Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

Short Cuts

Facts

Feastday: Febuary 11


Sts. Saturninus, Dativus and other Marytrs Martyrs in Africa Febuary 11 A.D. 304     The emperor Dioclesian had commanded all Christians, under pain of death, to deliver up the holy scriptures to be burnt. This persecution had raged a whole year in Africa; some had betrayed the cause of religion, but many more had defended it with their blood, when these saints were apprehended. Abitina, a city of the proconsular province of Africa, was the theater of their triumph. Saturninus, priest of that city, celebrated the divine mysteries on a Sunday, in the house of Octavius Felix. The magistrates having notice of it, came with a troop of soldiers, and seized forty-nine persons of both sexes. The principal among them were the priest Saturninus, with his four children, viz. young Saturninus and Felix, both Lectors, Mary--who had consecrated her virginity to God--and Hilarianus, yet a child; also, Dativus--a noble senator--Ampelius, Rogatianus, and Victoria. Dativus, the ornament of the senate of Abitina, whom God destined to be one of the principal senators of heaven, marched at the head of this holy troop. Saturninus walked by his side, surrounded by his illustrious family. The others followed in silence. Being brought before the magistrates, they confessed Jesus Christ so resolutely, that their very judges applauded their courage, which repaired the infamous sacrilege committed there a little before by Fundanus, the bishop of Abitina, who in that same place had given up to the magistrates the sacred books to be burnt; but a violent shower suddenly falling, put out the fire, and a prodigious hail ravaged the whole country.     The confessors were shackled and sent to Carthage, the residence of the proconsul. They rejoiced to see themselves in chains for Christ. and sung hymns and canticles during their whole journey to Carthage, praising and thanking God. The proconsul, Anulinus, addressing himself first to Dativus, asked him of what condition he was, and if he had assisted at the collect or assembly of the Christians. He answered, that he was a Christian, and had been present. The proconsul bid him discover who presided and in whose house those religious assemblies were held, but without waiting for his answer, commanded him to be put on the rack and torn with iron hooks to oblige him to a discovery. They underwent severally the tortures of the rack, iron hooks, and cudgels. The weaker sex fought no less gloriously, particularly the illustrious Victoria; who, being converted to Christ in her tender years, had signified a desire of leading a single life, which her pagan parents would not agree to, having promised her in marriage to a rich young nobleman. Victoria, on the day appointed for the wedding, full of confidence in the protection of Him, whom she had chosen for the only spouse of her soul, leaped out of a window, and was miraculously preserved from hurt. Having made her escape, she took shelter in a church; after which she consecrated her virginity to God, with the ceremonies then used on such occasions at Carthage, in Italy, Gaul, and all over the West. To the crown of virginity, she earnestly desired to join that of martyrdom. The proconsul, on account of her quality, and for the sake of her brother, a pagan, tried all means to prevail with her to renounce her faith. He inquired what was her religion. Her answer was: "I am a Christian." Her brother, Fortunatianus, undertook her defense, and endeavored to prove her a lunatic. The saint, fearing his plea might be the means of her losing the crown of martyrdom, made it appear by her wise confutations of it, that she was in her perfect senses, and protested that she had not been brought over to Christianity against her will. The proconsul asked her if she would return with her brother? She said: "She could not, being a Christian, and acknowledging none as brethren but those who kept the law of God." The proconsul then laid aside the quality of judge to become her humble suppliant, and entreated her not to throw away her life. But she rejected his entreaties with disdain, and said to him: "I have already told you my mind. I am a Christian, and I assisted at the collect." Anulinus, provoked at this constancy, reassumed his rage, and ordered her to prison with the rest, to wait the sentence of death which he not long after pronounced upon them all.     The proconsul would yet try to gain Hilarianus, Saturninus's youngest son, not doubting to vanquish one of his tender age. But the child showed more contempt than fear of the tyrant's threats, and answered his interrogatories: "I am a Christian; I have been at the collect, and it was of my own voluntary choice, without any compulsion." The proconsul threatened him with those little punishments with which children are accustomed to be chastised, little knowing that God himself fights in his martyrs. The child only laughed at him. The governor then said to him, "I will cut off your nose and ears." Hilarianus replied: "You may do it; but I am a Christian." The proconsul, dissembling his confusion, ordered him to prison. Upon which the child said, "Lord, I give thee thanks." These martyrs ended their lives under the hardships of their confinement, and are honored in the ancient calendar of Carthage, and the Roman Martyrology, on the 11th of February, though only two (of the name of Felix) died on that day of their wounds.     The example of these martyrs condemns the sloth with which many Christians in this age celebrate the Lord's Day. When the judge asked them, how they durst presume to hold their assembly against the imperial orders, they always repeated, even on the rack: "The obligation of the Sunday is indispensable. It is not lawful for us to omit the duty of that day. We celebrated it as well as we could. We never passed a Sunday without meeting at our assembly. We will keep the commandments of God at the expense of our lives." No dangers nor torments could deter them from this duty. A rare example of fervor in keeping that holy precept, from which too many, upon lame pretences, seek to excuse themselves. As the Jew was known by the religious observance of the Sabbath, so is the true Christian by his manner of celebrating the Sunday. And as our law is more holy and more perfect than the Jewish, so must be our manner of sanctifying the Lord's Day. This is the proof of our religion, and of our piety towards God. The primitive Christians kept this day in the most holy manner, assembling to public prayer in dens and caves, knowing that, "without this religious observance, a man cannot be a Christian," to use the expression of an ancient father.


