Celebrating the Feast of Saint Catherine Online
Each fall, the University community celebrates the Feast of Saint Catherine of Alexandria, the patron saint of students, philosophers, and scholars. This year, although we may be distant, we still feel the warmth of our collective radiant wisdom.
On Monday, November 23, we observed the Feast of Saint Catherine online, contributing our reflections on the radiant wisdom of our University's namesake, and on those who bring a similar light to our lives.
Those of you who shared your answers will be entered into a drawing for one of 25 Feast of Saint Catherine prize boxes!
Winners will be notified and prize boxes will be mailed the week of November 30, and a selection of submissions will be displayed here in early December. Email addresses and mailing addresses will be kept confidential.
D'Ann Urbaniak Lesch:
Nan Skelton '66
At the end of his life, my brother shared his gratitude and love with each family member or friend who visited. It was a gift to all of us to remember to share those words aloud.
Meridith Chevalier Lee '70:
Sr. Kevin O’Hara
Lisa Barnes, student:
My sisters, who teach and heal others with compassion and remind me to stay grounded and value time, family, and friends above the rest.
Mary Vrabel '76:
Montessori education! Watching children joyfully prepare themselves for life with the support of their Montessori guides was illuminating and gives me great hope. "Within the child lies the fate of the future."
Ellen Blackman Green '67:
Two of my teachers at St. Kate’s inspired and taught and delighted me for more than 50 years: Sister Mary Virgina and Catherine Lupori.
Mary (Ruda) Yapp '93:
All the women who encouraged me to look within, dig deep and stand firm. I am a better person today because of the path they forged and the way they have lifted me upon their shoulders to continue their good works.
Rebecca Arredondo, student:
My oldest sister has an inherent maternal instinct that has played a pivotal role in my journey to maturity and self-identification through Christ.
Andrea Hitz, student:
Always and forever my mother.
Lauren Burns, student:
My amazing, beautiful, and strong mother.
Hilary Novacek Bundt '08:
My beloved grandfather always said, “Drive safe, don’t cut anyone off and don’t beep your horn!” Meaning: Be safe, watch out for other people, and have compassion for all those around you. His wisdom will continue to radiate."
Wisdom comes through experiences, connections, reflections. It can also arrive unbidden, an unexpected gift. Wisdom is Love in action, a call to all to listen to your heart.
The passage of time. The light of wisdom is an ongoing, fluid experience of life and prayerful reflection.
Sarah Grecula '12:
Libraries, from our town's tiny county library to larger Minnesota libraries and eventually to the St. Catherine library where I spent so many hours working on my coursework. I am so thankful for not only the books, but the librarians that have guided me to resources I needed to grow.
Nature! When I need to think on an issue or just need a break, I go on walks around campus. I am always humbled and cheered by the natural world. The light of wisdom shining from such sights clears my head and steadies me.
Carla Pliego Java, student:
My parents have shared their stories and personal wisdom. They are my greatest inspiration to move forward.
Kay Sullivan Bendel '56:
Catherine Lupori first radiated wisdom in the literature and writing classes I took at St. Kate's. She most made me aware of the disparities in life and the urgency and responsibility to do something about them.
Nancy JP Anderson '01:
Etty Hillesum: "Inside me is a deep well and in it dwells God." (paraphrase)
Mary T Connelly, CSJ '86:
My immigrant Irish grandmother, Mary Brennan Conroy.
Mary T Connelly, CSJ '86:
Marian Walstrom, my novice director remains the light of wisdom in my life since 1980.
Katie Larson, student:
My mother, therapist, and doctor have all been radiating wisdom as I navigate my first pregnancy! I have been blessed to have people I can go to to discuss concerns and worries as well as celebrate!
Barbara Caron '72:
My two younger sisters are wise, caring, and supportive and keep me sane during these challenging times.
Cathy Steffens, CSJ:
Theology teachers, theology classes, prayer, and rituals.
Kayla Langworthy, student:
Ashely Xiong, student:
Every essential worker.
Teigan Bosarge, student:
My grandfather, who recently passed away, shared the value of cultivating a spirit of positivity in everything you do.
Maclairen Strong, student:
Many of my professors have radiated the light of wisdom and have shared this wisdom with me so that I can share it with others.
Nancy Cosgriff '59:
Sister Lucina (Katherine Kessler) and Sister Mary Davida Wood were both admirable women and amazing musicians, guiding their students with affirmation and encouragement.
