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November 25


Saint of the day:
Saint Catherine of Alexandria

Patron Saint of students, unmarried girls, apologists, Lawyers, Librarians, Philosophers, Students, Teachers

Saint Catherine of Alexandria’s Story

According to the Legend of St. Catherine, this young woman converted to Christianity after receiving a vision. At the age of 18, she debated 50 pagan philosophers. Amazed at her wisdom and debating skills, they became Christians—as did about 200 soldiers and members of the emperor’s family. All of them were martyred.

Sentenced to be executed on a spiked wheel, Catherine touched the wheel and it shattered. She was beheaded. Centuries later, angels are said to have carried the body of Saint Catherine to a monastery at the foot of Mt. Sinai.

Devotion to her spread as a result of the Crusades. She was invoked as the patroness of students, teachers, librarians and lawyers. Catherine is one of the 14 Holy Helpers, venerated especially in Germany and Hungary.







St Catherine of Alexandria

(d. 305, Alexandria, Egypt) (Relics: Mount Catherine, Egypt)

Saint Catherine’s Monastery

Mount Catherine, Egypt

*This is the oldest continually inhabited Christian monastery in the world. It has never been destroyed and can trace its history back seventeen centuries.  Tradition claims that this monastery rests upon the land where God spoke to Moses in the burning bush and at the foot of the mountain where Moses received the Ten Commandments.

*As for the relics of St Catherine a tradition claims that a monk at this monastery saw in a vision angels carrying the body of St Catherine to the top of the highest mountain in Sinai. The monks then miraculously found her body as the vision indicated and subsequently buried her body in this monastery.  Today these relics rest within a marble reliquary at an altar to the right of the main sanctuary.

*In the early 11th century the monk, Symeon Pentaglosses, brought one finger of St Catherine of Alexandria to Rouen, France. A church was built to house this relic. Since that time, however, this French church has been destroyed and the relic lost.


Churches of Honor in Rome


Basilica di San Clemente (Basilica of Saint Clement)

Via di San Giovanni in Laterano

Rome, Italy

*This church is east of the Colosseum.

*The chapel located in the back left corner of the nave is dedicated to St Catherine of Alexandria.

*The remains of St Clement I (d. 97) and of St Ignatius of Antioch (d. 107) rest beneath the main altar.

*Also a chapel on the right side of the nave is dedicated to Saints Cyril (d. 869) and Methodius (d. 885). The extant remains of St Cyril rest within the altar of this chapel.


Sant'Agostino (Saint Augustine)

Piazza Sant'Agostino

Rome, Italy

*This church is near Piazza Navona.

*The first chapel on the right side of the nave is dedicated to St Catherine of Alexandria.

*Relics of St Monica (d. 387) rest in the chapel to the left of the main altar.


Sant'Antonio dei Portoghesi

(Saint Anthony of the Portuguese)

Via dei Portoghesi 2

Rome, Italy

*This church is northeast of Piazza Navona.

*The first chapel on the right side of the nave is dedicated to St Catherine of Alexandria.


Santissima Trinita dei Spagnoli

(The Most Holy Trinity of the Spanish)

Via dei Condotti 41

Rome, Italy

*This church is near the Spanish Steps.

*Three paintings within the second chapel on the right side of the nave depict scenes from the life of St Catherine of Alexandria.


Santa Caterina dei Funari (Saint Catherine of the Funari)

Via dei Funari

Rome, Italy

*This church is near the Jewish quarter and it is dedicated to St Catherine of Alexandria. It is not open often.

*A painting of the martyrdom of St Catherine of Alexandria is placed above the main altar.

Santa Caterina della Rota (Saint Catherine of the Rota)

Via di San Girolamo della Carità 80

Rome, Italy

*This church is near Piazza Farnese and it is dedicated to St Catherine of Alexandria. It is not open often.

