Saint Catherine: Christian Martyr

St.Catherine of Alexandria, daughter of King Costus and Queen Sabinella rulers of Alexandria.  She was well versed in the arts, sciences and of philosophy.  She was raised a pagan, and in her teenage years turned to Christianity, receiving a vision in which the Blessed Virgin Mary gave her to Christ in a mystical marriage.

Catherine attempted to convince the Roman Emperor; Maxentius, the error of his ways, by persecuting Christians who refused to worship idols.  He called upon his philosopher’s to show her his beliefs, as Catherine won debate after debate, she won through.  A number of her adversaries, declared themselves Christians, and were put to death.

Catherine was imprisoned, hundreds visited her including the wife of Maxentius; the Empress.  All who converted to Christianity were martyred.

Maxentius, had Catherine tortured, but she would not yield, he proposed marriage, she refused; Jesus Christ be my spouse.

An outraged Maxentius condemned her to death on the spiked breaking wheel, but this instrument of torture was destroyed by her touch.  Maxentius ordered that she be beheaded.

The corpse of Saint Catherine, a 4th century Christian martyr was carried to Mount Sinai, by angels.

In the 6th century, Emperor Justinian created Saint Catherine’s Monastery in Egypt.  The church was built between 548-565, as the site attracted thousands of pilgrims.

In the 15th century France, the young “Joan of Arc” only thirteen years of age at the time, believed she had heard the words of God, speak to her.  She had been chosen by God, to lead France to victory, in its war with France.

Joan of Arc repeatedly said, Saint Catherine had come to her, in her time of need, offering her words of encouragement.

Joan had been chosen by God, aged just thirteen, burned at the stake, aged nineteen.  She became one of history’s great saints… a French martyr and patriot.

A Scottish legend tells of a pilgrim who dropped a single drop of oil, which had come from Mount Sinai.  The oil used to embalm St. Catherine of Alexandria, was on route to Queen Margaret.  From a single drop of oil, grew a healing spring.

An ointment from this well was an effective treatment in skin complaints and burns.  The well was visited by many Scottish monarchs.  In 1504, James IV visited, in 1617 James VI ordered a well-house complete with steps for easy access be constructed, following his visit.

In 1650, destruction came to the well at the hands of Cromwell’s troops.  In 1889, a new well-house was built.

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