The first of the two types of obedience that St. Catherine writes about is “the yoke of obedience, to the Commandments, following the doctrine”. The second obedience is a greater submission where “in what place and in what way she can pay her debt, trampling on her own fragility, and restraining her own will.” This involves submitting to the authority of another, and in particular to the vow obedience within a religious order where a person surrenders completely. The first obedience is necessary for the second.

Source: St. Catherine of Siena, The Dialogue, Paulist Press, 1980

The Dialogue was dictated by Catherine over a period of five days. Three scribes worked to keep up with Catherine as she related a conversation she was having with God the Father in a vision. Catherine was the 25th child of her parents, and being a typical woman in the 1300’s, she was uneducated. It is miraculous that an uneducated woman could write a book as sophisticated and brilliant as the Dialogue over just five days, when she didn’t even have the ability to write.