Santa Caterina (or St Catherine, Siena, 25 March 1347 - Rome, 29 April 1380) was one of the most incisive and charismatic personalities in history. She was able to talk with the highest powers of her time, political, civil and ecclesiastic, with the aim of bringing peace and unity to all people and leaving a profound message of love and faith in God. Proclaimed a saint in 1461, she is celebrated today as one of the patron saints of Rome, patron saint of Italy and as a Doctor of the Church; and on 1 October 1999 she became a patron saint of Europe at the behest of Pope John Paul II. The celebrations in her honour begin at 9:30 on 29 April at the Casa Santuario di Santa Caterina. After a discussion about her life, work and thought, Holy Mass is said in the church attached to the house. The festivities last all day: at 10am an offering of oil is made for the votive lamps in the Santuario, followed at 11am by a solemn eucharistic celebration in the church of San Domenico. At 5:30pm, in Piazza del Campo, there is a blessing of Italy and Europe with the relic of Santa Caterina's head, a greeting from the Mayor of Siena and a speech by a representative of the Italian Government, followed by the flag-waving of the contrade (districts of Siena) and a parade of military units and the Volontariato associations.