Read about Saint Catherine

View art of Saint Catherine

See the monistary of  Saint Catherine

The Legend of the Fourteen Holy Helpers 

A group of saints invoked with special confidence because they have proven themselves efficacious helpers in adversity and difficulties, are known and venerated under the name Fourteen Holy Helpers. Devotion to these fourteen as a group spread in response to the Black Plague which devastated Europe from 1346 to 1349. Among its symptoms were the tongue turning black, a parched throat, violent headache, fever, and boils on the abdomen. It attacked without warning, robbed its victims of reason, and killed within a few hours; many died without the last Sacraments. Brigands roamed the roads, people suspected of contagion were attacked, animals died, people starved, whole villages vanished into the grave, social order and family ties broke down, and the disease appeared incurable. The pious turned to Heaven, begging the intervention of the saints, praying to be spared or cured. This group devotion began in Germany--the Diocese of Wurzburg having been renowned for its observance. Pope Nicholas V attached indulgences to devotion of the Fourteen Holy Helpers in the 16th century.



German Winter Roasted Goose with Glazed Chestnuts

Ingredients for 4 people

  • 1 whole goose, 4.5 – 4.8 kg in weight

  • 4 peeled, cored and quartered apples

  • 3 large onions, peeled and quartered

  • salt

  • rosemary 

  • mugwort

  • some white pepper from the mill

  • Approx. 2 l water


  1. Preheat the oven to approx. 300F/150°C.

  2. Take the goose and remove excess fat from the cavity; cut off the wings from at the first joint and remove the neck from the body.

  3. Clean and dry the goose; add salt, pepper and mugwort to the cavity, before filling with the apples and onions. Rub the skin with salt, and place in a suitable roasting dish or clay pot. Fill the roasting dish with water until approx. 1/3 of the goose is submerged in water; place the goose parts with the goose in the roasting tray.

  4. Now cook the goose in the oven for approx. 2 hours.

  5. If too much liquid remains in the roasting tray, pour it away, then heat the oven to 180°C (350F)-195°C. Baste the goose with its own fat every five minutes until it is wonderfully crispy after approx. 30 minutes.

  6. Your goose will be ready to serve after a total of 2.5 hours in the oven.

  7. Remove the excess stock from the fat and cook with some red wine. Then thicken the stock with some mixed starch.

​Glazed Chestnuts

  • Ingredients

  • 500 g shelled chestnuts

  • 100 g sugar

  • ¼ l red wine

  • Some salt

  • 1 bay leaf

  • 5 cloves

  • some thyme

  • 1 onion


  1. Heat a small pan and gradually add the sugar.  Stir with a wooden spoon until the sugar has caramelised. Add the chestnuts and deglaze with red wine.

  2. Now add the spices and the onion, and cook for approx. 10-15 minutes until the chestnuts are soft.

  3. Potato dumplings and red cabbage go well with the goose.

Cheesy Wagon Wheel Pasta Bake



  • 8 ounces mini wagon wheels 

  • 6 tablespoons butter, divided

  • 4 tablespoons flour

  • 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or to taste

  • 2 cups milk or part half-and-half or light cream

  • 2 tablespoons chopped green onion tops, optional

  • 2 cups shredded mild or sharp cheddar cheese

  • 1 cup panko bread crumbs or soft fine bread crumbs



  1. Cook macaroni following package directions. Drain in a colander and rinse with hot water; set aside.

  2. Heat the oven to 350 F.

  3. Butter a 2-quart baking dish.

  4. In a saucepan, melt 4 tablespoons of butter over medium-low heat. Stir flour into the butter until smooth and bubbly. Cook for 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Add the dry mustard, salt, and pepper; blend well. Gradually whisk the milk into the roux and continue cooking until thickened. Add the green onions, if using, along with the cheese; stir until smooth.

  5. Combine the drained pasta wheels and the sauce; turn into the prepared baking dish.

  6. Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter and toss with the bread crumbs until thoroughly coated.

  7. Sprinkle the buttered bread crumbs over the casserole.

  8. Bake for about 25 minutes, or until the pasta mixture hot and bubbly around the edges and the topping is lightly browned.


Catherine wheel toad-in-the-hole with honey & mustard onions


  • 120g plain flour

  • 3 large eggs

  • 275ml semi-skimmed milk

  • 12 linked chipolatas or 1 large coiled Cumberland sausage

  • 2 tbsp sunflower oil

  • 4 rosemary or thyme sprigs, picked into smaller sprigs

  • mash and veg, to serve (optional)

For the honey & mustard onions

  • 1 tbsp sunflower oil

  • 2 large red onions, halved and thinly sliced

  • 2 tbsp plain flour

  • 2 tsp English mustard powder

  • 1 chicken stock cube

  • 2 tbsp honey

  • 2 tbsp wholegrain mustard


  1. Mix the flour, eggs and milk in a jug with 1/2 tsp salt, then set aside for at least 30 mins. Heat oven to 400F/220C/200C fan/gas 7.

