Weninger’s Lives of the Saints – Saint Regina, Virgin and Martyr

detail of a stained glass window of Saint Regina, date and artist unknown; Basilica of Ars, France; photographed on 21 October 2015 by Vassil; swiped from Wikimedia CommonsArticle

Saint Regina was born in the year 238, of heathen parents. Having lost her mother soon after her birth, she was entrusted by her father to a nurse who happily was a Christian, although this fact was unknown to him. He left the entire care and education of his beloved child to this pious woman, whose only object was to make a devout Christian of her little charge. Hence, as soon as the light of reason began to dawn in the child’s mind, she taught her to respect the Christian faith, and as God had gifted Regina with great intelligence, it was not long before she recognized the nothingness of the idols, and the truth of our holy religion. This knowledge was followed by the resolution to become a Christian and to be secretly baptized. As the solicitous nurse knew that Regina s father would raise a furious storm when he became aware of what had happened, she endeavored to prepare the newly-baptized Regina for the martyrdom in store for her. She related to her the torments so many tender youths and maidens had endured for the Christian faith; how heroically they had suffered, and how miraculously they had been strengthened by the Almighty; she told her of the great happiness of suffering for Christ’s sake, and how great a recompense was in store for those who gave their lives for the confession of their faith. She also explained to her the inexpressible value of virginal purity so eloquently, that Regina hesitated not to consecrate her virginity to the Almighty. The desire to gain the crown of martyrdom was also awakened in the heart of the tender maiden by the words of the pious nurse, and she prayed daily to God to grant her the grace to die for Christ’s sake. As she was actuated in all she did by the thought of pleasing the Almighty, her conduct was such that every one admired and esteemed her.

Her father, ignorant of the fact that she was a Christian, loved her most devotedly, and was anxious to secure her happiness by a suitable marriage. When he informed her of this, she said to him: “Dear father, I know that you love me, and that you only seek my happiness by wishing to give my hand to the young man of whom you speak. But if I knew some one who would make me still happier, would you oppose my being united to him?” “So far from it,” answered the father, “that I should be rejoiced at it. But where will you find him?” “I have already found him,” said Regina. “It is Jesus Christ, my Saviour. Him have I chosen; to Him I have pledged my constancy and my faith.” Stunned at this confession, the father, at first, knew not what to reply. Having controlled himself somewhat, he exclaimed: “Can it be possible, my daughter, that you are a Christian? Have you allowed yourself to be so bewitched, as to embrace so despicable a faith? Never will I give my consent to it. Consider quickly whether you will see in me your executioner or your father.” Regina answered fearlessly: “I am not bewitched. The Christian faith is not despicable; it conduces to one’s greatest honor to be counted among the faithful. I need no time for consideration; I am a Christian and as such will I live and die.” Too much enraged to hear or say more, her father left her, and Regina hastened to her nurse to inform her of what had taken place. The latter embraced her joyfully and congratulated her on so courageous a beginning, but also admonished her to pray earnestly for strength from above, to enable her to conquer in the approaching combat. Regina obeyed and, as predicted by the nurse, her struggle soon commenced: for, her father endeavored to draw her from Christ by alternate kind and earnest words, by caresses and by menaces. All, however, proved unavailing; Regina remained firm in her resolution to live and die a virgin and a Christian.

At that time, Olibrius, who was governor of Gaul, came from Marseilles to Alise, where Regina resided. Having heard of Regina, he immediately sent for her, and informed her that he desired to make her his consort, and hoped not to be refused, as she could not expect a marriage that could either give her greater happiness or raise her to a higher dignity. Regina, although treating him with the utmost politeness, told him frankly, that she had already attained higher felicity, as she had become a Christian and had chosen Christ as her spouse. Olibrius, provoked beyond measure at this reply, and perceiving that neither flatteries nor threats could alter her resolution, ordered her to be cast into a dungeon, and to be chained in such a manner, that she could neither sit nor lie down. For one month she endured this torture, during which time she was persecuted by her father and other relatives to deny Christ; but all was useless. Their words made no impression on Regina, who regarding herself most blessed to suffer for Christ’s sake, prayed only to God to give her grace to die for the true faith. Olibrius had her stretched upon the rack and so cruelly scourged, that all who witnessed it were filled with pity, and began loudly to murmur against the barbarous sentence. Fearing that the people might revolt, the governor remanded her to prison.

