St. Catherine lived in early Christian times and was the daughter of a wealthy pagan couple of Alexandria, Egypt. She was a very beautiful girl whose great interest was in learning. Catherine was very good at science and public speaking.
She loved to study deep questions of philosophy and religion. She began to read about Christianity. Then one day she received a vision and decided to become a Christian.
St. Catherine was only eighteen when Emperor Maxentius began making the Christians suffer. Without fear, lovely young St. Catherine told him that he was being very cruel and would be punished by God.
When he spoke of the pagan gods, she very plainly showed him that they were false. Maxentius could not answer her arguments, so he sent for fifty of his best pagan philosophers.
Once again, St. Catherine proved the truth of her religion. All fifty philosophers were convinced that she was right and decided to become Christians. In great anger, Maxentius had every one of them killed.
Then, he tried to win her by offering her a queen’s crown. When St. Catherine refused the crown, he had her beaten and thrown into prison.
While Maxentius was away at camp, his wife and an officer were very curious to hear this amazing Christian girl speak and went to her prison cell. All who heard her knew she spoke the truth and as a result they and two hundred soldiers of the guard were converted and became Christians.
When Maxentius found out, they were all put to death. Then he ordered Catherine to be placed on a wheel full of spikes to be tortured to death. When the wheel began to spin, it suddenly snapped in two and broke.
Finally, St. Catherine was beheaded. She has always been the patroness of Christian philosophers.
Reflection: The constancy displayed by the Saints in their glorious martyrdom can be isolated from their previous lives, but is their natural sequence. If we wish to emulate their perseverance, let us first imitate their fidelity to grace.
Prayer: Almighty ever-living God, who gave Saint Catherine of Alexandria to your people as a Virgin and an 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.