Virgin, Martyr, Patroness of Students and Young Girls († Fourth Century)
Catherine was a noble virgin of Alexandria, born in the fourth century. Before her Baptism, she saw in a dream the Blessed Virgin asking Her Son to receive her among His servants, but the Divine Infant turned away, saying she was not yet regenerated by the waters of Baptism. She made haste to receive that sacrament, and afterwards, when the dream was repeated, Catherine saw that the Saviour received her with great affection, and espoused her before the court of heaven, with a fine ring. She woke with it on her finger.
Saint John of the Cross was born near Avila in Spain. As a child, he was playing near a pond one day. He slid into the depths of the water, but came up unharmed and did not sink again. A tall and beautiful Lady came to offer him Her hand. No, said the child, You are too beautiful; my hand will dirty Yours. Then an elderly gentleman appeared on the shore and extended his staff to the child to bring him to shore. These two were Mary and Joseph. Another time he fell into a well, and it was expected he would be retrieved lifeless. But he was seated and waiting peacefully. A beautiful lady, he said, took me into Her cloak and sheltered me. Thus John grew up under the gaze of Mary.
Saint Clement is a Roman of noble birth, the son of the Senator Faustinian. Saint Paul speaks of him in his Epistle to the Philippians, chapter 4, assuring that Clement had worked with him in the ministry of the Gospel, and that his name was written in the Book of Life. Later Saint Clement was consecrated bishop by Saint Peter himself. He succeeded in the supreme office to Saint Linus, the immediate successor to Saint Peter, and the Liber Pontificalis says that he reigned nine years, two months and ten days, from 67 to 76, …until the reign of Vespasian and Titus.
It was, we may say, with the words of the Apostles still resounding in his ears that he began to rule the Church of God; he was among the first, as he was among the most illustrious, in the long line of those who have held the place and power of Peter. Living at the same time and in the same city with Domitian, persecutor of the Church, and having to face not only external foes but to contend with schism and rebellion from within, his days were not tranquil. The Corinthian Church was torn by intestine strife, and its members were defying the authority of their clergy. It was then that Saint Clement intervened in the plenitude of his apostolic authority, and sent his famous Epistle to the Corinthians. He reminded them of the duties of charity, and above all of submission to the clergy. He did not speak in vain; peace and order were restored. Saint Clement had done his work on earth, and shortly after sealed with his blood the Faith which he had learned from Peter and taught to the nations.
Les Petits Bollandistes: Vies des Saints, by Msgr. Paul Guérin (Bloud et Barral: Paris, 1882), Vol. 13; Little Pictorial Lives of the Saints, a compilation based on Butler’s Lives of the Saints and other sources by John Gilmary Shea (Benziger Brothers: New York, 1894).
Spiritual Bouquet: Let us consider one another, to arouse each other to charity and good works. Heb. 10:24
The Lord says: “I think thoughts of peace, and not of affliction. You shall call upon Me, and I will hear you; and I will bring back your captivity from all places.”
You have favored, O Lord, Your land; You have restored the well-being of Jacob. V. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost. R. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen. The Lord says: “I think thoughts of peace, and not of affliction. You shall call upon Me, and I will hear you; and I will bring back your captivity from all places.”
It is under the emperor Alexander Severus that this young Saint, one of the most fragrant flowers of Christian virginity and martyrdom, suffered for the Faith she had chosen; to choose it was at that moment as certain an end to earthly felicity as it is a guarantee, at every epoch, of the eternal felicity of those who remain faithful to it. Cecilia was the daughter of an illustrious patrician, and was the only Christian of her family; she was permitted to attend the reunions held in the catacombs by the Christians, either through her parents’ condescension or out of indifference. She continually kept a copy of the holy Gospel hidden under her clothing over her heart. Her parents obliged her, however, despite her vow of virginity, which most probably they knew nothing of, to marry the young Valerian, whom she esteemed as noble and good, but who was still pagan.