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Monday 26 February |
Saint of the Day: St. Alexander of Alexandria
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Saint of the Day: St. Catherine of Alexandria

Patron Saint of Philosophers


Virgin and Martyr (d. ca. 305)

Her life

+ The life of this saint is largely shrouded in legend and some have even questioned her existence, because so little is known about her. Although her name was removed from the General Roman Calendar in 1969 (although she continued to be included in the Church’s official list of saints), her commemoration was re-introduced in 2002, out of respect for the privileged place she holds in the Eastern Catholic and Orthodox Churches.

+ According to long-standing tradition, which surrounds her life in mystery, Catherine was born in Alexandria, Egypt, and after converting to Christianity, she became a zealous witness for Christ and helped bring many to the Christian Faith.

+ She criticized the prefect Maxentius for his persecution of Christians and he ordered that fifty of Catherine’s converts be burned to death. He then offered Catherine his hand in marriage if she would deny Christ.

+ When Catherine refused, she was thrown into prison and condemned to death. She was to be killed on a spiked wheel (now commonly known as a “Catherine wheel”), but the wheel was miraculously broken into piece.

+ Whatever the circumstances of her life and death, Saint Catherine of Alexandria is thought to have been martyred around the year 304.

+ Saint Catherine was one of the most popular saints of the Middle Ages and she has come to be honored as the patron of philosophers, on account of her heavenly wisdom and skill in arguing with Maxentius.

For prayer and reflection

“Everyone who acknowledges me before others I will acknowledge before my heavenly Father. But whoever denies me before others, I will deny before my heavenly Father.”—Matthew 10:32-33

Spiritual bonus

On this day we also remember Saint Peter of Alexandria. The bishop of Alexandria, Egypt, and an opponent of the teachings of Origen, he may also have been among the first bishops to address the heretical teachings of the priest Arius. After working for healing and unity within the Church following the Meletian Schism, he was martyred with three of his priests during the persecution of Decius. Saint Peter of Alexandria was killed in 311.


Almighty ever-living God,
who gave Saint Catherine of Alexandria to your people
as a Virgin and an invincible Martyr,
grant that through her intercession
we may be strengthened in faith and constancy
and spend ourselves without reserve
for the unity of the Church.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
God, for ever and ever. Amen.

(from The Roman Missal)

Saint profiles prepared by Brother Silas Henderson, S.D.S.

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