Martyrs (d. 270)
+ According to ancient tradition, these four martyrs were members of the same family (a husband, wife, and two sons).
+ The four traveled from Persia to Rome, hoping to help Christians facing persecution there.
+ Arrested for the crime of burying martyred Christians, they were brought before a magistrate who was unable to convince them to deny their faith. Marius and his two sons were beheaded on the Via Cornelia and their bodies were burned. Martha was murdered in a place called Nymphae Catabassi, thirteen miles outside of Rome.
+ A Roman lady named Felicitas was able to gather what was left of the martyrs’ remains and secretly buried them on her estate. A church was later built over the site of the grace and became a place of pilgrimage.
+ Although the feast of these martyrs was removed from the General Roman Calendar in 1969, their names are still included in the Roman Martyrology (the Church’s official list of saints).
Today marks the 150th anniversary of the death of Venerable Frederic Baraga. Born in Slovenia in 1797, Frederic came to the United States as a missionary priest at the invitation of Bishop Fenwick of Cincinnati, Ohio. He served among the Ottawa and Ojibway peoples of Michigan and Wisconsin and composed catechisms, prayer books, and dictionaries for the Native American converts.
In 1853, Frederic was appointed bishop of the diocese of Sault Sainte-Marie (now Marquette), Michigan. His letters to the Society of the Propagation of the Faith inspired many Europeans, including Saint John Neumann, to become missionaries in the United States.
Frederic Baraga was declared “Venerable” in 2012.
“A relationship exists between God and us, we who are little. God is great and we are little… when God wants to choose people, [he] always chooses the little ones. He says to his people: I chose you because you are the littlest, those with the least power among the peoples.”—Pope Francis
Almighty ever-living God,
who gave Saints Marius, Martha, Audifax, and Abachum
the grace of suffering for Christ,
come, in your divine mercy, we pray,
to the help of our own weakness, that,
as your Saints did not hesitate to die for your sake,
we, too, may live bravely in confessing you.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
(from The Roman Missal: Common of Martyrs—For Several Martyrs)
Saint profiles prepared by Brother Silas Henderson, S.D.S.