Saint of the Day ~ November 25

SAINT CATHERINE of ALEXANDRIA (?-310), virgin and martyr – Patroness of philosophers, teachers and maidens

Today, the universal Church honors Saint Catherine of Alexandria, whose martyrdom in the fourth century was revered by Christians.

Catherine was born into nobility and devoted herself to the pursuit of knowledge, and, by the age of eighteen, she surpassed all her contemporaries in her knowledge of the science of her day. According to legend, she converted to Christianity after having received a vision.

Upon seeing how the Christians were being tortured during the persecution of Emperor Maximinus II, Caesar of Syria and Egypt from 305-313 A.D., she went to Maximinus and reproached him for his cruelty. He was taken by her wisdom and charm, and allowed her to debate with fifty of his pagan philosophers. Amazed at her wisdom and debating skills, many were converted by her arguments, and the emperor had them immediately martyred!

Maximinus then had her scourged and imprisoned. The empress and Porphyrius, general of the army, were amazed by the stories they heard and went to see Catherine in prison. Legend has it that they, too, converted, along with some 200 soldiers, for which they were all subsequently martyred.

The emperor then ordered Catherine to be placed on a wheel of torture, which consisted of a set of interacting wheels embedded with sharp and pointed knives; from her lacerated body prayers ascended to heaven and this mechanism of torture fell apart. Many who witnessed this miracle embraced the faith. Finally, on the 25th of November in the year 310, this faithful and holy servant of Christ was beheaded in Alexandria, Egypt.

Prayer devotion to her grew during the Middle Ages. As a result, there were many chapels and churches dedicated to her throughout western Europe.

We commemorate her feastday on November 25.

(From catholicnewsagency.com, saints.sqpn.org, americancatholic.org, catholicculture.org and newadvent.org)

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PRAYER

(The following prayer is from the Roman Missal from the Collect for Saint Catherine of Alexandria)

“Almighty and Ever-living God, who gave Saint Catherine of Alexandria to Your people as a virgin and invincible martyr, grant that, through her intercession, we may be strengthened in faith and constancy and spend ourselves without reserve for the unity of the Church.

“Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, who lives and reigns with You in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.”

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