St. Saturninus Comments




More Saints





Browse Saints by Category


Popular Saints

Rank

Saint

57.

Image of St. Martha

St. Martha

"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. ... continue reading | shop

58.

Image of St. Bridget

St. Bridget

St. Bridget arrived in Ireland a few years after St. Patrick. Her father was an Irish lord named Duptace. As Bridget grew up, she became holier and more pious each day. She loved the ... continue reading

59.

Image of St. Katharine Drexel

St. Katharine Drexel

Saint Katharine Drexel, Religious (Feast Day-March 3) Born in 1858, into a prominent Philadelphia family, Katharine became imbued with love for God and neighbor. She took an avid interest ... continue reading | shop

All Popular Saints

Saint of the Day

Image of St. Bridget of Sweden

St. Bridget of Sweden

Saint Birgitta was the daughter of Upplandís Lagman, Birger Petersson and his wife, Ingeborg, who was a member of the same clan as the reigning family. Birgittaís family was pious; her father went to ... continue reading

More Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day by E-Mail

Saint of the Day newsletter icon

Learn about the lives of the saints and other saint resources, including a calendar, over 5,000 saint biographies, our most popular saints, and a list of patron saints. 7 days / week. See Sample


Required


Female Saints

Image of St. Anastasia

St. Anastasia

- "excerpts taken from Victories of the Martyrs," by St. Alphonsus de Liguori Taken from the Acts of St. Anastasia, who is mentioned in the Canon of the Mass, and commemorated by the Church [old calendar] on December 25, St. Anastasia was a spiritual child of St. ... continue reading

More Female Saints



Saint Calendar
Saint Feast Days
Saint Fun Facts

Angels

Image of St. Michael the Archangel

St. Michael the Archangel

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


Image of St. Gabriel, the Archangel

St. Gabriel, the Archangel

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



Saints Fun Facts

Saints Fun Facts for St. George

St. George

Pictures of St. George usually show him killing a dragon to rescue a beautiful lady. The dragon stands for wickedness. The lady stands for God's holy truth. St. George was a brave martyr who was ... continue reading

Saints Fun Facts for St. Pius V

St. Pius V

Pope from 1566-1572 and one of the foremost leaders of the Catholic Reformation. Born Antonio Ghislieri in Bosco, Italy, to a poor family, he labored as a shepherd until the age of fourteen and then ... continue reading



Christian Saints & Heroes

Image of Bonaventure was a friend and a disciple of Francis. When he looked at Francis he saw Jesus Christ. Bonaventure, like his friend Francis, was also a mystic. To him the Spirit of Francis is the Spirit of Jesus and

In the Major Legend, St. Bonaventure Points us to St Francis - and the Lord Jesus Christ

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 reading

More Christian Saints & Heroes


Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Jeremiah 1:1, 4-10
1 The words of Jeremiah son of Hilkiah, one of the ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 71:1-2, 3-4, 5-6, 15, 17
1 In you, Yahweh, I take refuge, I shall never be put ... Read More

Gospel, Matthew 13:1-9
1 That same day, Jesus left the house and sat by the ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for July 23rd, 2014 Image

St. Bridget of Sweden
July 23: Saint Birgitta was the daughter of Upplandís Lagman, Birger ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter