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In the middle of the third century, a plague spread through much of the Roman Empire. The illness was so lethal and so contagious that in just one day five thousand died from it in Rome. The plague was similarly catastrophic in Alexandria, Egypt. Frightened by the disease, many of the pagan residents abandoned those among them stricken with it, casting them into the streets to die alone. The dead were left unburied, filling the city with the stench of death. Amid these horrors, many of Alexandria's persecuted Christians, the clergy and the laity, voluntarily came forward to nurse the dying pagans as well as their own plague victims. These Christians knew the grave danger of contagion to which they were exposing themselves. Many contracted the plague from those they had tended. The bishop of Alexandria who recorded these events, Saint Dionysius, regarded the Christians who died from the plague in this manner as virtual martyrs of Christian charity in having sacrificed their lives to nurse those who had persecuted them. Their identity as martyrs was later promulgated in the Church's book of recognized saints, the Roman Martyrology.


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St. Anne

Also called Euphemianus, a widow, born in Constantinople. From a good family, Anne was forced to marry. When widowed, she assumed a male disguise and the name of Euphemianus. As this male, ... continue reading

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St. Catherine of Bologna

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St. Paschal

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Sts. Joachim and Anne

By tradition Joachim and Anne are considered to be the names of the parents of Mary, the Mother of God. We have no historical evidence, however, of any elements of their lives, including their names. Any stories about Mary's father and mother come to us through legend ... continue reading

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St. Michael the Archangel

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Saints Fun Facts for St. Joan de Lestonnac

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Bl. Odoric of Pordenone

  Franciscan missionary and traveler. Born Odoric Mattiussi at Villanova, near Pordenone, Italy, he entered the Franciscans in 1300 and became a hermit. After several years, he took to preaching in the region of Udine, northern Italy, attracting huge crowds ... continue reading



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Pope Francis continues tradition of blessing two lambs in memory of St. Agnes

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