Catharine lived in early Christian times. She was the daughter of a wealthy pagan couple of
St. Catharine was only eighteen when Emperor Maxentius began persecuting the Christians. Fearlessly, the lovely young Christian woman went to tell him what she thought of his cruelty. When he spoke of the pagan gods, she very plainly showed him that they were false. Maxentius could not answer her arguments. Therefore, he sent for fifty of his best pagan philosophers. Once again, it was Catharine who proved the truth of her religion. All fifty philosophers were convinced that she was right. In great fury, Maxentius had every one of them killed. Next, he tried to win her by offering her a queen's crown. When Catharine absolutely refused it, he had her beaten and thrown into prison.
While Maxentius was away at camp, his wife and an officer were very curious to hear this amazing Christian girl speak. They went to her cell. The result was that they and two hundred soldiers of the guard were converted. For this, they were all put to death. Catharine herself was placed on a wheel full of spikes to be tortured to death. When the wheel began to spin, it mysteriously snapped in two and fell apart. Finally, St. Catharine was beheaded.
Saint Catharine is the patroness of Christian philosophers and students.