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A story for every day...

Christ knocks at the door of our heart.

Saint Catherine and the 50 scholars.

Saint Catherine (ca. 289-307) was a descendant of a royal family, possessed immense property and a very thorough knowledge. When the emperor Maximin came to Alexandria, he had the Christians who did not want to sacrifice to the gods dragged off to prison. According to the legend, Saint Catherine entered the temple of the idols where Maximin was, and proved him wrong with a magnificent speech. Maximin, who had gone from being a simple shepherd to an emperor, was astonished at the science of this young girl and exclaimed, «Sounds like another Plato!» Then asking her who she was, she replied, «I am the daughter of your predecessor.» The emperor had her taken to prison and gathered the greatest scholars of his time to publicly discuss with the Christian girl. Fifty philosophers were summoned and sought to defend paganism, citing the greatest poets and highest philosophical authorities. But Catherine refuted their arguments with other quotations from the same sources, so that her opponents had to recognize her superiority. Exasperated, the emperor had Catherine tortured; lying on a wheel, it broke, as is recalled by the iconography of the Saint. Finally she was beheaded. According to tradition, her body was buried on Sinai and since the 8th century it has been in the monastery that Saint Helena had built on that mountain and which is called «Monastery of Saint Catherine».

Saint Catherine had received from the Holy Spirit the gift of science to defend the truth of Christianity.

The virgin Domitilla.

Flavia Domitilla was engaged to the nobleman Aurelian, son of a Roman consul, and wasted a lot of time taking care of her beauty. One day while she was adorning herself, Nereus, her Christian slave, said to her: «Oh! Domitilla, if you employed as much time to adorn your soul for the divine Betrothed, what happiness would be your share!» This singular warning touched the proud Roman woman deeply; she inquired about Christianity and became a Christian. Later, she was denounced by her former fiancé and condemned to death (around the year 100) with her two slaves Nereus and Achillea: the three were beheaded after having endured various torments.

The Christian slave of Saint Domitilla had the gift of wisdom; she had recognized that the unalterable beauty of the soul is more valuable than the beauty of the body which withers in a short time.

Other stories...