“The Florentines will not dare attack Catherine because she is a woman.”
–Pope Gregory XI
This masterful watercolor panel was painted by Eleanor Fortescue-Brickdale in 1919 to skillfully depict the historic account denouncing the Vatican in Rome and establishing the Papacy in Avignon, France in 1309.
This art portents a serious meeting of 5 powerful prelates somewhat mesmerized by Catherine of Seina, a Dominican tertiary known for her humble mysticism able to reconcile rampant warring factions in Europe at that time. Her biography reveals Christ sending her on this mission “because of the interior devastation of the corrupt souls” that the Papacy had established in France. The fortified walled castle of Avignon alongside the wide Rhone River made this new papal court defensible for 67 years. Catherine accomplished the mission when the Papacy returned to Rome on 1377.
Best of all, this remarkable masterpiece stirs up unforgettable remembrances of my growing up years in Avignon visiting the castle, prancing in its wide courtyard and having picnics under huge Platane trees.
O! Avignon, how I miss those days surrounded by your historic beauty.
Watercolor Panel of Saint Catherine of Seina, Illustration in The Golden Book of Famous Women by Eleanor Fortescue-Brickdale, London, UK