Melody Kosbab, student:
My roommate Maisie is one of the kindest, funniest, smartest women I know — encouraging me to do well in school and to continue having fun.
My parents have always been a guiding light to me in my spirituality, relationships, and education. My father was actually my physics teacher and taught me about light radiating. (He also guided my punny humor.)
Gertrud Mueller Nelson '58 continues to inspire through her work. An expert in liturgy and Jungian psychology, she has much to say about nature and the cycle of the seasons as the grounding for spiritual life; and the value of personal, family, and community rituals.
My little brother Zac, who passed away from cancer at age 11, showed me how to never give up and to never lose faith.
Sara Peterson, student:
My grandma, who lives every day like it's her last. She does everything she can to be the best person possible and always shares her wisdom and advice.
Mackemeh Kamara, student:
Megan Perkins, student:
My teammates have created a stable and welcoming support system and have shown me how a positive outlook and determination can make a seemingly bleak situation something that can be conquered if we work to lift each other up.
Maria Tice '81:
St. Catherine's wisdom-source, her love of God, continues to seize generations of women. I am grateful for all the Katies of my past and present, and the wisdom and inclusive love that future generations of Katie leaders will bring to a world longing for justice and peace.
My father's advice whenever I make a big decision: make the best choice you can with the information you have, and make the best of the repercussions of that choice.
My mother, Marian Halloran and her mother, who I never met but has been a constant presence in my life through story.
Maddie Ross, student:
My family has helped to guide me through difficult decisions and hard times. They have shaped me into who I am today and I am beyond grateful for them.
My professor and mentor, Dr. Jocelyn Bessette Gorlin has radiated the light of wisdom into my life with her gentle guidance and passing on of knowledge about being a fair, kind and effective professor.
Heidi Martinson, student:
My mother, Inga Martinson
Cathy Steffens, CSJ '67:
Thank you to the Theology Department faculty for continuing to engage students in vital discussions of the Divine and in Catholic Social Teaching.
Julia Giardina Shawhan '90:
My daughter has introduced me to so many new ideas, from intersectionality, to public speaking, to microbiology, with patience and enthusiasm.
Mother Teresa. "Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless."
Ruth Bader Ginsburg. May her light continue to shine!
Windy Johnson '99:
My friend Peg Jones has been a great friend and supporter, working together in the ministry.
Felicia Marie Thomas, student:
My Great Aunt Edna (102 years old) shares stories of the challenges she has endured throughout her life and how each and every time she and society have overcome them.
L. Ziliak, student:
Books can take you anywhere. They challenge you to think about and explore the world and are the ultimate guide to knowledge!
All of my residents at Carondelet share their life stories, personal wisdom, and inspiration, granting me a great deal of insight into the world around us.
Sister RoseAnn Fox, CSJ, who is now an angel in heaven shining down on us.
Feast of Saint Catherine Reading List
All books are available through the St. Catherine University Library.
- Imperial Saint: The Cult of St. Catherine and the Dawn of Female Rule in Russia, Gary Marker, 2007
- The Cult of Saint Katherine of Alexandria in Late-Medieval Nuremberg: Saint and the City, Anne Simon, 2012
- The Life of Saint Katherine of Alexandria, John Capgrave
- The Cult of St. Katherine of Alexandria in Early Medieval Europe, Walsh, Christine.
- St. Katherine of Alexandria: Texts and Contexts in Western Medieval Europe
- The Legend of St. Catherine of Alexandria, Sister Eleanore Michel, 1967 (CSJ author!)
Fiction and Poetry
- De sainte Katerine : An Anonymous Picard Version of the Life of St. Catherine of Alexandria, The life of St. Catherine written as poem in Old French from Picardy region, translated into English by William MacBain
About Saint Catherine
In the Catholic tradition, Saint Catherine of Alexandria was a fourth-century Alexandrian noblewoman, Christian, and scholar. She suffered martyrdom for her faith after defeating the Roman emperor Maxentius in debate.
Historically, St. Catherine is in fact a composite of several women of Alexandria who defied Roman authority and were punished for their faith. In venerating the figure of St. Catherine, we honor these extraordinary women.
Today St. Catherine serves as the patron saint of students, philosophers, and scholars. For this reason, she was chosen by the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet as the namesake of our University.