2,409…That’s the number of points needed to break Villanova’s basketball all-time leading scoring record. Shelly Pennefather, now Sister Rose Marie of the Queen of Angels, since becoming a cloistered nun in 1994, has held the record since 1987. She was the school’s all-time leading scorer for both women and men with a career total of 2,408 points. Villanova senior forward Maddy Siegrist scored 23 points on Friday, Jan. 20, at Creighton University in Omaha, Neb., surpassing Sister Rose Marie, for a career total of 2,571 points (as of Feb. 14, 2023).
2,409…A unique number, but a quick search using VUFind [a library resource portal designed and developed by Falvey Library’s Technology team] yielded an interesting note on that exact numeral. Harley 2409 is a manuscript written in the first half of the fifteenth century. It contains the longest version of “The Cleanness of Sowle,” which has been attributed to the spiritual teachings of St. Catherine of Siena. Cleanness, as Jennifer N. Brown states, is “St. Catherine’s spiritual beliefs in a nutshell.” In Harley 2409, “The Cleanness of Sowle begins with God’s voice directing the listener, clearly a woman (‘my daughter’) that he will lead her to the cleanness that she desires if she follows his teaching.”
Serendipitously stumbling upon the spiritual connection of this historic moment seems fitting. As Mike Jensen writes in the Philadelphia Inquirer, “Siegrist’s own faith is important to her…[She] feels a bond [with Sister Rose Marie] beyond their points. She’ll get a letter in Villanova’s basketball office, return address, the convent. Sister Rose Marie often will include a prayer card.” In St. Catherine’s definitive work, her “Dialogue” (which includes over 400 letters and prayers), she speaks of her “conversations between God and the soul.” St. Catherine shares her revelations from God with her readers—with all of God’s daughters. “We can read God’s communications to [Catherine] with detached awe or we can receive His messages to us through her writings” (Tan Books, 2010).
2,409…A seemingly random number at first glance, is now a historic milestone and an unbreakable bond.
Dig deeper and explore the links below:
- The Life of St. Catherine of Siena (Raymond, o. C., 2011) *eBook
- The Letters of St. Catherine of Siena (Catherine, o. S., & Noffke, S., 1988)
- The Dialogue of St. Catherine of Siena (Catherine, o. S., 2018) *eBook
- The Steps of Love in The Dialogue of St. Catherine of Siena (Follmar, M. A., & Catherine, o. S., 1987)
- Catherine of Siena: A Life of Passion and Purpose (Vauchez, A., 2018)
- “A Long Embrace” (ESPN, 2019)
- Whatever happened to Villanova basketball star Shelly Pennefather? ‘So I made this deal with God.’ (Merrill, 2019)
- ‘Shelly Pennefather Day’ honors hoopster who pivoted to cloister (Loughlin, 2021)
- Maddy Siegrist (Villanova Athletics)
- Villanova’s Maddy Siegrist breaks all-time scoring record (Rapay, 2023)
- Magic Maddy Siegrist: The Big Baller on Villanova’s campus (Godin, 2023)
More milestones achieved:
Maddy Siegrist scored 50 points on Saturday, Feb. 11, at Seton Hall University in South Orange, NJ., breaking the program’s single game record. Sister Rose Marie held the record for 38 years, scoring 44 points in a single game. With her 50 point performance, Siegrist became the new all-time leading scorer in Big East Women’s Basketball history for regular season conference games.
Save the date:
Join us on Monday, April 24, from 3:30-4:30 p.m. in Room 205 of Falvey Library for the St. Catherine of Siena Research Award Symposium. The St. Catherine of Siena Undergraduate Peace and Justice Research Award is awarded annually to an undergraduate student for a research project relevant to peace and justice issues. Submitted papers are evaluated by CPJE affiliated faculty. The top three students, including the winner, present their work on a panel with a faculty respondent to a University-wide audience. This event, co-sponsored by the Center for Peace and Justice Education and Falvey Library, is free and open to the public.
Brown, Jennifer N. “The Many Misattributions of Catherine of Siena: Beyond The Orchard in England.” Journal of Medieval Religious Cultures, vol. 41, no. 1, 2015, pp. 67–84. JSTOR, https://doi.org/10.5325/jmedirelicult.41.1.0067.
Catherine, o. S. (2010). Dialogue of St. Catherine of Siena: A conversation with God on living your spiritual life to the fullest (New and abridged edition.). Tan Books.
Jensen (Staff Writer), M. (2023, January 22). Siegrist has formed bond with ex-’Nova great. Philadelphia Inquirer, The (PA), p. C9. Available from NewsBank: Access World News: https://infoweb.newsbank.com/apps/news/document-view?p=AWNB&docref=news/18F34FB6B7B2D1D0.
Schultze, D. (2018). Spiritual Teachings by Catherine of Siena in BL Harley 2409: An Edition. Anglia: Zeitschrift für Englische Philologie/Journal of English Philology, 136(2), 296-325. https://doi.org/10.1515/ang-2018-0033.
Villanova’s Maddy Siegrist explodes for 50 points, shatters multiple records | NCAA.com. (n.d.). Retrieved February 13, 2023, from https://www.ncaa.com/news/basketball-women/article/2023-02-11/villanovas-maddy-siegrist-explodes-50-points-shatters-multiple-records.
Kallie Stahl ’17 MA is Communication and Marketing Specialist at Falvey Library.