Now this wise virgin has gone to Christ.
Among the choirs of virgins she is radiant as the sun in the heavens.
Today the Church remembers the early fourth-century virgin and martyr Catherine of Alexandria, whose feast was recently restored to the Roman Calendar after its removal during the liturgical reforms following the Second Vatican Council.
Dominicans have been particularly happy with the return of today’s feast, for since the Order’s inception it has honored St. Catherine as a patroness and protectress.
From the Catholic Encyclopedia:
Of noble birth and learned in the sciences, when only eighteen years old, Catherine presented herself to the Emperor Maximinus who was violently persecuting the Christians, upbraided him for his cruelty and endeavoured to prove how iniquitous was the worship of false gods. Astounded at the young girl’s audacity, but incompetent to vie with her in point of learning the tyrant detained her in his palace and summoned numerous scholars whom he commanded to use all their skill in specious reasoning that thereby Catherine might be led to apostatize. But she emerged from the debate victorious. Several of her adversaries, conquered by her eloquence, declared themselves Christians and were at once put to death. Furious at being baffled, Maximinus had Catherine scourged and then imprisoned. Meanwhile the empress, eager to see so extraordinary a young woman, went with Porphyry, the head of the troops, to visit her in her dungeon, when they in turn yielded to Catherine’s exhortations, believed, were baptized, and immediately won the martyr’s crown. Soon afterwards the saint, who far from forsaking her Faith, effected so many conversions, was condemned to die on the wheel, but, at her touch, this instrument of torture was miraculously destroyed. The emperor, enraged beyond control, then had her beheaded and angels carried her body to Mount Sinai where later a church and monastery were built in her honour.
Devotion to St. Catherine reached its zenith in the Middle Ages, when she was counted among the Fourteen Holy Helpers. It is then that St. Dominic himself developed his devotion to her. Dominic’s legend claims that St. Catherine appeared to him in a vision.
you have told us that you live for ever
in the hearts of the chaste.
By the prayers of the virgin Catherine,
help us to live by your grace
and remain a temple of your Spirit.
We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, forever and ever. Amen.