Icon of St. Catherine of Siena, Doctor of the Church

This Icon of St Catherine of Siena, Doctor of the Church draws together six ways of representing St. Catherine, depicting five aspects of her hagiography.

Starting on the viewers left, St Catherine’s right:

The crucifix with rays of light going from the wounds of Christ to the same wounds on the body of St Catherine. Among the many mystical experiences of St Catherine’s life, she received the wounds of Christ, or the Stigmata. She also holds a lily in her right-hand, a symbol of purity, St Catherine is frequently depicted simply holding a lily. She was a Third order Dominican and is depicted in the Dominican habit. The heart represents one of her mystical visions -She had a vision of her and Jesus Christ each removing their own hearts and then exchanging hearts. The ship brings together to representations that symbolize her influence and importance to the Church, both during her lifetime and after, and represents the Church. She is often depicted carrying a church building representing her importance and support of the Church, and she is depicted holding a ship with the Papal coat of arms, this represents her influence over the papacy during her time specifically that she persuaded Pope Gregory XI to return to Rome from Avignon. I’ve chosen to represent both by simply representing the ship of the Church, with the sail having a simple cross.

St Catherine, mystic, theologian, advisor, doctor of the church, stands with open arms inviting the viewer to enter the life of the Church, the abundant life of Christ and his body. In her cloak, we find an image of the sheltering nurture and protection of God, Father Son and Holy Spirit, who shelters us in the Shadow of her wings. As with all icons of the Saints this is an image of God and Christ, as the Saints are those who, in human form, show us God.