Conspirator Spotlight – Catherine of Alexandria

NT; (c) Stourhead; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation

Born in Alexandria, Egypt in 287 AD, Catherine devoted her life to studying the subject of philosophy. As Alexandria was a place of culture and learning, she never ran out of material to learn from. Quite often, she would stumble upon Christian readings and became deeply interested in them. She finally decided to become a Christian when a vision of Mary appeared to her.

During the Christian persecutions of the Roman emperor Maxentius, Catherine decided to get involved and see if she could convince the Emperor to end his Christian hunting. Upon Catherine’s arrival in Rome, Maxentius didn’t take her seriously and told her that the Pagan gods were smiling on his actions. Catherine was easily able to argue that the Pantheon of gods wasn’t real, and that God would punish him. Maxentius was so astounded, that he left Catherine in a room with fifty Pagan philosophers in the hopes that she would give up and admit she was wrong.

However, Catherine was so persuasive, that she came walking out of the room with fifty new Christians behind her. Maxentius then tried to bribe her with the title of a queen, but she just wasn’t into wearing that kind of crown.

She was thrown into prison and beaten multiple times. When Maxentius went away, his wife and an officer wanted to see the woman who had converted fifty people with her Jedi mind tricks. It wasn’t long that they too believed that Catherine was right, they and around two hundred other soldiers were converted to Christianity and were later put to death.

When Maxentius saw that she wouldn’t be giving up her faith anytime soon, he called for her to be executed on a breaking wheel. The second that Catherine touched the wheel, it fell apart. The wheel would be later come to be known as the Catherine wheel. Catherine was then sent off to be beheaded.

Not one to be silenced even by death, Catherine of Alexandria would be one of the three saints sent by God to advise Joan of Arc in the reclaiming of France.