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

detail of a statue of Saint Victoria, date, artist and location unknown; swiped from Santi e BeatiArticle

Saint Victoria was born at Tivoli, in Italy, of noble and Christian parents, in the beginning of the third century. Her unusual beauty, cheerful disposition, amiability and other graceful gifts, made her beloved by all who knew her, while her virtues and piety made her agreeable to God and the Saints. Her parents promised her early to a young man named Eugenius, of one of the richest and most noble families in Rome; but as he was a heathen, Victoria refused to give him her hand. Her parents at last prevailed on her to pledge herself to him, by telling her that she could easily gain influence over Eugenius and draw him from paganism. At the same time, Anatolia, the most intimate friend of Victoria, was also demanded in marriage by a heathen youth, named Titus Aurelius. Anatolia, however, courageously refused him, although her parents insisted that she should accept him. Titus Aurelius left nothing untried to gain her consent, but all was useless; hence he requested Victoria, through Eugenius, who was a friend of his, to speak to Anatolia, and persuade her by arguments to accept his hand. Victoria promised to comply with his wish, and going to Anatolia, said all that could be said to move her. Among other things, she confessed to her that her own reason for promising to marry the pagan Eugenius, was the hope of converting him to the true faith, and thus to open heaven for him; there would be equal hope for Titus Aurelius, if Anatolia would be- come his wife. “How great will be our happiness,” said she, “if we convert two heathens and bring them into heaven!” After Victoria had spoken, Anatolia began to show her the deceit of the Evil One, who, under the false gleam of hope to convert a pagan spouse, placed her in great danger of being corrupted in her faith by him, or at least of being hindered in the free exercise of it. She also explained to her the priceless value of virginal chastity, and told her that in the same night in which she had made the vow of perpetual chastity, she had been graced with the vision of an angel who had called virginal chastity a priceless treasure, an incomparable jewel, and had exhorted her to guard it carefully; further, that she had chosen Christ as her bride-groom, and would rather give her life than become faithless to him. Victoria, therefore, should now consider whether a mortal heathen bridegroom was preferable to an immortal and heavenly one. By this and similar speeches, Victoria became so deeply moved, that embracing her friend and shedding tears, she said: “Dearest friend, I will join thee; Jesus Christ, thy bridegroom, shall also be mine. I thank thee, that you hast disclosed this deceit of the devil to me, who, while giving me the hope of converting a heathen, almost deprived me of my virginal purity. I have decided now; I will live and die a virgin.” This resolution of the two holy virgins was immediately imparted to Eugenius and Titus Aurelius, and how it was received may be easily imagined. Both left nothing undone that they thought would induce them to alter their resolution. When they found that all was unavailing, they requested the Emperor’s permission, to take the two virgins to their country-seats out of the city, hoping to be able to prevail upon them there, and gain their consent. But neither did they succeed by this means. The two virgins were, at their respective places, urged as well by kindness as by menaces; but each remained firm in her determination to die a virgin. After having retained them for some time, and seeing that all their endeavors were useless, the young men from being their wooers became their accusers before the Emperor, by whose order they were executed in the same manner, though not on the same day, by being stabbed in the breast with lances, Saint Anatolia, on the 9th of July, Saint Victoria, on this day, in the year 253.

This holy virgin did not act wisely when she determined to marry a heathen, from eagerness to convert him. For as, according to Saint Chrysostom, a pious man much sooner becomes wicked by associating with the godless, than a godless man becomes pious by associating with the good; so also experience teaches that the number of Catholics who have left their faith, or at least become negligent in their practice of it, in consequence of mixed marriages, is far greater than that of converts to the Church by the same means. Such marriages are seldom without danger. Victoria knew nothing of this danger, but believed and followed her parents’ wishes; hence, she committed no sin. But no sooner had she been informed by her friend Anatolia, of the danger in which she had placed herself, and at the same time, learned how agreeable virginal chastity is to the Lord, than she changed her resolution and determined to live in purity. She acted rightly; for although, when we have made a resolution, we ought to keep it; still when we discover that our resolution is unwise, it behooves us, as reasonable beings, to change it. It is a sure sign of an obstinate and haughty mind not to change a resolution even when convinced that it is wrong. “A wise man alone changes his determination,” writes Saint Ambrose.

MLA Citation

  • Father Francis Xavier Weninger, DD, SJ. “Saint Victoria, Virgin and Martyr”. Lives of the Saints, 1876. CatholicSaints.Info. 3 June 2018. Web. 19 November 2018. <>