Catherine of Alexandria
also known as
Katherine of Alexandria
25 November; removed from the calendar and cultus suppressed in 1969
Apocryphal. Nobility. Learned in science and oratory. Converted to Christianity after receiving a vision. When she was 18 years old, during the persecution of Maximus, she offered to debate the pagan philosophers. Many were converted by her arguments, and immediately martyred. Maximus had her scourged and imprisoned. The empress and the leader of Maximus' army were amazed by the stories, went to see Catherine in prison. They converted and were martyred. Maximus ordered her broken on the wheel, but she touched it and the wheel was destroyed. She was beheaded, and her body whisked away by angels.
Immensely popular during the Middle Ages, there were many chapels and churches devoted to her throughout western Europe, and she was reported as one of the divine advisors to Saint Joan of Arc. Her reputation for learning and wisdom led to her patronage of libaries, librarians, teachers, archivists, and anyone associated with wisdom or teaching. Her debating skill and persuasive language has led to her patronage of lawyers. And her torture on the wheel led to those who work with them asking for her intercession. One of the Fourteen Holy Helpers.
While there may well have been a noble, educated, virginal lady who swayed pagans with her rhetoric during the persecutions, the accretion of legend, romance and poetry has long since buried the real Catherine.
beheaded c.305 in Alexandria, Egypt
pure one (= Catherine)
Aalsum, Nederlands; apologists; craftsmen who work with a wheel (potters, spinners, etc.); archivists; attornies; barristers; diocese of Dumaguete, Philippines; dying people; educators; girls; Heidesheim am Rhein, Germany; jurists; knife grinders; knife sharpeners; Kuldiga, Latvia; lawyers; librarians; libraries; Mähring, Germany; maidens; mechanics; millers; nurses; old maids; philosophers; potters; preachers; scholars; schoolchildren; scribes; secretaries; spinners; spinsters; stenographers; students; tanners; teachers; theologians; turners; University of Paris; unmarried girls; wheelwrights; Zejtun, Malta; Zurrieq, Malta
spiked wheel; woman strapped to the spiked wheel on which she was martyred; woman arguing with pagan philosophers