I'd like to think the first time I encountered St. Catherine of Siena was in fact in Siena, Italy. I was about 11 or 12, standing in a piazza with my family, and some eerie feeling came over me. I can't really put words to the feeling, but I knew that something special had happened there, or something special was happening there. On our tour of the city, the guide mentioned St. Catherine's name, but nothing really came of it beyond a passing acknowledgment.
I have also shown you how pleasing and dear to me such a soul is, and how I provide for her. I have told you all this to commend this virtue to you along with the most holy faith that brings one to this marvelous state. I wanted to make you grow in faith and in hope, to make you come knocking at the door of my mercy. Believe with lively faith that I will fulfill your longing and that of all of my servants, along with great suffering even to the point of death. But take courage and rejoice in me, because I am your defender and your consoler.