Catherine Benincasa’s life is both thoroughly medieval and surprisingly modern. She became the “Mamma” of a band of friends and disciples, including some saints in their own right, such as Blessed Raymond of Capua. She was a nurse, a mystic, and one of the most influential women of her time. Through her letters and visits, she advised princes and popes on social and political issues, and is credited with ending the Avignon “captivity” of the papacy in the 14th century. She was a feisty Italian woman, one of the shining lights of the Dominican Order.