Saint Catherine of Siena Comes to Newburgh

Sister Nancy Murray depicts Saint Catherine of Sienna for the Mount community. (Photo provided by Mount Saint Mary College)

by Erin-Therese Vecchi

On Thursday, October 11th Mount Saint Mary College was visited by Saint Catherine of Siena. Yes, the actual Saint Catherine of Siena died April 29th, 1380, but with the acting of talents of Sr. Nancy Murray, it was as close to a saint as most of us will ever get.  No need to pop a Xanex for the flight, Sr. Nancy Murray turned the Founders Chapel into Italy with just her presence in this one woman show.

Bonjourno! Saint Catherine bellows from the back of the chapel, her Italian accent just thick enough to know we’re not in Newburgh anymore, but thin enough that we’re not scrambling for our Italian to English dictionaries.  Our journey begins the day Saint Catherine was born as the 24th child of the Benincasa family. Sr. Nancy Murray comically and successfully switches character from Mamma to Papa, the many siblings, and many influences of Saint Catherine’s life.

Sr. Nancy Murray was able to entertain and enlighten the audience with a full history of Saint Catherine of Siena in two hours without Wikipedia. As the sisters on campus already have a personal connection to the woman who started the Dominican Order, students and members of the community were able to leave with a personal connection to Saint Catherine as well.

Among the beautiful words Saint Catherine spoke, one piece of advice sticks out the most, “God won’t give you a thorn that won’t have a rose.” Let us remember Saint Catherine’s beautiful words in our own times of stress. Ciao bella!