The first mention we have of these three martyrs who died around 258 A.D. comes in the sixth century in the writings of Saint Gregory of Tours.
Denis (or Dionysius as he is also called) is the most famous of the three. Born and raised in Italy, he was sent as a missionary to Gaul (now France) circa 250 A.D. by Pope St. Clement along with five other bishops.
Denis made his base of missionary activity an island in the Seine near the city of Lutetia Parisorium -- what would become Paris. For this reason he is know as the first bishop of Paris and the Apostle of France. There he was captured by the Parisians along with Rusticus and Eleutherius. Later writers have referred to these as Denis' priest and deacon, or his deacon and subdeacon, but we have no further information on them.
After a long imprisonment and several aborted executions, the three martyrs were beheaded with a sword and their bodies were thrown into the river. Denis' body was retrieved from the Seine by his converts and buried. The chapel that was built over his tomb grew into the abbey of Saint-Denis.
In the ninth century, Denis' story and identity became fused and confused with Dionysius the Areopagite and Pseudo-Dionysius, but later scholarship has re-established his identity as a separate saint.
Denis is pictured as he was martyred -- headless (with a vine growing over the neck) and carrying his own mitred head.
Recognized since the time of St. Gregory as a special saint of Paris, Denis is the patron saint of France.
"Jesus loved Martha and Mary and Lazarus." This unique statement in John's gospel tells us of the special relationship Jesus had with Martha, her sister, and her brother. Apparently ... continue readingMore Saint of the Day
St. Josephine Bakhita was born in Sudan in 1869. This African flower, who knew the anguish of kidnapping and slavery, bloomed marvelously in Italy, in response to God's grace, with the Daughters of Charity, where everyone still calls her "Mother Moretta" (our Black ... 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
Ansgar was born of a noble family near Amiens. He became a monk at Old Corbie monastery in Picardy and later at New Corbie in Westphalia. He accompanied King Harold to Denmark when the exiled ... continue reading
By Deacon Keith A Fournier
On July 15th in the Liturgical Calendar of the Latin Rite of the Catholic Church, we commemorate the life, holiness, work and death of a great Bishop and Doctor named Bonaventure. He was born in 1218, became a Franciscan Friar in 1243, and died in 1274. A friend ... continue readingMore Christian Saints & Heroes