SAINT KATHERINE HOLY
AND ALL THOSE MARTYRED WITH HER
November 24, 25
THE ONE-HUNDRED FIFTY ORATORS
martyred by a fiery death.
THE EMPRESS FAUSTINA
with TWO HUNDRED SOLDIERS
slain by the sword
The wonderful and noble Katherine’s father was King Constas, who reigned with his consort Sabinella and governed Alexandria in Egypt. Possessing a most quick and clever mind, she became well educated in all the branches of Greek and Roman culture. She thoroughly learned the art of rhetoric, and in a word, she was smart and proper, possessing all the learning of the world. In fact she was the wonder of her age for she surpassed everyone. In addition to a wonderful mind she also possessed unrivaled perfection of body and form. Being such an outstanding beauty, she was also filled with conceit and pride.
Numerous men had sought her hand in marriage, but Katherine refused all their proposals for she considered them to be inferior to herself, saying: Who can be found as my superior or my equal in point of beauty, wealth, nobility and learning, so as to justify my accepting him as a husband?
Then one day she heard about Jesus Christ from a monk, and she was sure that she had found the bridegroom she was seeking, who was not only just her equal but in reality was incomparably better than her; in respect of beauty and pulchritude, and personal attractiveness, and in respect of wealth and nobility, and of learning and wisdom, Christ greatly surpassed her. But she was quite unworthy of Him, as was revealed when she was sleeping and in a dream, she beheld the Theotokos who appeared carrying her Son, and urging Him to look at Katherine. He quickly turned His head away, making it plain that He preferred not to gaze at her, for only a brief look had aroused His aversion, as though she was extremely ugly and badly formed.