Virgin and Martyr (d. ca. 361)
+ Bibiana (or Viviana) was born in Rome and was the daughter Saints Flavian and Dafrosa, who suffered martyrdom during the reign of Julian “the Apostate.”
+ Bibiana and her sister, Demetria, were handed over to a woman named Rufina who tried to force the girls into prostitution. Because she refused to allow herself to be sold, Bibiana was eventually beaten to death.
+ A church was later build over Bibiana’s grave and devotion to the virgin-martyr spread throughout Rome and beyond. She has come to be honored as a patron saint of those suffering from headaches and epilepsy because an herb growing near the church dedicated to her was used to help treat these illnesses.
For prayer and reflection
“Behold, now she follows the Lamb who was crucified for us, powerful in virginity, modesty her offering, a sacrifice on the altar of chastity.”—Entrance Antiphon for the Mass in honor of a Virgin-Martyr
On this day we also remember Blessed Ivan Sleziuk. A Ukrainian Greek Catholic priest, he was named consecrated as co-adjustor bishop of Ivano-Frankivsk by Blessed Hryhoriy Khomyshyn (d. 1947) in April 1945. On June 2, 1945, Bishop Sleziuk was arrested by Communist authorities and sentenced to forced labors camps in Russia, he was repeatedly arrested and released, enduring interrogation by the KGB until his death on December 2, 1973. Blessed Ivan was beatified with other martyrs “Killed under Communist Regimes in Eastern Europse” in 2001.
O God, the giver of all good gifts, in Your servant Bibiana You joined the flower of virginity with the palm of martyrdom; be pleased, by her intercession, to join our souls by charity to You, so that all dangers being removed, we may obtain our eternal reward. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, who lives and reigns with You in the unity of the Holy Spirit, for ever and ever. Amen.
(from The Roman Missal [1962 edition])
Saint profiles prepared by Brother Silas Henderson, S.D.S.