On November 25, we celebrate the feast of St. Catherine of Alexandria, one of the many martyrs of the Church. Born to the pagan king and queen of Alexandria in 282 AD, Catherine, beautiful and intelligent, refused to marry unless a man could surpass her in looks and intelligence, and thus she remained a virgin her whole life. At age fourteen, she received a vision of Mary in which the Blessed Virgin gave her to Christ in a mystical marriage. She then became an ardent Christian. Catherine converted hundreds of people to Christianity, including the best pagan philosophers, whom she convinced after winning a debate on the immorality of persecuting Christians. The Roman Emperor Maxentius, who made Catherine and the philosophers debate, was so angered by his defeat he had her imprisoned and scourged. He even offered to end her suffering if she would just marry him, but Catherine refused, saying that Jesus was her spouse. Maxentius then decided that she would be killed by torture on the breaking wheel. However, at first touch the wheel miraculously broke, and Catherine was therefore beheaded.