Martyrs: d. ca. 304
+ Donatian and Rogatian were brothers and lived in Nantes, France.
+ Donatian, the younger brother, was a Christian and had been arrested for professing his faith in public. Rogatian, who was a believer but who had not yet been baptized, was also soon arrested and imprisoned.
+ After spending a night in prayer, the brothers were tortured and beheaded. Saint Rogatian is honored for having received “baptism by blood.”
+ Devotion to the saints dates back to the time of their death and they are especially honored in Brittany, where they are known as Les Enfants Nantais.
+ The current Basilica of Saints Donatian and Rogatian in Nantes, France, was built in the 19th century on the site of an ancient shrine of the two saints.
It is recorded that Saint Donatian was baptized by Saint Similian, the third bishop of Nantes. Similian survived the persecution that claimed the lives of many Christians, including Donatian and Rogatian, and he was revered for his courage and dedication to his people, even in the face of suffering and death: “To protect his flock, this good shepherd repeatedly withstood the rage of the wolves. They had bitten him and he suffered there. With God’s help he could always escape them or even tame them.” His memory is celebrated on June 16.
“These who are clothed in white robes are they who survived the time of great distress and have washed their robes in the blood of the Lamb.”—Revelation 7:13-14
By the power of the Holy Spirit we pray, Almighty God: make us docile in believing the faith and courageous in confessing it, just as you granted the blessed Martyrs Donatian and Rogatian that they might lay down their lives for the sake of your word and in witness to Jesus. 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 During the Easter Season)
Saint profiles prepared by Brother Silas Henderson, S.D.S.