Catherine was born into a wealthy family in the city of Alexandria in the early 4th century AD. It is said that she was beautiful, wealthy and intelligent having studied languages, science, medicine and philosophy. It is not known whether she was introduced to Christianity via her mother, or through reading. She refused to marry as she stated that she could not find a man who was her equal. It is said that she challenged the anti-Christian Emperor about his stance. He brought in 50 pagan philosophers to argue with her, but she managed to convert all of them to Christianity as well as 200 soldiers. The emperor was so angry he had them all burnt to death. He then tried to make her his empress, but she refused, so he tortured her on a spiked wheel which miraculously feel apart, so she was beheaded. In medieval times she was designated as on of the fourteen “holy helpers” as people turned to her during the plague. She is especially renovated in Germany and Hungary. She is considered the patron saint of wheelwrights, mechanics, millers, philosophers, scribes and preachers.
Dear Lord, as we reflect on Catherine’s life
teach us to strengthen our faith
through study, that we gain wisdom
from what we learn and can use it to spread
the news of God’s love for all people.
We ask this through Christ Our Lord.