Wednesday, November 26, 2008

St. Catherine of Alexandria

In honour of my name saint ... a day late, but hopefully of use next year!

A Few Facts

Timeline: died c.305 at Alexandria, Egypt
Feast day: November 25th
Patronage includes: lacemakers, librarians, unmarried girls, educators, students and schoolchildren
Colours: St. Catherine's colours are green for wisdom and yellow for faith

The story of St. Catherine is legendary and for this reason her name was removed from the calendar of saints in 1969. It was reinstated in 2002 and she is now considered an intercessor for unity between the western and eastern Churches, where she is greatly venerated.

Things to Read


  • Saints for Young Readers (Susan Wallace)
  • Lion Treasury of Saints
  • A Story of St. Catherine of Alexandria by Brother Flavius (Neumann Press)
Picture Study

Traditions associated with St. Catherine

Lacemaking was an important occupation here in Bedfordshire, and "Cattern's Day" was an important holiday for the lacemakers. Cattern's Day marked the point of the year at which lacemakers The day was celebrated with "Cattern cakes" and the custom of jumping over a lighted candlestick. This was the origin of the rhyme:
Jack be nimble, Jack be quick
Jack jump over the candlestick
The tradition of making and eating Cattern Cakes dates back to the saint's namesake Catherine of Aragon, the first wife of King Henry VIII ...
The origin of [Cattern Cakes] was the concern of Catherine of Aragon, who when hearing the plight of the lace makers of Bedfordshire, burnt all her lace and commissioned new lace, thus keeping the lace makers employed. There after the lace makers contributed to a fund that provided tea and cakes on this day.
In France, heart shaped cakes are given on St. Catherine's Day to unmarried women over the age of 25 to encourage them to find love. The women are called "Catherinettes" and wear green and yellow hats.

Food for St. Catherine's Day

Craft Ideas:


O God Who gavest the Law to Moses on the summit of Mount Sinai,
and didst miraculously place the body of Thy blessed virgin-martyr Catherine
in the selfsame spot by the ministry of Thy holy angels,
grant, we beseech Thee, that her merits and pleadings
may enable us to reach the mountain which is Christ.
(Collect of St.Catherine from traditional Roman Lectionary)

Almighty and eternal God,
who gavest to Thy people the invincible virgin and martyr Saint Catherine,
grant that, by means of her intercession,
we may be strengthened in faith and constancy,
and spend ourselves unsparingly
in working for the unity of Thy Church.
(New collect of St. Catherine from Roman Lectionary)

St. Catherine, St. Catherine, O lend me thine aid
And grant that I never may die an old maid.

Finally ...

Check out St. Catherine on Facebook!


Meredith said...

Very cool, thanks for all the great and happy namesake, she's a beautiful saint!! Hugs to you!

Meredith said...

that was supposed to say "thanks for all the great links and a happy namesake day for you" to fast on the send button ....

Tori said...

This has excellent and useful information on St. Catherine. It was very helpful, and definitely came in handy. Thank you whoever published this : )