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Saint Maurice and the Theban Legion

Soldiers and saints: Jesus wants us all to be saints


Public Domain

Martyrs – (d. ca. 287)

Their story

+ Maurice was an officer of the Roman Empire’s famed Theban Legion which, according to tradition, was made up of Christian soldiers.

+ While traveling to Gaul to suppress an uprising there, the soldiers were ordered to offer sacrifices to the Roman gods for the success of their mission. Refusing to obey, the Christian soldiers were massacred by their fellow soldiers.

+ Devotion to Saint Maurice and his soldier-companions dates back to the fourth century and their supposed relics are enshrined in various places in Europe. Saint Maurice is honored as the patron saint of the Swiss Guard and the United States Army Infantry, as well as being celebrated as one of the patrons of Austria and Sardinia.

Spiritual bonus

In 1664, Saint Maurice appeared to Benoîte Rencurel as part of the series of apparitions of the Blessed Virgin Mary that have come to be known as “Our Lady of Laus.” The vision of Saint Maurice took place near a ruined chapel that had once been dedicated to the saint and, during the vision, the martyr told the young shepherdess to take her flock to the Valley of Kilns, where she would see the Mother of God. The apparitions of Our Lady of Laus were approved by the Holy See in 2008.


“As gold in the furnace, the Lord put his chosen to the test; as sacrificial offerings he took them to himself; and in due time they will be honored, and grace and peace will be with the elect of God.”—Wisdom 3:6-7, 9


May the sight of the great number of your holy Martyrs gladden us, O Lord, making our faith stronger and bringing us consolation by the prayers of them all. 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)

Profiles prepared by Br. Silas Henderson, S.D.S.

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