Martyr (d. ca. 300)
+ According to tradition, Vitus was the son of a Sicilian senator, who had been raised as a Christian by his tutor, Modestus, and his nurse, Crescentia.
+ After Vitus’ father discovered that his son was a Christian, Vitus fled with his two companions to southern Italy and they eventually made their way to Rome.
+ Vitus, Modestus, and Crescentia were martyred by order of the emperor Diocletian around the year 300. Devotion to Saint Vitus was widespread throughout Europe, especially during the Middle Ages.
+ For centuries, Vitus has been honored as the patron of those suffering from seizures and “Saint Vitus’ Dance,” a common name for epilepsy and other neurological conditions. He is also honored as a patron saint of dancers and actors.
For prayer and reflection
“I am certain that neither death nor life, neither angels nor principalities, neither the present nor the future, nor powers, neither height nor depth nor any other creature, will be able to separate us from the love of God that comes to us in Christ Jesus our Lord.”—Romans 8:38-39
On this day, we also remember Barbara (who is also known as “Parui”), who was born in Xiotian, Hebei, China. A wife and mother, she was a faithful member of the apostolic vicariate of Southeastern Zhili (in modern-day China). Imprisoned and tortured during one of China’s period persecutions of Christians, she was executed on June 15, 1900. Saint Barbara Cui Lianzhi was canonized with other Chinese martyrs in 2000.
Grant to your Church, O Lord, we beseech you, through the intercession of your holy martyrs, Vitus, Modestus, and Crescentia, not to be proud, but to advance in that humility which is pleasing to your sight, that, condemning evil things, she may practice with overflowing charity those things that are right. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
(from The Roman Missal [1962 Edition])
Saint profiles prepared by Brother Silas Henderson, S.D.S.