for his faith - twice
by Jan Rynearson
Birthplace: Narbonne, Gaul
Feast Day: Jan. 20
Patron of athletes, soldiers, police and physicians
Claim to Fame: According to tradition, Sebastian
was born in the third century. He attended school in Milan, Italy
as a boy. When he was a young man, Sebastian became concerned about
the persecution of Christians. Hoping to find opportunities to encourage
them, Sebastian joined the Roman army in 283. While keeping his
own Christianity a secret from army leaders, he discreetly converted
many Romans. Sebastian also covertly urged wavering Christians to
remain true to their faith as the threat of persecution escalated.
Best quote: Although we have no record of Sebastian’s
words, it is said that he appeared in a vision to a Christian woman
named Lucina. When she learned of Sebastian’s martyrdom, she
recovered his body and had it properly buried in the catacombs,
an underground Christian cemetery beneath the city of Rome.
How he died: When Sebastian’s faith was
eventually discovered, he was sentenced to death by Emperor Diocletian.
Tied to a stake, Sebastian was shot with arrows. His executioners
left him for dead, but he survived. A Christian widow named Irene,
who had come to bury Sebastian, nursed him back to health instead.
Undeterred by his previous suffering, Sebastian confronted Diocletian
and denounced his atrocities against Christianity. The emperor was
surprised to see Sebastian alive, but the ruler did not repent.
Instead, he ordered Sebastian to be beaten to death with clubs,
and his body thrown into a sewer.
Prayer: Dear Saint Sebastian, you chose to be
a soldier of Christ and dared to spread the faith - for which
you were condemned to die. May we have the same strength of faith.