|Copy of a portrait in 1576 (age 61)|
Anyway, the Roman Catholic Church has thirty-three of them, though soon it will be thirty-four. Of those, ten were proclaimed in the twentieth century, and none have been proclaimed in the twenty-first, though on August 20, 2011, Pope Benedict XVI pre-announced John of Avila (no date set for the formal proclamation). Of the thirty-three Doctors, three are women, viz. Teresa of Avila, Catherine of Siena, and Therese of Lisieux. [Wow! As I looked for the links back, I realize that I missed Catherine of Siena last year. That needs to be corrected. If there are only three female Doctors in the RC, and only two in the C.of E., they need to be acknowledged.]
|Bernini's version of her Transverberation|
A question had arisen about her mortifications of the flesh, including flagellation. She was pretty hard on herself; some folks guessed this was demonically inspired. She consulted her confessor, Saint Francis Borgia, who reassured her that the self-inflicted punishments were divine. This was confirmed for her by a visit from a seraph who drove the golden point of a fiery lance repeatedly into her heart. She described it this way:
|portrait by Francois Gerard|
I think that anything I wrote here would be superfluous.