Weninger’s Lives of the Saints – Saint Cassian, Martyrs

Saint Cassian of ImolaArticle

On the same day, though at another place, Saint Cassian suffered a martyrdom of unprecedented cruelty. This saint, was bishop of Brescia, but had been banished from his See on account of his faith. He intended to go to Rome and offer the Pope his services for the salvation of souls in some other place. On his way, he changed his mind, and taking up his residence at Imola, a town in Italy, he resolved to teach children to read and write, hoping that occasion would not be wanting to do good. In this apparently humble position, he was no less zealous than he had been in the administration of his diocese. He taught the children with love and gentleness, and endeavored to inspire them with respect for the Christian faith, fear and horror of sin, and love of virtue and piety. He continued in this occupation with great zeal for some years, to the great benefit of young and old, when suddenly a terrible persecution of the Christians arose. He was one of the first who were taken prisoners. The tyrant commanded him to sacrifice to the gods. The holy bishop and teacher refused, as might have been expected, and tried to convince the judge of his fearful blindness in worshipping dumb idols or making gods of godless men. The tyrant, furious at his arguments, ordered the executioners to strip him of his clothes and tie his hands behind his back, and leave him exposed to the mercy of the children whom he had taken such pains to teach. The children, who had been taught that Cassian was a magician and consequently must die a most painful death, took their sharp iron pencils with which, in those days, they wrote upon their wax tablets, and pierced him with them till the blood ran profusely from his veins. This torture lasted long and was extremely painful. The saint, however, never complained of the ingratitude of his pupils, nor gave a sign of impatience, but praised and thanked the Lord until his soul went to Heaven to receive the crown of martyrdom.

Practical Considerations

Saint Cassius especially endeavored to impress three moral points upon the minds of his pupils; esteem for the true faith, horror for sin, and love of virtue and piety. Oh! that all parents and teachers would try to impress these sentiments deeply upon the hearts of their children and pupils! How different our youth would be! But these points should be recommended to the consideration of those also who are past the age of youth. Whoever you are, esteem the true faith above all things; for, it is a priceless grace that the Almighty has not permitted you to be born in Judaism or idolatry, but has granted you that faith without which there is no salvation. Fear and abhor sin more than any other evil; for, it can do you more harm than any other. Sin alone can make you eternally unhappy. Love virtue and piety; for, “godliness is,” according to the Apostle, “profitable to all things.” (1st Timothy 4) Without virtue we cannot go to Heaven. “Vainly does he desire to obtain the heavenly glories, who is not adorned with virtue. Virtue is the road to glory. Through virtue we attain eternal honor and joy,” writes Saint Bernard.

MLA Citation

  • Father Francis Xavier Weninger, DD, SJ. “Saint Cassian, Martyrs”. Lives of the Saints, 1876. CatholicSaints.Info. 2 April 2018. Web. 24 April 2019. <>