Ever since I was a little girl and learned how much some of the saints have suffered through the centuries they have been an inspiration. Martyrs of the Catholic Church have some of the most fascinating stories to tell. Regardless of how I felt as a child, in spite of my pain which had no conscious source until a couple years ago – these saints helped me to know that no matter how bad it was (a) it could always get worse, and (b) if it does get worse, God will help me through it. At least I am not being burned to death like many martyrs. St Lawrence was burned on a grill and the famous quote is, “you can turn me over, I am done cooking on that side.” Then there is St. Lucy, whose eyes were gouged out as part of her torture. St. Margaret of Antioch was also a daughter of a pagan priest who converted to christianity. She was tortured when she refused to marry a pagan prefect, was swallowed by a dragon, and eventually was beheaded.
Below I share a few saints and blesseds who persevered in leaning on God throughout their painful lives:
Bl Laura Vicuna –
- April 5, 1891 to January 22, 1904
- Patroness of abuse victims
- Born in Chile, died in Argentina
- Aristocrat family, but father died during the revolution
- Her mother found work with Manuel Mora and became his mistress in order to fund her daughters education at a catholic school
- Mora was very abusive, physically beating and making sexual advances on Laura
- Laura wanted to give her life for her mother to leave Mora and repent her decision to be his mistress. This happened when she became ill after being severely abused. She was too weakened from the abuse; and was abused while she was sick from pulmonary tuberculosis.
- Laura told her mom of her promise to God that she would give her life for her mother’s salvation and her mother did repent and go back to the church.
St. Maria Goretti
- Born in 1890, died at 11 years old after her “friend” attempted to rape her.
- This boy, Allesandro, stabbed her 14 times and she lived for several days after the attack
- Some say she was in fact raped, others say not.
- She forgave her rapist/murderer, and because she did, her father was able to also
- Read more about St. Maria Goretti
St. Germaine Cousin
- Born in France 1579
- Feast day is June 15
- After her mother’s death, her father remarried. This woman must be the “evil stepmother” so many stories contain
- http://www.stgermaine.com/germaine.htm This links to a page that tells St. Germaine’s story, it is worth it to read what the poor girl went through!
- Another link to her story
- Lived during the 7th century
- St Dymphna is the patron saint of people with mental illness and nervous disorders. May 15th is her feast day!
- She was an Irish princess, father was a pagan king, mother was christian
- After her mother died, her father felt such grief that he sought for another woman that looked like his former wife, when nobody could be found he desired his own daughter.
- St Dymphna consecrated her life and virginity to Christ
- She fled to Geel with her confessor and a few servants, her father, Damon, eventually found her.
- Damon had the priest killed and beheaded his own daughter!
- A link to the story of St. Dymphna and the national shrine in Ohio
- Lived during the 4th century
- Saint Barbara’s father built a tower to keep his beautiful daughter. – kind of like Rapunzel
- Her father was also pagan, and very jealous
- St. Barbara is said to have been converted by a priest who would walk past her tower singing prayers and Bible verses
- Her father was so enraged at his daughter’s conversion that he had her tortured. When she would not give in, he beheaded her himself.
- Her father was then struck by lightning and died on the spot!
- More about St Barbara: http://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=166
- Lived during the 3rd century
- Beautiful and pursued by many rich and important men, she consistently denied any advances because of her desire to remain a virgin and give her life to God
- One high ranking man, determined to have her and renounce her christian beliefs, brought her before the court. This was the time of christian persecutions under Decius.
- St. Agatha was imprisoned in a brothel for a month. You can imagine what she was subjected to during that kind of imprisonment!
- When St Agatha would not renounce her faith, she was tortured more – including having her breasts cut off! He refused to give her medical treatment. God comforted her with a vision of St. Peter, legend has it that her breasts were healed during this vision.
- More about st. Agatha: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Agatha_of_Sicily
St. Josephine Bakhita
- 1869 – 1947
- Born in Sudan, kidnapped by Arab slave traders, eventually given freedom in Italy where she learned about Catholicism and became a nun
- Though she converted later in life, she always believed in one God and “knew in her heart” of Him
- She was branded over 100 times during her slavery with the use of flour and salt that was rubbed in the wounds
- More about St. Josephine: http://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=5601
I hope you find some of these amazing people as inspirational as I do!