St Katherine
the Great Martyr

St Katherine was the daughter of the ruler of Alexandria, Konsta  and was one of the richest women in Alexandria. She was martyred at the start of the fourth century.She was tall and beautiful. She was very wise. She became a Christian under the influence of her mother who was a secret follower of Christ. Many of her relatives were Christian too. They tried to persuade her to become a Christian so that her fathers authority and wealth would not pass into the hands of idolators. She steadfastly refused to marry , turning down many suitors.She said she would only marry the man who was more wiser than her, more richer than her, more polite than her, and more beautiful. No one could be found who met this criteria. Her mother decided to send her to the Ascetic who was also her confessor.

When the Ascetic heard Katherine's wise words he decided to betrothe her to Christ himself. It was then that Katherine was first introduced to the Lord. The Ascetic told Katherine all about the Lord. He told her of his beauty which outshone the sun itself. He told her of his wisdom which knew no bounds. He told her of his riches which were divided throughout the world yet still increased, and of his politeness which was unequalled anywhere. Katherine wanted to know this Man's Father.

The Ascetic replied " He has no earthly Father. He was born to the Blessed Virgin Mary." Katherine wanted to see the Lord.
"If you listen to me and do as I tell you, you shall see him," the Ascetic replied. He gave her an Icon of the Mother of Our Lord holding the Infant Christ. He told Katherine to take it home and pray to it all night, and to beg Our Lady to revael Her Son. Katherine did as she was told. She paryed fervently all night long. When she was very tired, she fell asleep, and she saw Our Lady holding Christ. The Lord looked elsewhere though, and not at Katherine.Katherine changed her stance to look at the Lord, but he again turned away. This happened three times.
It was then that the Virgin Mary spoke to the Lord: " Look at your servant Katherine, who surpasses all those of her age in riches,wisdom, beauty and politeness. The Lord refused. "As long as she is an idolator, she is uneducated, poor and beneath contempt!! That is why I cannot look at her."
The Blessed Virgin Mary begged Her Son not to disown Katherine.
"Tell her what she must do to enjoy Your Glory and see Your Face."
The Lord replied:"Tell her to go to the Ascetic who gave her the Icon. He will tell her what to do."
Katherine awoke full of awe. She went to the Ascetic in tears. She asked him what she should do. He introduced her to Christianity and she was eventually baptised. The Old Man then sent her again to pray to the Virgin Mary for guidance. Katherine, dressed in her robe of baptism, prayed all night. She eventually fell asleep and saw the Virgin Mary and the Infant Christ again.

The Virgin Mary spoke to Our Lord :" How do you see Our Daughter Katherine now?"
He replied : " She is bright and glorious, rich and wise. I accept her as My Bride."
Katherine knelt down in tears.
" I am not worthy Lord to reign with you. Let me be one of your servants," she said.
It was then that the Virgin Mary took hold of Katherine's right hand and said: " Give her Lord the Ring of Betrothal, to allow her to be Your Bride and to reign with You. " Immediately the Lord gave Katherine a beautiful ring and said: "From Today you are My Bride. Keep this agreement and never marry on earth." When katherine woke she had the ring on her right hand. From that time aged 18 she was dedicated to the Lord.

When the Emperor Maximillian  decreed that all his subjects should offer sacrifices to the gods of Rome, it was then that Katherine showed the strength of her faith. Katherine  walked into the temple where sacrifices were being offered and rebuked the Emperor and told him that there is only one true God-Christ. He was furious but he did not say anything because he did not wish to open a theological  debate with Katherine because he knew her wisdom and he feared being made a laughing stock in front of all his subjects. He decided therefore, to invite 150 of his most learned speakers  to discuss the true God with Katherine. Katherine's wisdom defeated them all. Many turned to God themselves.The Emperor was furious and ordered the 150 speakers to be beheaded. Katherine blessed them all. They all went down the road to Martyrdom.

The Emperor tried to persuade Katherine to renounce her faith.She refused.He ordered her to be beaten until she bled, then to be thrown into prison. Even in prison she converted many to Christianity with the strength of her faith-including the Queen Faustina, her lieutenant and 200 soldiers. All were executed. The Emperor ordered Katherine to be tied to a wheel which had blades around it. As it turned it would slice into her skin and she would die a painful death.An Angel of the Lord broke the wheel in half, and Katherine suffered nothing. The Emperor ordered her to be beheaded. Even then, as she was executed, witnesses saw milk flow from her wounds instead of blood. She was executed on 25th November 305 AD.

Her remains were taken by Angels to Mount Sinai We celebrate her day on 25th November.

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Last published: :20/2/05
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