About Author

This website replaces my plan to write a book that would unlock to spiritual seekers and spiritual guides the depth of wisdom offered by Catherine of Siena. I share here what I have learned as a scholar about this remarkable woman. 

I have studied Catherine of Siena’s spirituality since I wrote my Ph.D. dissertation on a comparison of discernment according to Catherine and Ignatius of Loyola and have continued to do research and to write about her.

I write for the spiritual seeker and for spiritual guides and pastors, as I am convinced that Catherine’s wisdom can help the spiritual seeker today.   

As well, students of Catherine’s spirituality will benefit from this summary of her life and teachings, together with the historical and textual context included here.  Students of medieval women mystics, and scholars may also find material of interest.

Diana L. Villegas, Ph.D.

  • Studied spirituality at the Institute of Spirituality of the Gregorian University, Rome.
  • Obtained a Ph.D. in theology, specializing in history of spirituality, from Fordham University, NY.
    • Her Ph.D. dissertation compared discernment in Catherine of Siena and Ignatius of Loyola
    • Suzanne Noffke, scholar of Catherine and English translator of her works, was Diana’s dissertation mentor on Catherine.
  • She was trained in offering the Spiritual Exercises of Ignatius of Loyola and has over 30 years of experience in spiritual direction and offering retreats.
  • Worked for a number of years as a licensed psychotherapist offering psychotherapy and pastoral counseling. Licensed as a Clinical Social Worker, she specialized in the integration of spirituality and psychotherapy.
  • She is currently working on research and writing in spirituality.
  • She speaks Italian and has read all of Catherine of Siena’s works in their original 14th century Italian.

Scholarly Publications on Catherine of Siena

“Catherine of Siena on persons created in God’s image: Basis for a spiritual path.”
(2024) 80/1 a9568.

“Examining Catherine of Siena’s Controversial Discernments about Papal Politics.”
HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies 77/2 (2021) a6654.

Catherine of Siena’s Crusade Letters: Spirituality and Political Context.”
HTS Teologiese/Studies / Theological Studies 77/2 (2021) a6499.

“Catherine of Siena’s Spirituality of Political Engagement,”
HTS Teologiese Studies/Theological Studies 77/2 (2021) a6319.

“Continuous Prayer in Catherine of Siena,”
HTS Teologiese Studies/Theological Studies 73/3 (2017), a4611.

“Catherine of Siena’s Wisdom on Discernment and her Reception of Scripture,”
Acta Theologica, The Spirit that Guides: Discernment in the Bible and Spirituality, Supplementum 17 (2013): 209-227.

“Discernment in Catherine of Siena,”
Theological Studies 58 (1997): 19-38.

Non scholarly article on Catherine

“Catherine of Siena’s Challenge to Pope Gregory XI: Lessons for Today.”
Human Development 25 (2): 9-12 (2004).