Secrets of the Catholic Church: Catherine of Austria

When historians wrote about the downfall of the Ottoman Turks, their research was sadly lacking due to the influence of the Catholic Church.

In 1699, a secret sect of the Catholic Church sent Catherine of Austria to defeat the Turkish sultan, Mehmet IV. He was a very weak ruler. Catherine, who was trained in the art of dual-wielding swords, fought fiercely in the name of God and the Church. The following is a documentation of her quest to fulfill her obligation.

I was walking down the center aisle of Saint Thomas's Cathedral. As I walked down this aisle, I looked up to the Crucifixion of Christ, praying with my rosary in hand. I had been called to the Church by Archbishop Phillpe Leborteaux. I had no clue as to why I was to have this meeting with him, I was somewhat fearful.

When I was directly in front of the Crucifix, I knelt and prayed there. I can remember clearly the events of the entire day. I did not see the Archbishop come up behind me, but I remember him placing his hand on my right shoulder.

His words were, "Bless you, child." Those very words startled me.

"Good eve, Archbishop Leborteaux," I said. The greeting was so vivid in my memory. I remember as though it were yesterday. I stood up and curtsied.

He said, "Do you know as to why I called forth your attention, Catherine?"

I said, "No, Father." He said no more and linked his arm with my own, walking with me to the church office. Bishops Marcus Alexander of England and Henry St. Allengere of France were sitting in two chairs near the Archbishop's desk. I was surprised to see the both of them there. When I was younger, the two would come to Austria to teach me many things, twice a month actually. They would bring me books and historical documents. I would have to say that I was one of the most well educated women in Austria at the time. Yet, what had brought them here at this strange time?

"Father Alexander! Father St. Allengere! What a surprise!" I had said curtsying. One at a time, both bishops hugged me, but I noticed something different about their expressions. Each one had lines of sadness in the deep wrinkles of their faces. Right at that moment, I had the feeling that the meeting that Archbishop Leborteaux called for was not going to be a very happy one. To tell the truth, a feeling of deep dread passed over me.

"Sit down, Catherine, my child," said the Archbishop. I did as I was told by taking a seat near Bishop Alexander. My hands were clasped in my lap and my lips pursed. Bishop St. Allengere looked in my direction and the sadness was obvious in his old blue eyes.

"Catherine, please brace yourself for a bit of news. You have been destined to save this world of the Islamic religion," said the Archbishop. I was deeply shocked by his words.

"Why me, Father?" I asked.

"God has shone all of us, my child," said Bishop St. Allengere.

"Do not worry, Catherine. We all know of your sword fighting skills, so you should do just fine. Your brothers are unmatched in skill and they have passed it down to you. We are confident in you," the Archbishop said.

"Father, I do not know what to say. You have given me an education and approved of my skills in sword fighting, all because God has told you so?" I questioned him. It was my worst quality about me.

"Yes, child. You should feel graced that God has chosen you for this task," the Archbishop replied. I remember being very quiet for a time. This news had all been so strange for me. I really did not know what to say. At one point, I wanted to just stand up and scream at them.

I walked out of Saint Thomas's and headed to my home. I was unmarried and alone. I cooked dinner and thought about the situation. I know the Turks were going to spread Islam all throughout Europe if no one stopped them. I finally accepted it and prepared for the journey.

I was sworn to secrecy by Archbishop Leborteaux. I was to go north to Germany where I would be briefed further for the mission. After the trip to Germany, I would then travel to Istanbul and set up base there. I would keep my eyes open and watch the sultan's movements for a while before I would strike.

When I had arrived in Istanbul, the life of the people was strange, but unique. I was given looks of wonderment, astonishment, and even disgust and hate. I knew I was in a strange place and this was going to be no simple task.

I constantly asked myself why God wanted me to perform this deadly mission. Yes, I did have faith that my Father God would protect me, but that of my stature brought questions to my head. I eventually was forced to give up asking why because a moment of opportunity came abroad.