  2. Untwist the links between each sausage, keeping them connected. Squeeze the meat to fill in the gaps, so you have one long sausage. Coil the sausage loosely and put in a large skillet or ovenproof frying pan (ours was 25cm wide.) Pour over the oil and brown in the oven for 12-15 mins.

  3. Remove the pan from the oven and carefully lift out the sausage. Pour the batter into the pan, then put the sausage back on top, scatter with the herbs and return to the oven for 25-30 mins without opening the door – the Yorkshire pudding will sink if you do.

  4. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a frying pan and cook the onions for 10 mins or until starting to caramelize. Stir in the flour and mustard powder and crumble in the stock cube. Stir in 500ml water bit by bit until you get a smooth sauce, then add the honey and mustard and season. Bubble for 5 mins, then serve with the toad-in-the-hole and mash and veg, if you lik


Cattern Cakes
Saint Catherine's Wheel

- In the UK our Lace Makers are celebrating their Saint’s Day and “Cattern Cakes” are the speciality of the day; “Cattern cakes” are spiced with cinnamon, lightly fruited and flavored with caraway seeds; they were traditionally made by the English Nottingham lace makers for the festivities on their special feast day. The recipe goes back to Tudor times and has changed little over the centuries, although they are sometimes made with yeasted dough. Also known as Catherine Cakes, after Catherine of Aragon.

Cattern Cakes are still specially prepared for St. Catherine’s Day in the UK by Lace makers for their special day, and are traditionally washed down with Hot Pot – a hot mixture of rum, beer and eggs. However, I find that I prefer mine with a cup of tea! These delicious little cakes are more like a soft and slightly chewy biscuit or cookie and I find the addition of caraway very refreshing, but then I love seed cake.



  • 275g self-raising flour

  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon

  • 25g currants

  • 50g ground almonds

  • 2 tsp caraway seeds (optional)

  • 200g caster sugar

  • 100g melted butter

  • 1 egg, beaten

  • Extra caster sugar and cinnamon for sprinkling


  1. Preheat the oven to 200C/Fan 180C/Gas 6

  2. Put all of the dry ingredients into a bowl.

  3. Add the butter and beaten egg and mix well to give a soft dough.
    You might need to add a few drops of water at this point to help the mixture come together.

  4. Roll out into a rectangle until the dough is about 1cm thick.

  5. Brush the dough with water and sprinkle over the cinnamon and sugar.

  6. Roll up like a swiss roll and cut into 2cm slices.

  7. Place on a baking sheet leaving plenty of space as the biscuits will spread.

  8. Bake for about 10 minutes.

  9. Leave to cool completely.


Other Traditions



Green & Yellow Hats, 

Old Maid at the age of 25,
and Chocolate!

In the UK it is a special day for lace makers while in France it is special day for young unmarried women. In France on St Catherine’s Day, young unmarried women are encouraged to pray for a husband (Before reaching 25, a girl would pray for a ‘mari de bon lieu!” (a well-situated husband)) ~ these young women are called “Catherinettes” (what a truly wonderful name) and as well as the special name, family and friends make them outlandish and rakish hats in vivid colors such as yellow (for faith) and green (for wisdom), these hats are then worn all day as a “crown” of their spinsterhood. The Millinery trade in France has also chosen this day to show off their latest hat designs, with more than a passing nod to the nation’s unmarried hat-wearing young ladies! 


Plant a Tree?


Saint Catherine’s Day - traditionally a very eventful day.......
- ‘A la Sainte-Cathérine, tout bois prend racine.’ On St. Catherine’s Day (25th November) all wood takes root.

This oft-quoted saying implies that the climatic conditions are right for planting trees and shrubs on that day!

The Angel Oak Tree of  South Carolina

May your tree take root and live as long as the old angel oak.

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