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Saint Catherine of Alexandria, ca. 1598-99, Caravaggio, Museo Nacional Thyssen- Bornemisza, Madrid

 

Feast of Saint Catherine of Alexandria

(4th c.)

St. Catherine of Alexandria was born to a noble pagan family in Alexandria, Egypt, and her father was governor of the city. She was an intelligent child who devoted herself to study, and converted to the Christian faith after the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared to her in a vision. Many of her fellow Christians were put to death under the reign of Roman Emperor Maxentius. Catherine, at the age of 18, rebuked the emperor to his face for this injustice, giving a skillful defense of the Christian faith. In response, Maxentius brought fifty of his best philosophers to debate with her and refute her claims. St. Catherine not only won the argument by confounding her opponents, but she caused many of them to convert to the Christian faith. The emperor offered Catherine a royal marriage if she would renounce her faith, but she refused. She was imprisoned, and while in captivity, through her newfound fame, converted the emperor’s wife and two hundred of his soldiers. When this was discovered, Maxentius had them all put to death. Catherine was to be tortured and killed by being torn apart on a spiked wheel, but the wheel fell to pieces when it touched her. She was finally martyred by beheading. St. Catherine is the patroness of philosophers, preachers, lawyers, apologists, scholars, and librarians, to name a few.
Her feast day is celebrated on November 25th.
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There was a certain woman, a Christian, and the richest and most noble of all the ladies of Alexandria, who, when the rest suffered themselves to be deflowered by the tyrant (Maximin), resisted and vanquished his unbounded and worse than beastly lust. This lady was most illustrious for her high birth and great wealth, and likewise for her singular learning; but she preferred her virtue and her chastity to all worldly advantages.”

From the historian Eusebius, d. 339-340 A.D.
The Martyrdom of St Catherine of Alexandria, by Guercino (Francesco Barbieri), 1653; now in the Hermitage Museum in St Petersburg.

Follow the saints because those who follow them will become saints.”

Saint Clement I, pope
Saint Catherine of Alexandria in Prison, Paolo Veronese (Paolo Caliari), Metropolitan Museum of Art

Saint Catherine of Alexandria, Martyr, pray for us.

Be not afraid!  And may the peace of Christ be with you and your loved ones today and always.  Holy Family pray for us.  Amen.

The Holy Family, Murillo
The Heavenly and Earthly Trinities (c. 1675-82) by Bartolomé Esteban Murillo (1617 – 1682)

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