Do you like to help? One of my favorite things in life is to help. I love to help. I love it when others offer to help. St. Catherine of Alexandria is considered one of the 14 Holy Helpers. These are a group of Saints of the early Church who are venerated together for their powerful intercession before God; others include St. Margaret of Antioch and St. Blaise.
St. Catherine of Alexandria was martyred early in the 4th century during the persecution of Diocletian. Almost nothing exists in the historical record that supports her life and her martyrdom, yet St. Catherine of Alexandria’s story is a certain part of Christian tradition in both the Orthodox and Western Christian faiths.
It is believed that St. Catherine or Katherine was noble-born or even a princess and well educated by her parents. She converted to Christianity in her teens from the pagan tradition to which she was born. Her persecution began soon after as Emperor Maxentius demanded she renounce her faith. She refused and Maxentius forced Catherine to debate 50 orators and scholars. Filled with the Holy Spirit, St. Catherine humbled all these learned men and converted many to Christianity.
Maxentius then demanded that Catherine become his wife, but she insisted that she was wed to the Lord Jesus. The emperor was stung by her rebuke and ordered that Catherine be tortured until she reverted to Paganism or died. This did not work, and finally, the Emperor Maxentius had her beheaded.
At her death, tradition holds that Catherine of Alexandria said, “Lord Jesus Christ, my God, I thank Thee for having firmly set my feet on the rock of the Faith and directed my steps on the pathway of salvation. Open now Thy arms wounded on the cross to receive my soul, which I offer in sacrifice to the glory of Thy Name.
“Forgive the faults I committed in ignorance and wash my soul in the blood I will shed for Thee. Do not leave my body, slaughtered by love for Thee, in the power of those who hate me. Kindly regard this people and give them the knowledge of the truth. Finally, O Lord, in Thy infinite mercy exalt those who will invoke Thee through me so that Thy name be always glorified.”
St. Catherine of Alexandria is the patron of philosophers, students, lawyers, teachers, and librarians.
Next time you need some intercession, call on St. Catherine of Alexandria and her 13 friends. God will surely hear your prayer and send help!
Susan Amann is the Director of Spiritual Ministry for the Servants of the Holy Heart of Mary. For more information about her ministry, visit the program page of the Sister’s website at: https://www.sscm-usa.org/Workshops-Retreats.html