Which has, over on the left side, this elegant figure:
At first I assumed she was a wealthy patron who had funded the altarpiece, but I quickly discovered that she was St. Catherine of Alexandria-- an educated, unmarried woman who was martyred for winning religious debates against the smartest men in town. When I gave my presentation, my professor also remarked that she is the patron saint of milliners and couture house workers, and that for a long time St. Catherine's day was a big celebration for the seamstresses in Paris.
When you visit her Wikipedia page, you find that she is also the patron saint of unmarried women (particularly those over 25), archivists, educators, and librarians. She is most commonly depicted as fashionably dressed, with blonde hair worn "unbound" (aka down with no product / blowdrying necessary).
|Sure babies are cute, but I'm trying to read over here|
Basically the only way this woman could be more my saint would be if she was literally the patron of fashion historians in mid-sized cities.
So I would like to make St. Catherine's Day (today, November 25th) a thing. Since she is fashionable and looks out for those who make fashion, obviously dressing up is required. Her patronage of milliners meant that hats were a big part of the celebration in France. So wear a hat or something cool atop your free-flowing, unbound locks-- and raise a glass to the archivists, librarians, and educators that keep our society running.
|Catherinettes in Paris, 1909|
The last thing I need to get this holiday going is reclaiming the St. Catherine's day prayer. A lot of the traditional festivities seem to simultaneously celebrate and shame unmarried women over 25. There are several versions of the "I need a husband!" prayer that you can read on the Wikipedia page, but the most basic one goes like this:
St Catherine, St Catherine, O lend me thine aid, And grant that I never may die an old maid
Blech. Here are a few I've come up with:
St Catherine, St Catherine, O lend me thine aid, And grant that there be no moths in this jacket with gold brocade
St Catherine, St Catherine, O lend me thine aid, And grant that, just for being a woman, I am not underpaid
St Catherine, St Catherine, O lend me thine aid, And grant me the words to throw mine enemies some epic shade
St Catherine, St Catherine, O lend me thine aid, And see that another Poehler/Fey movie one day gets made