St. Catherine of Alexandria

St Catherine of AlexandriaBorn to nobility, St. Catherine of Alexandria is a virgin martyr who is patron saint of preachers and philosophers. Her feast day is Nov. 25. She converted following a vision and denounced Maximinus, the ruler. Successfully debating pagan philosophers when she was 18, many converted to Christianity and were martyred.

Maximinus ordered Catherine broken by the wheel, but she somehow destroyed the wheel with her touch, Undeterred, the ruler had her beheaded in 305. She was revered throughout Western Europe during the Middle Ages. Along with St. Michael, St. Catherine was one of the voices that spoke to St. Joan of Arc, telling her to lead and army and save France.

Catherine is followed as one of the Catholic Church’s 14 Holy Helpers. While her feast day was removed from the General Roman Calendar by the Church in 1969, she continued to be honored in the Roman Martyrology with her feast day restored in 2002 as optional. Her main symbol is the spoked wheel, also called the Catherine wheel.

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