In her childhood already St. Catherine of Siena loved solitude and prayer. With edifying devotion she recited the "Our Father" and the "Hail Mary." As often as she ascended or descended the stairs in her parents' house, she saluted Mary with the angelic salutation on every step. Having grown older she made the vow of virginity, on account of which she was obliged to suffer very much and was treated as a menial servant in her parent's home, because she should have married. Yet she received heavenly comfort. When she was seventeen years of age, Jesus with His glorious Mother appeared to her and said: "My daughter! for My sake thou hast despised the vanities of the world, renounced the pleasures of the flesh and sought in Me alone the delight of thy heart; therefore I will make thee My bride in faith, as I have promised thee." Thus Catherine lived as a spouse of Christ and servant of Mary until her death in the year 1380.
Into Thy arms, O heavenly Father, I cast myself; ward Thou off all evils that surround me, and take me into Thy heavenly home. In Thee, O my Saviour, I put my trust, hear Thou my prayer which thou hast taught me. Under thy patronage O holy Virgin Mary, do I fly, protect thou me, intercede for me, lead me to heaven. Amen.
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