will, or do you just want things to easier?

Whenever you feel like you don’t want to go on, ask yourself, “Is it God’s will, or mine”?


3) “We’ve had enough exhortations to be silent. Cry out with a thousand tongues – I see the world is rotten because of silence.”

So, what made St Catherine say this?

Most quotes we find on the internet are usually condensed in some way.

According to Fauxtations, she said something very similar in medieval Italian, to a “great Prelate”

“Be silent no more! Cry out with one hundred thousand tongues. I see that, because of this silence, the world is in ruins, the Spouse of Christ has grown pale; the color is taken from her face because her blood has been sucked out, that is the blood of Christ, which is given as a free gift and not by right.”

Imagine if we took St Catherine’s quote of not being silent to heart?

A great virus among our bishops and clergy today is the virus of cowardice.

Even though we live in a secular, demonic world, Bishops still have tremendous, influence because the Catholic Church has 1.2 billion members worldwide.

That’s 1.2 billion members that can be energized to preach the gospel and to speak against evil.

Yet often, all we hear is silence from our Catholic leaders.

Imagine what would happen if the Bishops pushed back, instead of remaining silent.

What influence we would all have on a world living in darkness?

The problem of prelates not speaking in defense of our faith, is not new to the Church.

We should encourage our priests and bishops to speak out, according to God’s will, and reassure them that we, the laity, have their backs.


4) “The soul always fears until she arrives at true love.”

The context of this quote in the The Dialogue of St Catherine of Siena, where our Lord talks about the fear that the disciples had in the beginning:

But when My Truth returned to Me, in His humanity, Peter and the others concealed themselves in the house, awaiting the coming of the Holy Spirit, which My Truth had promised them. They remained barred in from fear, because the soul always fears until she arrives at true love.”

What is true love?

Is it love of self?

Love of self, causes us to fear.

Love of God and neighbor & love for souls emboldens us to share God’s love, no matter our internal fear.

If we trust in God, and live according to His Will for our lives, who shall we fear? What shall we fear? Our Lord says:

And fear ye not them that kill the body, and are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him that can destroy both soul and body in hell.

Matthew 10:28

5) “Love does not stay idle.”

When you love someone, you want to do anything you can to please them.

Their desires become your desires – generally.

If we truly love God, we want to do his will. What is his will? That all men should be saved. As he said to his apostles:

“… Go ye into the whole world and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved: but he that believeth not shall he condemned.

Mark 15:16-17

If we have a true love for souls, as the all the Saints did, then we cannot stay idle and remain in our comfort.

Because of love, we are compelled to preach the gospel, through our lives and our words.

In the evening of life, we will be judged on love alone.

St John of the Cross

May these quotes by St Catherine of Siena inspire all of us to do wonderful things for God’s glory.


Books on St Catherine of Siena


St Catherine of Siena Medal

You might also like “the Litany of Humility”

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