Lifelong CatechesisForming Catholic identity across generations
For a large part of the liturgical year, we devote ourselves to listening to the mystery of Christ in all its aspects unfolded as we seek God's truth and understanding.
Catherine of Alexandria, Virgin and Martyr, c. 310
This saint is said to have been born into a patrician family of Alexandria and converted after seeing a vision of Our Lady and the Holy Child.
When the Emperor Maxentius began persecuting Christians, Catherine, only eighteen, went to him and scolded him for his tyranny. Unable to answer her arguments against his gods, Maxentius summoned fifty philosophers to oppose her. The fifty were themselves converted by Catherine and the infuriated Maxentius had them burned to death.
Maxentius tried other bribes to force Catherine to give up Christianity, but when these failed, he had her beaten and imprisoned. Upon returning from a trip, Maxentius found that Catherine had converted his wife, one of his officers, and 200 soldiers of the guard. The emperor had them all put to death and sentenced Catherine to die on a spiked wheel. When she was placed on it, her bonds were miraculously loosened and the wheel broke. Catherine was then beheaded.
Since about the tenth century, a great devotion to St. Catherine has existed in the Eastern Church and numerous churches are named in her honor. St. Catherine is said to have been one of the voices from heaven heard by St. Joan of Arc. Because of her legendary erudition, St. Catherine is the patroness of philosophers and teachers. An optional Memorial is celebrated in honor of this saint on November 25th.
Catherine's message today: Just as Catherine stood up to tyranny, we are called upon to do the same, whether it be tyranny of a foreign country or something more localized, like the tyranny of a school board. There are many effective ways for Christians to respond such as offering time, writing a letter, or contributing money.