One of only two patron saints of Italy, the other being St. Francis of Assisi, St. Catherine was a political powerhouse in late 14th century Europe, a time of war, social unrest and one of the worst natural disasters of all time - the plague. She worked for peace between Christians while campaigning for a holy crusade against Muslims. Though illiterate, she grew into a great writer. Though frail, she often starving herself. She offered moral guidance and inspiration to kings, queens and popes.It's easy to see why feminists have sought to claim her patronage. From her refusal to marry to her assertion that her physical appearance was of no importance, the famous Saint is ripe for modern interpretation. How did this girl, the second-youngest of 25 children of a middle-class dyer, grow to become one of the most beloved spiritual figures of all time-a theological giant to rank alongside the likes of Thomas Aquinas? Recalling her example recently, Pope Francis encouraged the young to "learn from her how to live with the clear conscience of those who do not bend to human compromises." In Setting the World on Fire, Emling offers a fascinating portrait of this powerful, charismatic woman.