Catherine of Siena - Fellow INFJ | INFJ Forum

Catherine of Siena - Fellow INFJ

Discussion in 'Famous INFJ Personalities' started by Night Owl, Apr 21, 2016.

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  1. Night Owl

    Night Owl This Bird Has Flown

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    Long before I read this article [which confirms it] last year, having read a biography on St. Catherine of Siena and reading her own works a few years back, she stood out as a definite INFJ whose personality and mode of being I could identify with. She's an amazing woman and figure of the medieval world.

    A brief synopsis of her life off the top of my head:

    1. Grew up in Sienna, Italy, 14th century.
    2. Felt a call to solitude, and lived in a monastic cell within her families house for several years.
    3. Feeling the call to be a hermit/nun she cut off her long hair in defiance to her mother who wanted her to marry.
    4. Spent quite a while acting a servant in her family house - serving everyone, without complaining. She used to imagine her mum was the Virgin Mary, her father Jesus, and her brothers the Apostles as a way of helping her serve them (i.e. cooking, cleaning up after them).
    5. After mostly being in solitude she feels called to serve the sick - those who no one else dare wants to look after (i.e. the Black Death was during this time)
    6. She lives a live that is both radically contemplative and active in engagement in community service.
    7. She writes extensive long letters (well, has most of them transcribed for her since she was uneducated) - very INFJ
    8. She travels abroad, and corresponds abroad, engaged in political upheavals, petitioning for peace, reconciliation between opposing parties, calms temperamental people, taming them and bringing about their change of heart, plays a heavy role in convincing the Pope to move from France back to Rome
    9. Found a woman's monastery
    10. A mystic and visionary, and her prayer was especially marked by a universal concern for the world and the Church - loving both but wanting reform of heart from both (i.e. those in them)​

    Her writing has all the elements of Ni-Ti combined with Fe. The following text is from 'The Dialogue' and is believed to have been a dictation by Catherine of Siena as she was experiencing visions; yet [even for one who would believe in this as authentic] her personality is the filter through which she is expressing even the words attributed to God:

    If you ever get a chance to read her biography it's fascinating, I recommend the one by Sigred Undset - a great writer.

    More on Catherine of Siena.


     
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    I'm not a Christian but I just mention this as something you may already know about or something that may interest you if you don't. I was reminded of Margery Kempe when I read your post. I was reading some of her biographical writing as part of a class I took on medieval literature. From a purely secular, non-sacred, literary perspective, her writing is profoundly feminist and equality-oriented, and enters claims for a place for women in the Church in a way that seems highly intelligent and knowledgeable. I found her to be a very interesting person.
     
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    Night Owl

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    I'm glad you mentioned her, I have only really heard about her, and I might look into her a bit more now!

    As a Christian (Catholic) I am particularly drawn to a lot of the female saints and their writings, I suppose it's because they are generally 'more of the heart' than the 'of the head' as is generally the case with the masculine writings of the saints.

    Great, I was posting this hoping people might appreciate Catherine of Siena from a non-Christian perspective as well, just to recognise 1) an intriguing historical character, and 2) a brilliant figure who is among those who typify the opposite end of the INFJ Hitler side.
     
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    I think what I liked the most was that it seemed like she wasn't very literate, but that didn't get in her way, both in terms of achieving what she believed in, and in terms of having sophisticated ideas about peace and mediation etc that I think most people would need to develop through a lot of formal education.
     
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    I grew up in a household filled with very conflicted ideas about Christianity. I was baptised and had reconciliation and communion, but as a teenager I followed different paths. As an adult it was hard work for me to open my mind to learning respect for religion and religious people. But I did do it. I think it's always worth it to try to open my mind and consider ideas that are strange to me. I learn a lot more that way than by "fighting" with people about things I haven't understood!
     
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    Night Owl

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    Good to hear your take. That has always been something which impressed me also. It reminds me how intelligence and literacy need not go hand in hand!

    Thanks for sharing. It can be hard work for anyone to respect something if one's experience of it has been negative -or carried out in a hypocritical fashion contrary to what it's supposed to be or claims to be. I may consider myself a deeply religious person, and others would consider me a conservative Catholic, but still a lot of religious people and forms in which religion (even my own) is expressed or lived out I find tedious at times, and even loathsome at other times.

    I personally find I get along quite well with people of all sorts of stances and beliefs, and on my end I also like to be open enough to listen and learn from what other people have to offer. It's also much more pleasant to live in this way! instead of 'battling it out' (fighting - as you say). It's a real shame when people just cut off and reject others as being or having nothing of value simply because they hold different views than them. A lot of religious people can be like that - sometimes because of negative experiences of those outside their religion; and a lot of people who call themselves non-religious but spiritual, and atheists, can also be like that - sometimes due to negative experiences of religion or religious person/people.

    I applaud your openness and ability to overcome certain difficulties in this regard - for I'm aware such obstacles can be real and severely justified at times. It's always refreshing to converse with people who don't hold the same views as me but who are 'easy-going' (to use an Australian term). For it's not a common occurrence, but I've always enjoyed it. Speaking to the token atheist - sharing on matters of philosophy - at open house parties used to result in many fruitful discussions and development of my own ideas. There's nothing worse than boxing oneself in and associating with people who only share the same views as oneself. Merci :)
     
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