"The books are beautifully, almost lavishly presented and scholars of the highest caliber have taken part in the work of editing.... This is a comprehensive attempt to make the spiritual tradition of large areas of mankind more generally accessible to the ordinary interested reader."
A. M. Allchin
in Church Times
Catherine of Siena-The Dialogue
translation and introduction by Suzanne Noffke, O.P., preface by Giuliana Cavallini
"If you have received my love sincerely without self-interest, you will drink your neighbor's love sincerely. It is just like a vessel that you fill at the fountain. If you take it out of the fountain to drink, the vessel is soon empty. But if you hold your vessel in the fountain while you drink, it will not get empty: indeed, it will always be full."
Catherine of Siena, 1347-1380
This is the crowning spiritual work of the only woman other than Teresa of Avila to be granted the title of Doctor of the Roman Catholic Church. This volume was simply called "my book" by the fourteenth-century Italian saint. The aim of her book (one of the first books to see print in Spain, Germany, Italy, and England), says Dr. Noffke in her Foreword, was "the instruction and encouragement of all those whose spiritual welfare was her concern."
Catherine was "a mystic whose plunge into God plunged her deep into the affairs of society, Church and the souls who came under her influence." Professor Noffke goes on to call The Dialogue "a great tapestry to which Catherine adds stitch upon stitch until she is satisfied that she has communicated all she can of what she has learned of the way of God."
In this, the sixth centenary of the great Dominican's death, we live in a time so badly in need of her sense of institutional reform as flowing from Divine truth, love and charity.
Dr. Noffke says: "In the opening pages of The Dialogue Catherine presents a series of questions or petitions to God the Father each of which receives a response and amplification. There is the magnificent symbolic portrayal of Christ as the bridge. There are specific discussions of discernment, tears (true and false spiritual emotion), truth, the sacramental heart ('mystic body') of the Church, divine providence, obedience.... It is not so much a treatise to be read as it is a conversation to be entered into with earnest leisure and leisurely earnest."