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St. Martina


Name: St. Martina
Date: 30 January

Saint Martina, a Roman virgin, was the child of a noble Christian consul, of whom it was said thathe was extremely merciful towards the poor, and very zealous for faith in the Most Holy Trinity.His daughter lost both her parents while she was still very young, and for love of Christ shedistributed all she inherited to the poor, that she might be more free to hasten towards martyrdom,during the persecution which had recently begun.

Under the emperor Alexander Severus she was discovered in a church one day by three officers ofa search party, and commanded to follow them to a temple of Apollo. She cheerfully agreed,saying she would do so after praying for a short time and taking leave of her bishop. The officersreported their important capture to the emperor, believing she would readily renounce her faith.But when he ordered her to speak, she replied that she would sacrifice to none other than the trueGod, and never to idols, the handiwork of men. She was tortured by iron hooks, but herexecutioners were thrown to the ground amid a great light as she prayed, and arose converted,like Saint Paul, to the Christian faith.

She was tormented again the following day before the emperor, cruelly scourged while attachedby her hands and feet to posts. When, one day later, she was taken to a temple of Diana, thedemon left amid horrible screams. Fire from heaven fell and burnt the idol, which in tumblingcrushed many of its priests and pagan worshipers. Saint Martina, after suffering other tortures andbeing spared by an enraged lion and a fiery furnace, was finally beheaded. Her death occurred onJanuary 1st during the fourth year of Alexander Severus.

Her relics were found in 1634, during the papacy of Urban VIII, near the Mamertine Prison, withthose of several other martyrs. All were placed in a beautiful church dedicated to Saint Martina inthe Roman Forum. Urban VIII spared no efforts in promoting her veneration; and through hissolicitude the Office was enhanced with hymns for Matins and Lauds. In these we read that hersoul rose to heaven, where she was seen afterwards upon a royal throne, while the Blessed sangpraises to God.


Source: Les Petits Bollandistes: Vies des Saints, by Msgr. Paul Guérin (Bloud et Barral: Paris,


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