Weninger’s Lives of the Saints – Saint Quintin, Martyr

Saint QuentinArticle

We not add a brief sketch of the life of a Roman Senator, Saint Quintin, who ended his life by a glorious martyrdom in the third century. He was already a Senator when he was received, by means of holy baptism, into the pale of the true Church. At first, he kept his conversion a secret; but some time later he revealed to the holy Pope Cajus, his great desire to disseminate the the Gospel in foreign lands. Saint Cajus praised his zeal, and gave him, as companion, Saint Lucian. Both, leaving all their possessions, travelled to France, where Quintin remained at Amiens, while Lucian went further into the district of Beauvais. Quintin preached the Gospel of our Saviour Jesus Christ, with apostolic defiance of all danger, and converted a great many heathens. He extended his zealous labors into the surrounding country, and the many miracles which he wrought, by divine power, on the blind, the lame, the possessed and the infirm, proved to the pagan inhabitants that the Saint preached a truly divine doctrine. Hence the number of the faithful increased daily.

Rictiovarus, the Roman Governor of France, was informed of Saint Quintin’s labors by the idolatrous priests, who feared the entire downfall of idolatry. He came himself to Amiens, called Saint Quintin into his presence, and finding him firm in his faith, ordered him to be whipped like a slave. The holy Martyr, with eyes raised to heaven, thanked the Almighty for the great grace of being allowed to suffer for Christ’s sake. During his martyrdom, a voice from heaven was heard, saying: “Remain constant, Quintin, for it is I who suffer in thee. I will assist thee and give thee strength.” At the same moment, the executioners were cast down to the ground, as if struck by lightning. The governor, enraged at this, ordered the Saint to be cast into a dark dungeon until the next day; but in the midst of the night, an Angel appeared to Quintin, broke his chains and led him to the public square of the town, where, at break of day, the martyr preached a most powerful sermon to the people, who came running towards him from all parts, and many of whom were converted.

Rictiovarus, on hearing of it, became furious with rage and ordered the holy martyr to be stretched upon the rack, and to be beaten with clubs. When his whole body was covered with wounds, boiling oil and melted tar were poured over him, and he was burned with torches. Quintin showed himself not only fearless under this cruel torture, but cheerful and happy. The spectators of the terrible scene, however, began to murmur against the barbarity of the governor. The latter, therefore, ordered Quintin to be taken from the place of execution, and led away, on the next day, to another city, whither he himself followed to torment him anew. There two iron bars were thrust into his body, from his neck to his thighs, and his hands and feet were pierced with nails. But he who had given this barbarous order was again shamed; for, the Saint, miraculously strengthened by the Almighty, showed himself more firm and cheerful than before. Hence nothing remained but to behead him, and when this was about to take place, a voice was again heard, which coming from heaven, said: “Come, Quintin, my servant, and receive the crown you hast deserved by thy martyrdom.” The tyrant remained, unmoved, and the Saint received the fatal stroke, in the year of our Lord, 287. His holy body was cast into the river, by command of the Governor, but being afterwards miraculously found, it was buried with great honors. Rictiovarus was not long after this, deservedly punished for his wickedness, as has already been related in the lives of Saint Crispin and Saint Crispinian.

Practical Considerations

Saint Quintin, in truth, suffered many and great torments. His martyrdom was not ended all at once by the sword, or on one day. He had to suffer different torments during several days. What, however, are these tortures compared with those of hell which he escaped? “Take fire, sword, wild beasts, and everything you can imagine, and it will all be less than a shadow compared with the tortures of hell,” says Saint Chrysostom. The reprobate has not only to suffer many, but all possible tortures in hell. He is not tormented for many days, but for all eternity. Thus are you taught by the true faith. “In heaven,” says Saint Augustine, “is to be found all that is good and nothing that can be called an evil. All that we wish, yes, even more than we can wish, we shall find there, and nothing that we do not wish.” This means that in heaven is all happiness, honor, joy, and nothing that might give us pain, fear, or anxiety. On the contrary, in hell is everything that gives heart-ache and pain, and nothing that rejoices or that brings comfort and consolation. The principal point of all this is: The happiness, honors, and joys of heaven are eternal, and so are the sufferings, the pains of hell. This we are taught by the word of God. What I now ask of you, for the sake of your salvation, is this: think frequently on these most important truths, especially when you are tempted to sin or have to suffer. If you were assured that, immediately after you had become guilty of sin, you would have to endure such tortures as Saint Quintin suffered, or that you would at least be in danger of being thus tormented, would you commit the sin? Certainly not. The impending martyrdom, nay, only the danger of it, would restrain you. And why, then, does the thought of hell not prevent you from committing sin, though you may be precipitated into it immediately after? Would you then not suffer incomparably more than Saint Quintin did, although his tortures were so terrible? Think of this whenever you are in danger of sin. And if you are subjected to many and heavy afflictions, let me ask you: Did Saint Quintin act wisely to endure his dreadful martyrdom patiently, nay, even cheerfully, in the thought that by it he not only escaped hell, but obtained the eternal joys of heaven? His torments were terrible, but they ended at last. The joys of heaven are so great, that all suffering on earth, as the Apostle assures us, is as nothing when compared to it (Romans 8) The best of it is, however, that they are endless, while all earthly suffering has an end. May you, therefore, act as wisely as Saint Quintin did; and that you may act thus, represent to yourself the following truth: Through my suffering I may escape hell, and, instead I of it, obtain the never-ending joys of heaven. “The misery which you suffer here, is short and soon ended,” says Saint Gregory: “the glory you expect will be everlasting.”

MLA Citation

  • Father Francis Xavier Weninger, DD, SJ. “Saint Quintin, Martyr”. Lives of the Saints, 1876. CatholicSaints.Info. 22 May 2018. Web. 24 March 2019. <>