Sultan Mehmet IV, with his guards at his side, was traveling down the streets of Istanbul. At this point, I was ready to give up on this mission, but when I saw his face, my mind was instantly changed. I decided to openly present myself to the sultan. Not as a Catholic Christian, but as a non-religious devout person. He seemed pleased to meet me, but a bit disappointed that I was not of the Islamic faith. I had shown him my gratitude of how I was treated when I first arrived in Istanbul. He was glad to know that I enjoyed my stay. The sultan was much different that I had expected. He was much nicer and he had not ordered the guards to seize me.

I must have made an unnatural impact on Mehmet IV because he called on me later that evening. I was invited to the palace to sup with him. This was my opportunity to learn more about the man behind the title and how I could bring him to ruin.

Clothes were sent to me from the sultan. A small note was attached that told me this was the proper attire to have an audience with him. I tried the strange outfit on, and odd enough, it fit.

It wasn't long before I was sent for. I was dressed and ready to be received by the sultan. I was taken before Mehmet IV and supped with him. He spoke fluent English like I did, that was how we were able to communicate. We were left alone to have our dinner and speak in private.

I do not remember the entire night, but I do remember now he had gone on and on about the Empire. It was amazing at how much he told me as if we had known each other for years.

In my memory, the palace stood out the most to me. Many objects were made out of gold and gems. Oh how beautiful it was! Mehmet IV had shown me most of the palace after we had eaten.

I had found out a good bit about the sultan that evening. I returned to my living quarters satisfied. My brother Francis, who had accompanied me to this city, was waiting for me and my news. He and I both were excited about all the things I had learned. He was the only person I had told, even though it had been against the swearing. I could not help it. I did not want to be alone on this trip.

I had made much more of an impression than I thought I would. After I had told Francis everything, I went to my room and prayed to God, thanking him for giving such a great opportunity to seize. I was glad my mission was close to coming to an end. I decided to write a letter home, using another name, to tell Archbishop Leborteaux about my current status. There was never a return letter, but I understood this because of the secrecy we needed to under go.

After many weeks, I had enough information about Mehmet IV that I thought was a sufficient amount to turn it against him. I knew he was a great fighter, for I had witnessed him fight another man whom had tried to murder him. I felt the time was just right.

Mehmet IV called on me my final night in Istanbul. I had no clue as to what for. I had not been expecting this invitation to his household that evening. I can remember this night so well. It's vivid in my mind like the meeting with Archbishop Leborteaux.

I had arrived at the sultan's receiving chambers like I usually would on pre-arranged meetings. Yet, I had been called for immediately. This was a much unexpected meeting, but I knew he had something very important on his mind by the way he looked at me that night.

"Catherine, I'm sure that you were not prepared for this meeting, and neither was I really. I'm sorry that I called on such short notice," he said with a calm tone, but he was slipping into his Turkish accent that he had somewhat lost while in my company.

"No, no! It's fine…" I said in return. I did not mind the suddenness of his need to have a meeting with me.

"Are you sure? Because this surely can wait…" he trailed off. I held up my hand, and to my shock, he took it into his own.

"Mehmet? Are you alright?" I asked. He and I were on first name bases. He felt that formalities were not necessary.

"I am fine, Catherine. It's just… I must explain something to you. Come, let us sit down," he said, looking into my eyes. He led me to a couch that we sat down on. He was still caressing my hand and I had a fear of what he was going to say to me.

"All right, there must be something wrong," I said. I did not feel right, but I did not want to pull my hand away from his grasp, that would be rude.

"There is nothing wrong, my friend, nothing at all. I just have something to tell you," he said to me softly.

"What is it?" I asked curiously, but cautiously.

"Catherine, I have fallen in love with you," he said looking at me with so much love in his eyes. I could have sworn he was the weakest ruler in all the history of the Turkish Empire. I had read most of the books on the Empire and none of the sultans had fallen in love with a foreigner.

"Mehmet, I am shocked." I replied after some while. Yet, one thought ran through my head. I had found his ultimate weakness… his love for me. I could attack when I was good and ready to do so.

