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. Thomas was a Jew, called to be one of the twelve Apostles. He was a dedicated but impetuous follower of Christ. When Jesus said He was returning to Judea to visit His sick friend Lazarus, Thomas ... continue readingMore Saint of the Day
Gemma Galgani was born on March 12, 1878, in a small Italian town near Lucca. At a very young age, Gemma developed a love for prayer. She made her First Communion on June 17, 1887. As a pupil at the school run by the Sisters of St. Zita, Gemma was loved by her teachers ... 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
When Alfred Bessette came to the Holy Cross Brothers in 1870, he carried with him a note from his pastor saying, "I am sending you a saint." The Brothers found that difficult to believe. Chronic ... 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