Annual service honors University namesake, celebrates the illuminating power of knowledge.
The seats in Our Lady of Victory Chapel filled with students, alumni, faculty, staff, and community members gathered to mark the Feast of St. Catherine. Participants lit tapers and listened to lessons from the lectern about the life of a 4th century noblewoman whose martyrdom would inspire thousands of women to seek their own wisdom to change the world.
“Wisdom is looking for a home, looking for people with whom to dwell,” said Joan Mitchell, CSJ ‘62 during the service. “Wisdom finds that home in Saint Catherine and this University. It is a mirror that gives us this capacity within our learning to bring the world outside within us, where it can expand our inner vision and expand within us our hopes.”
In the Catholic tradition, Saint Catherine of Alexandria was a fourth-century Alexandrian noblewoman and scholar. She suffered martyrdom for her faith after defeating the Roman emperor Maxentius in debate. Historically, St. Catherine was a composite of several Christian women of Alexandria who defied Roman authority and were punished for their faith. St. Catherine today 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.
“We need the light of wisdom to propel us forward,” said Becky Roloff ‘76, president of St. Catherine University. “We want everyone to remember the importance of being your own light in the world, and helping others’ lights shine too. The more wisdom we have, the more open our minds are to new ideas, and to change.”
Light, the symbol of knowledge
The Feast of St. Catherine also launches the holiday season for St. Catherine University. Lights sparkled from trees around campus and lined the footbridge over Dew Drop Pond. Alfred E. Smith provided the generous gift to keep these lights aglow throughout the holiday season. It was a gift given in memory of his wife, Lucille Crea Smith ‘52.