Saint Catherine of Alexandria

St. Catherine of Alexandria (4th c.) 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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