Martyr and penitent, listed in some records as the daughter of the king of Cyprus. Afra was caught up in the persecutions of Emperor Diocletian in Roman Augsburg. She is listed in the Martyrology Hieronymianum. Afra possibly operated a brothel in Augsburg or served as a prostitute in the temple of Venus, living with her mother, Hilaria, and serving women Eunomia, Eutropia, and Digna. When the persecutions started in Augsburg, Bishop Narcissus of Gerona, Spain, arrived in the city and took lodging with Afra and Hilaria, not knowing their profession. His holiness attracted the women, who converted. When officials came looking for the bishop, Afra hid him under a pile of flax. Afra and her household were baptized, and her uncle Dionysius was ordained as a bishop. Arrested, Afra was burned to death, tied to a tree on the small island of Lech. She was buried in Augsburg and her mother erected a chapel for her tomb. Soon after, Hilaria and her serving women were burned alive in their house. Afra's remains were buried in a church named after her. Pilgrims visited her shrine as early as 565. In 1012, the Benedictine monastery of St. Ulrich and St. Afra displayed her sarcophagus. The Acts of Afra give an account of her martyrdom.
St. Rita was born at Spoleto, Italy in 1381. At an early age, she begged her parents to allow her to enter a convent. Instead they arranged a marriage for her. Rita became a good wife and mother, but ... continue readingMore Saint of the Day
Although we have evidence that Agatha was venerated at least as far back as the sixth century, the only facts we have about her are that she was born in Sicily and died there a martyr. In the legend of her life, we are told that she belonged to a rich, important ... continue readingMore Female Saints
St. Michael the Archangel - Feast day - September 29th The name Michael signifies "Who is like to God?" and was the warcry of the good angels in the battle fought in heaven against satan and his followers. Holy Scripture describes St. Michael as "one of the chief ... continue reading
The name Gabriel means "man of God," or "God has shown himself mighty." It appears first in the prophesies of Daniel in the Old Testament. The angel announced to Daniel the prophecy of the seventy weeks. His name also occurs in the apocryphal book of Henoch. He was the ... continue reading
Founder of the Franciscan Order, born at Assisi in Umbria, in 1181. In 1182, Pietro Bernardone returned from a trip to France to find out his wife had given birth to a son. Far from being excited or ... continue reading
By Justin Soutar
During his visit to the United States this coming September, Pope Francis will canonize Blessed Junipero Serra, the heroic 'Apostle of California.' Once that happens, the Golden State will have its own patron saint and the Church will have another great missionary role ... continue readingMore Christian Saints & Heroes