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St Catherine of Siena was acclaimed a person of holiness and virtue. She was made a saint in 1460.
St Catherine died of a stroke in Rome, the spring of 1380, at the age of thirty-three. The people of Siena wished to have her body. A story is told of a miracle whereby they were partially successful: Knowing that they could not smuggle her whole body out of Rome, they decided to take only her head which they placed in a bag. When stopped by the Roman guards, they prayed to St Catherine to help them, confident that she would rather have her body (or at least part thereof) in Siena. When they opened the bag to show the guards, it appeared no longer to hold her head but to be full of rose petals. Once they got back to Siena they reopened the bag and her head was visible once more. Due to this story, St Catherine is often seen holding a rose.
On 5 May 1940 Pope Pius XII named her a joint Patron Saint of Italy along with Saint Francis of Assisi. Pope Paul VI gave her the title of Doctor of the Church in 1970 along with Saint Teresa of Ávila making them the first women to receive this honour. In 1999, Pope John Paul II made her one of Europe's patron saints. She is also the patroness of the historically Catholic American sorority, Theta Phi Alpha.
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