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  • Writer's pictureKatie Davis-Crowder

Drawn by Love to Love

Looking back on my earliest school years, I recall well a few bouts of serious separation anxiety. Despite my love of learning and my friends at school, change—and all the big feelings that came with it—often overwhelmed me. When it was time to start first grade at my new Catholic grade school, the existential angst of my just-turned-six-year-old self led to some pretty rough weekday mornings for me and my parents. I’m sorry, you expect me to do this whole “be a little human in the big world” thing every day? What about all I love here at home? I couldn’t possibly. I cried. Hard. Pretty much every day.

By mid-autumn, thankfully, I began to get into the swing of things. And eventually, the mostly joyful school days outweighed the mostly tough ones. Perhaps love lives here too, even when life gives us good reasons to cry. Though I’m sure my comfort must have developed gradually, I recall one particular day when the love I felt at home felt close at school too. November 1, 1993: All Saints Day.

Clad in the pink base layer of my Glinda Halloween costume, a white makeshift veil, and a set of rosaries that had belonged to my dad’s dad, I was in-character and fully memorized, prepared to bring the house down (and by “the house”, I mean the parents who could get time off work to sit in the pews at my beloved parish church). In fact, my lines became so ingrained in my memory that I recall them to this day.

I am St. Catherine of Siena.

God appeared to me when I was a little girl and showed me His Sacred Heart. I told the Pope to move to Rome, and he listened to me.

I always did what Jesus wanted and what would please God.

Thank you, God, for giving heaven to me.


Little did I know then what the Church, Catholic education, and this incredible woman would come to mean to me over the next thirty years. It feels fitting to mark my introduction to Catherine as a moment of growing awareness of God’s love—not only with my family, but out in the world, at school, and even as a “special something” going on between me and God deep within, even if I didn’t have words for it yet.

Catherine of Siena was a laywoman, a mystic, a minister, an international political figure, and a spiritual director, and she remains a Doctor of the Church and a Catholic feminist icon. I highly recommend her Dialogues (though if masculine language is tough for you, take care). Revisiting her writings at 35, I feel compelled to write a new script, inspired by the original, that reflects the impact of Catherine’s legacy on me today.

I am St. Catherine of Siena.

God spoke to my soul, revealing that love of God, love of myself, and love of all people are inextricably connected.

I was drawn by Love to Love deeply, passionately, and abundantly, even with tears in my eyes.

God called me to use my voice and to speak truth to power, including Church leadership.

I experienced God’s care through all of creation, from the tiny ants and flowering trees to people who were sick and imprisoned, and I spent my life trying to do something about it.

God helped me feel in my bones that I didn’t need to choose between contemplation and action, because authentic faith requires both.

Thank you, God, for abiding with me.

May the fierce, soulful love that Catherine of Siena embodied move us today.


Katie Davis-Crowder, MDiv, is a Chicago-based teacher, spiritual director, singer, writer, and presenter rooted in the Mercy and Ignatian traditions. She is passionate about spirituality, social justice, and the arts, and loves building home with her partner Kevin and pup Smartie.

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1 Comment

Apr 29, 2023

So very glad to read your love and joy this day...I've missed this...

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