"Why? I thought it was obvious?" he said. I shook my head. I had not known before. Whatever he had implied for the last couple of weeks was completely unknown to me. He was good at hiding his feelings, or I was bad at reading them. The both of us were silent for a good long while, and he was still holding my hand. It never failed to make me feel uncomfortable.

That evening, I went home and told Francis, and then I prayed to God that He would find a way for me to get around this dilemma. I did not think it was very Christian of someone to betray another after some grand news like that. I did not know what to do. I prayed myself to sleep that night. I had no other choice.

God did not come to my aid that night, so I spent all the next day praying. I had begun to become distressed because God had not answered me. He had not shown me a way out of this problem.

I let another week pass by me. I decided to write a letter to Archbishop Leborteaux. I waited for a reply, but I got none. I was becoming more and more distressed over the situation.

Sultan Mehmet IV called on me more often than he had in the past and I always answered as not to be rude. He was curious of my thoughts on what he had said the other night. I had not told him anything really. I didn't know what to say to him either.

God still had not spoken to me at the end of the third week of stress. I finally received a letter from Archbishop Leborteaux. It told me that I needed to act quickly because the Turks were advancing forward to Germany. I was very worried now. My family was relocated in Germany. I decided on what to do. I had spent nearly a year with the sultan; therefore, I felt that I had plenty of information to destroy him with it.

The plan was to wait for him to call for my company in the next few days. I would go, dressed in my armor and armed with two scimitars.

Sultan Mehmet IV surprised me, yet again. This time, when he sent word, he decided that he would come to my quarters. I would be ready. The note had also stated that he would be alone, meaning no guards. That would make my plan perfect.

Mehmet IV arrived right on time, like he said he would. I was dressed in a dark red tunic, brown trousers, and leather riding boots. Covering my tunic was a chain shirt, given to me by my eldest brother. I prayed it would protect at least a little. Sheathed at my sides were scimitars. The leather sheaths had the Cross on them, and around my neck, I wore a rosary.

"What is this, Catherine?" he asked me carefully.

"This would be your last day in this world, so make peace with your god, my friend," I replied with a touch of spite. He was confused, and I could tell. I remember catching the eyes of my traveling companion and younger brother. He was only fifteen, and he never looked more fearful in his life. The sultan turned around to see who I was looking at.

"Who is this?" he asked.

"My brother Francis," I told him. I pulled out a sword from its sheath. Luckily, Mehmet IV always carried a sword with him for occasions like these.

"Catherine," he said turning from Francis. I stayed silent. I felt ashamed for was I was about to do, very ashamed.

"Catherine, I trusted you with all of my heart and soul, and this is how you repay me? A sword and the sign of a false god? You should feel ashamed," he said. I did feel ashamed, but I wouldn't let on. I remember Francis going up the stairs and staying there.

"Mehmet, you do not understand. I have to do this. Now fight me. If I should die, I shall die for God," I said to him. He nodded his head and unsheathed his sword. I did the same with my other sword.

"Shall we take this to the courtyard?" he asked as he looked out of the window. I nodded and we headed outside to the open courtyard.

The battle was vivid in my memory with every block, every blow, and every connection. He bowed to me before we began. I nodded respectively. This battle was going to our last encounter.

"Before we begin, may I know one fact?" he asked. I nodded to him, but I still took my stance. "Was everything you told me a lie?"

"No, not everything. I was only protecting myself. You know what it is like to have to do something of the likes. Do you not?" He nodded slowly then locked my gaze.

He took a step forward, swinging his blade in the direction of my left arm. I single-parried, bringing my left handed sword up. I thrust to his gut, but he unsheathed a dagger and quickly parried my blow. I was getting a bit angry with him because he was smiling at me. I knew that I must keep my calm, or else I would lose the match quickly.

