Saint Katherine of Alexandria

Our Patron Saint

Saint Katherine, who lived in Alexandria, Egypt during the fourth century A.D., was from a noble family and of excellent learning. Our patron saint was the daughter of the ruler Constantus and she was said to have been very beautiful, statuesque, and unequaled in kindness. She refused all proposals of marriage saying that the man she married must be young and equal to her in the four virtues: compassion, wealth, wisdom and beauty.

Katherine's mother, being concerned, went with her daughter to seek the advice of a saintly hermit. After listening to the girl's story, he said, "I know of a magnificent man who surpasses you in all ways." Wanting to meet this man, Katherine asked who his mother was. The hermit gave her an icon of the Virgin Mary and told her to pray to the icon through the night adding, "If you are worthy of Him and if you approach Him in faith, His mother will allow you to see Him."

That night, the Virgin and Christ appeared to her and the Lord placed a beautiful golden ring on her finger, saying, "Today I make you my bride, and for ages to all ages. Hold this joining sacred and never take unto yourself another bridegroom."

Meantime, the Emperor Maxentius sent an edict throughout the empire that all should support his reign and worship his gods and turn from the popular Christian religion. Saint Katherine, of course, refused. Maxentius tried to persuade her to abandon her faith with a tribunal consisting of 150 philosophers and eventually with imprisonment, but when all efforts failed, he sentenced her to a deadly torture known as "the wheel". Yet when Katherine was placed in the device with sharp blades, the wheels broke loose and killed many pagans. For this reason, the torturer's wheel has served as a symbol for Saint Katherine and is often depicted in icons of her.

Finally, the emperor ordered her to be beheaded. Her death occurred on November 25th around the year 305 and her body is said to have been lifted by heavenly angels and taken to Mount Sinai. A band of monks later discovered her body and built a monastery near the spot of discovery. The relics of Saint Katherine are to this day enshrined in the monastery of Saint Katherine on Mount Sinai.