The Christian heroine, who passed the night in prayer, had, at the close of it, a most consoling vision. She saw a large cross which reached from the earth up into heaven. A bright dove was upon it and she distinctly heard the words: “Rejoice, thou beloved spouse of Christ 1 Thy virginity and patience have prepared a crown for thee, which you wilt soon receive. Thy cross and suffering will become a ladder upon which you wilt ascend to heaven.” Oh 1 how the virgin’s heart was comforted by this vision! In accordance with an order of Olibrius, she was again stretched on the rack, on the following day, and after her bruised and wounded body had been most barbarously tortured with burning torches, they placed her in a bath of cold water. During this martyrdom she no longer felt pain, but addressing those around her, she exhorted them to be converted to the only true God whom she worshipped. During this speech, she saw the same doev which had appeared to her in the prison, carrying a precious crown in its beak; and as it came towards the holy martyr, she heard a voice saying: “Come, Regina, and reign with your spouse in heaven.” More than 800 pagans were, on this occasion, converted to the Christian faith. Olibrius, however, remained obdurate, and at length ordered Regina to be beheaded. Thus this Christian heroine ended her life gloriously, in her sixteenth year.

Practical Considerations

• Saint Regina had, next to God, to thank her nurse for her conversion to the true faith, as also her desire for martyrdom and her constancy during the same; hence she owed her salvation to her nurse’s pious care. How much good is some- times done by persons of apparently little consequence! What good might not domestics of both sexes do to each other and still more to the children in their charge, by giving them wholesome exhortations, keeping them from evil, and leading them in the path of rectitude! And how much evil can they cause by holding unchaste discourses in the presence of children, or perhaps by even tempting them to do wrong! Parents may well be careful in selecting those to whom they trust their children; for it is nothing unusual, at the present day, that they are the seducers of children, who were chosen to keep guard over them. Out of the house with such servants! Children ought immediately to inform their parents if any one tempts them to do wrong. Servants and teachers of both sexes ought to remember the terrible account they will have to render on the Judgment-day, if they have kept their young charges from the way of virtue and led them in the road to destruction. They should on the contrary, endeavor to walk before them with a good example. “But he that shall scandalize one of those little ones that believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone should be hanged about his neck, and that he should be drowned in the depth of the sea,” says Christ our Lord. (Matthew 18)

• The preservation of her virginity and her patience have secured, in heaven, a crown for Saint Regina. I do not doubt that you have to bear a cross, that you have to suffer, and if you have not now, it will come to you in due time. But will your cross prove to you a ladder by which to ascend to heaven? The manner in which you bear your misfortunes will decide it. If you bear them, like Saint Regina, from love to God, with patience, without murmuring, they will prove a ladder leading you upward to the glories of heaven; but if you bear them not according to the spirit of Christianity, they will be a ladder by which you will descend into the darkness of hell. Which do you prefer? You must suffer; the cross must be borne. Suffer patiently and you will enter heaven; while by murmuring against Providence, you commit sin, and may go to eternal destruction. Patience and the preservation of her chastity have prepared in heaven a crown for Saint Regina; impatience and unchastity prepare a place in hell for numberless souls. Regina would rather have suffered the most unheard-of torments, than have lost her virginal purity. What do you say of this, if you are one of those, who, for some trifling temporal good, or a short sensuality, have lost forevermore this inestimable treasure, and besides this, do not even deplore so great a loss? Ah! weep tears of blood as long as you live, for this blindness, this folly; and surely you have sufficient cause. Pray humbly to the Almighty to forgive you, and to bestow upon you the grace to obtain, by true repentance, the crown which you can no longer gain by virginal chastity. “Let us weep over sin only,” says Saint Chrysostom. “Blessed are those who weep not for the dead, nor for temporal losses, but over their iniquities.” But if you still possess the priceless treasure of virginity, give humble thanks to God, and resolve rather to lose all your temporal possessions, yes, even your life, than to be deprived of it by sin. “Your virginal chastity is your greatest wealth, your most priceless, your irreparable treasure,” writes Saint Jerome. It is a treasure which will obtain for youan especial glory in Heaven!

MLA Citation

  • Father Francis Xavier Weninger, DD, SJ. “Saint Regina, Virgin and Martyr”. Lives of the Saints, 1876. CatholicSaints.Info. 30 April 2018. Web. 21 November 2018. <>