When I was a teen picking out my Confirmation saint, I searched long and hard for someone who was least likely to change my image… meaning someone like me!
But while I was drowning myself Googling saints, I stumbled across a loud-mouthed girl around my age who converted almost every pagan she encountered. Although I hadn’t converted anyone from my knowledge, I knew that I loved reasoning with people and speaking openly about my faith; I knew I wanted to be more like her.
I learned that she had studied many faiths before she became Christian. At 18, she was converted by a vision of the Our Lady and the Holy Child. After that, she was B.O.L.D.
This young woman went straight to the emperor Maxentius after she heard that he was persecuting Christians and rebuked him. Not only did she stand up for injustice, she fought for change. She reasoned with Maxentius, and when he could not answer her arguments against his pagan gods, he summoned fifty philosophers to “set her straight.”
Out of the Ordinary
Not only did she convert all his philosophers who were then burned to death, she converted many more people. The emperor’s wife and a high official visited Catherine when he was away. They found enough truth in her words to fearlessly accept Christ within an unrelenting society, and they lost their lives after Maxentius returned. Catherine was sentenced to death.
Not only is converting the wife of your persecutor out of the ordinary, converting almost everyone you speak with is unique. She had the fire of the Holy Spirit on her lips. Sometimes I wish her words were preserved in a capsule to be proclaimed to the lost sheep of today.
It may be hard to see a saint martyred so early in her ministry, but God loved her. He loved her so much that God gave her the gift of His voice to proclaim truth, and she used it. After her death, it is said her body was carried away by angels up to Mount Sinai, where a church was later built in her honor.
Though her words were not preserved, her bold actions are remembered as many churches in Western Europe are named after her.
St. Catherine was a beautiful woman and Maxentius gladly offered her a royal marriage if she would denounce her faith. She refused. We can learn a lot from her faith. So often our world gives us temptations to distract us from God. We must step out of that routine and be okay with being uncomfortable to make a change for the better.
I am not telling you to run around trying to convert everyone. I am not telling you to run off to a country where Christians are persecuted (news flash – you’re already in one). I am asking you to consider the inspiration and message this beautiful woman of God left with us. Our faith is special and worth sharing… and worth sacrificing for.
Today, let us remember a B.O.L.D. woman, a patroness of young women, philosophers and preachers.
St. Catherine of Alexandria, pray for us!