November 25th--St. Catherine of Alexandria the Great Martyr

Today is also the liturgical feast of St. Catherine of Alexandria, a virgin martyr of the 4th century and the co-patroness of the Order of Preachers along with St. Mary Magdalen. She is especially invoked by those in the Order studying philosophy. During the time of St. Dominic she would often appear with our Lady and her "canonical companion" St. Cecilia to our Holy Founder.

The picture above is one of the "Mystical Marriage" of St. Catherine of Alexandria. In art of the mystical marriage Jesus is alway placing the ring on Catherine's right hand much to our delight as we wear our profession ring on the right hand, also.

Her feast had been eliminated from the Missal in the '60's but to the joy of many our Holy Father, John Paul II brought her feast back in 2000! Here at the monastery she is celebrated with special affection. Fr. Andrew Hofer, OP wrote 2 hymns in her honor for us when her feast was reinserted in the calendar. We also sing the haunting Troparion from the Eastern Rite:

O Jesus, your Lamb Catherine cries out to You with great love: "O my Bridegroom, I long for you in great pain, I am crucified with You, and in baptism I am buried with You. I sufffer for your sake in order to reign with You, I die for You in order to live in You. Accept me as an immaculate victim, since I am immolated for your love." Through her intercession, O Merciful One, save our souls!"

The Church of the East refers to her as the "Holy Great-Martyr of Christ and most wise Catherine of Alexandria"!

You can read more about her by clicking on the link above.
Below is a wonderful poem about her martyrdom.


SAINT CATHERINE OF ALEXANDRIA

The groaning of the peddler’s cart
Is droning slowly through the mart
of Alexandria.

The climbing sun blows as he goes
Hight still and higher,
A Wreath of golden burning fire,
On that far city of the Orient.

The wilting blooms are scorched and bent
And the flags that pave the street
Blister the small girl’s brown feet.

A warm mist from off the ocean’s
drifting spray
Falls on the ancient ramparts all the
summer day.
Shadow-less stands the spiring temple steeple,
Where many, very many pleasant people
Drowse with the moisture ladening the air—
Sleep on the hard, gray pavements of the square.

Some idlers passing by are driven into
the soft, cool shade
Of awnings—which over their motley
markets some Persian merchants made.
Not even for years has such celestial
brightness shone.
The heavy moments lumber on.

All is quiet save for the sullen thud
Of the Nile, coating its banks with mud—Then riding on to join the color of the sea,
Majestic and eternally.

There is no sound or stirring of men—
and then—
The water-clocks dripping in the sun,
strike one!
That was a solemn stroke that broke the
siesta silence of the day.
No sooner had it rung then the sword of
the executioner had swung.
Through a column of air, then flesh,
then bone, then flesh, then air,
And into the long black hair of Catherine
of Alexandria!

In that dark evening a small rivulet
and flood of her young blood was
on the marble floor—
Shone in the light of the moon
And belied the deed that was done at noon,

St. Catherine of Alexandria we read
of your triumphs that brought you
to Heaven’s height,
And wish you, who read by the light of
the stars, a glorious birthday night!

We know that your soul is wandering
out from your Palace of Mirth
And is near us and with us and somewhere
about is whispering or singing,
“Heaven is better than earth! Heaven
is better than earth!”

--Fr. Leonard Feeney