Saint Agapetus

Saint Agapetus

Martyr
(† 274)

Saint Agapetus suffered in his youth a cruel martyrdom at Praeneste, now called Palestrina, twenty-four miles from Rome. He had dared to reproach for his cruelty towards the Christians, one of the Emperor Aurelian’s favorites, who immediately gave the order to arrest him. He was flogged with leaden-tipped straps and scorpions; his constancy and his prayer under torture converted five hundred pagans, who declared themselves Christians and were executed at once. The young martyr was thrown into a horrible prison where a celestial vision fortified him. After a second questioning, he was again scourged, then laid upon the rack that his body might be torn with iron nails.

He still lived and was again ordered to sacrifice to Apollo; his refusals won for him still more torments: live coals on his head, suspension by his feet, boiling water poured over him. His courage was superhuman, his answers admirable. Wild beasts in the arena spared him and lay down at his feet, and still more pagans were converted. He was finally beheaded, and his body buried by the Christians, in a field where they found a new tomb prepared as though for his sepulchre. Two churches in Palestrina and others in various places are dedicated to God under his name.

Les Petits Bollandistes: Vies des Saints, by Msgr. Paul Guérin (Bloud et Barral: Paris, 1882), Vol. 10

Saint Helen

Saint Helen

Empress
(† 328)

It was the pious boast of the city of Colchester, England, for many ages, that Saint Helen was born within its walls; and though this honor has been disputed, since others say she was born in York, it is certain that she was a British princess. She married a Roman General, Constantius Chlorus, and became the mother of Constantine the Great. She embraced Christianity late in life; but her incomparable faith and piety greatly influenced her son Constantine, the first Christian emperor, and served to kindle a holy zeal in the hearts of the Roman people. Forgetful of her high dignity, she delighted to assist at the Divine Office amid the poor; and by her almsdeeds showed herself a mother to the indigent and distressed.

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Saint Hyacinth

Saint Hyacinth

Missionary Preacher and Thaumaturge
(† 1257)

Saint Hyacinth, named the glorious Apostle of the North, was born of noble parents in Poland, about the year 1185. In 1218, as a Canon of Cracow he accompanied the bishop of that region to Rome. There he met Saint Dominic and soon afterward was one of the first to receive the habit of the Friar Preachers, in a group clothed by the patriarch himself. He became a living copy of his dear master. The church was his only chamber, and the ground his only bed. So wonderful was his progress in virtue that within a year Dominic sent him with a small group to preach and plant the Order in Poland, where he founded two houses.

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