He swung his blade toward me and I missed the parry. The flat of the blade hit my arm very hard. Intense pain shot up my arm, but I tried to block it out. With my right hand, I swung my scimitar to my left. He readily brought his sword up and the parry. Our blades crashed, and in that very moment, I brought up my left blade, crossing the two.

I shifted my weight forward onto him, pushing him off balance. He tried to regain his footing, but I was already on the offensive. I swung both of my blades in a synchronized motion. The right scimitar was first and the left was second. The right blade connected, but the left did not. I saw the pain in his eyes when my blade cut through his clothing. The wound across his chest barely slowed him down. I was getting worried about my actions. My heart was being ripped to shreds by my actions.

He slashed at me with his sword, the speed very fast and the blow had a good bit of force behind it. It tore open the chain shirt that I had on. It didn't hurt, but it scared me. Our swords clashed a few more times.

Once again, I had struck him. This time, it was across the chest and another across the stomach. In a way, I thought this fight was unfair because I had been equipped somewhat with armor. Yet, he caught my chest again, actually reaching the skin. The pain coursed throughout my body. The warm blood was no comfort either, for it gushed quickly.

The both of us fought gallantly, battering each other to bloody figures. I began to notice him slowing down. He was becoming vulnerable. I took the notice as an opportunity to wear him down. I moved with as much grace as my pained body would allow. I moved quickly and then I noticed again that he was becoming reckless and sluggish. Yet, I could also see anger arise in him. This did not worry me because he became very vulnerable when under the influence of anger. I watched his movements ever so carefully, making sure of myself that I would be able to smite him in a final blow.

It did not take me long. I found the one vital spot that he continually left open for a blow. I carefully side stepped one of his attacks and stabbed him through the side, hitting many organ systems in the process.

Much of the time, he had kept his eyes locked with mine in a deadly gaze. Now, his eyes were filled with much sadness and pain as he fell to the ground. I dropped my bloody scimitars and knelt beside him. The warm blood was flowing out of his wound onto the cobblestone courtyard. I caressed his head in my lap. Before now, I had really had no friends. Now I was truly alone.

"What have I done?" I whispered to him. He smiled up at me but began to cough up blood.

"You have given me a time of supreme happiness," he said weakly. He kissed my hand like a Frenchman. "Say a Christian prayer for me, Catherine." Right at that moment, I knew he had given up his Islamic faith. I felt terrible. So I began.

"The lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside still waters. He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake."

Then Mehmet IV gripped my hand tightly, causing pain to shoot up my arm. I continued on though.

"Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me. Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over."

I could feel Mehmet IV's life fading in my arms, so I still continued on.

"Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever."

Finally, his grip loosened up, but his eyes began to close. He swallowed hard, getting ready for speech.

"Catherine, never forget me…" he said, and then died. I remember the rest of that day as a blur. Francis and I left Istanbul but we were being followed by Turks.

Francis and I reached Germany, where I was supposed to report back, but it was now Turkish Germany. I had to hide, but I had the feeling that I would soon be found. So for that reason, I sent Francis home to my eldest brother and his wife.

That was the only written record that survived the raiding of Catherine of Austria's hideout. There is one other document, one that her brother wrote, that concludes and proves that Catherine had defeated the Turkish sultan Mehmet IV.

"I had seen all of the fierce battle with my own eyes from a window above the courtyard. I helped Catherine escape Istanbul, and I helped hide her away. She had attempted to send me away to Charles and Marie's home in Austria, but I refused to leave.

I looked out for the Turks. I remained well hidden for a long while, but they eventually found Catherine. I didn't know what they would do to her since she was a woman, but I do know she would pay dearly for killing the sultan. For he had no heirs and he killed everyone who ever opposed him. I feared for Catherine's life more than my own.

I remember watching her execution. It was simple. She was beheaded in the middle of the town square. I cried for her, for she was my favorite sibling. After I was sure the Turks were gone, I took her body and burned it. I was the only person that knew of her mission for God. I believed it was the bravest thing anyone could have done.

There would be no recognition for her heroic act, but I knew that one day she would be renowned for her courageous nature.