A Prayer to St. Catherine


"A Prayer to St. Catherine" is the fourth and final song of Mostly About Love, a song cycle by Virgil Thomson setting the poetry of Kenneth Koch.

A Prayer to St. Catherine
by Kenneth Koch

If I am to be preserved from heartache and shyness
By Saint Catherine of Sienna,
I am praying to her that she will hear my prayer
And treat me in every way with kindness.
I went to Sienna to Saint Catherine's own church
(It is impossible to deny this)
To pray to her to cure me of my heartache and shyness.
Which she can do, because she is a great saint.
Other saints would regard my prayer as foolish.
Saint Nicolas, for example, he would chuckle,
"God helps those who help themselves,
Rouse yourself! Get out there and do something about it!"
Or Saint Joanna. She would say, "It is not shyness,
That bothers you. It is sin. Pray to Catherine of Sienna."
But that is what I have done. And that is why I have come here
to cure my heartache.
Saint Catherine of Sienna, If this song pleases you,
then be good enough to answer the prayer it contains.
Make the person that sings this song less shy than that person is,
And give that person some joy in that person's heart.

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