Much of Catherine of Siena’s life was defined by sickness and plagues. The future saint was born in 1347. The next year, the Black Death began—an epidemic that killed more than 20 million people over the next five years. Despite growing up surrounded by death, Catherine was unafraid.

When a plague struck again less than two decades later, the 20-something convinced her followers to stay and serve the sick. Catherine was relentless in her work. According to historian Philip Schaff she “day and night, healed those of whom the physicians despaired, and she even raised the dead.

On this episode of Prayer amid Pandemic, Karen Scott, an associate professor of history and Catholic studies at DePaul University, explains how Catherine’s life was shaped by the aftermath of the Black Plague, why her actions to the suffering were so radical, and what the church can learn from her example today.

Thir Koirala, Nepal Micah’s national coordinator, offers this episode’s prayer.

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Music by Urban Nerd Beats, Prod. Riddiman, and Oliver Dúvel

Prayer amid Pandemic is produced by Morgan Lee, Mike Cosper, and Erik Petrik