A Hymn to St Catherine of Alexandria
As she is one of the patrons of the Order of Preachers and one of the saints believed to have appeared to our Holy Father St Dominic in a vision, I present here a hymn in honour of St Catherine of Alexandria from the Dominican Breviary, Catharinae collaudemus. It may be sung to the tune of the Tantum ergo and is supplied here in translation:
Catherine's virtues of high station
Praise we in this serenade:
Homage true of veneration
By our lips and hearts be made,
That by her in due equation
For our praise we be repaid.
Strengthened by a faith unbounded,
Pagan judge inspires no dread:
With God's law were they confounded
Who had sought her fall instead:
'Fore the doctrine she expounded
All their gentile errors fled.
Strives the king - but vain his luring -
This pure maiden to defile:
Scourges leave her faith enduring,
Nor could royal grants beguile:
Guarded then and chains securing,
Closed was she in dungeon vile.
Though imprisoned, her light shining
Won to Faith the captain bold:
He, with his own queen combining,
Bravely mid Christ's friends enrolled;
In their wake, for Truth now pining,
Ten score pagans seek the fold.
Sing, my tongue, the glory telling
Of this virgin-martyr's fray:
May this gem, its light dispelling,
Down upon us shed some ray,
That all darkness in the dwelling
Of our soul may speed away.
When her passion near was nighing,
Prayed the maid: "Most loving Lord,
Whoso in this hour of dying,
Mindful of me, seeks reward;
What he asks, I pray Thee sighing,
Do Thou graciously accord."
When her head was amputated,
Milk flowed forth instead of blood:
Then her body was translated
By the angel multitude,
And on Sinai's Mount located
At its highest altitude.