Short Lives of the Saints – Saint Apollonia, Virgin and Martyr

detail of a stained glass window depicting Saint Apollonia with a pair of tongs and the palm of martyrdom, date unknown, artist unknown; Church of Saint Agatha, Bongard, Germany; photographed on 14 May 2011 by GFreihalter; swiped from Wikimedia CommonsEntry

There dwelt in the city of Alexandria, in the third century, a wealthy magistrate and his wife, who were heathens and had no children. Once, this magistrate’s wife out of charity entertained and gave alms to three Christian pilgrims, who in return, preached to her the faith of Christ and the efficacy of devotion to the Blessed Virgin. As the woman was eagerly desirous of offspring, she (heathen as she was) besought the Mother of God to obtain for her a child. Her prayer was heard, and a daughter was born to her, who was called Apollonia. She grew up fair and beautiful, and was baptized a Christian, and was then directed by an angel to go preach the faith in Alexandria. Many were converted by her wonderful eloquence, but her own heathen father delivered her up to martyrdom. She was bound to a column, and all her beautiful teeth pulled out one by one; and finally a fire was kindled and she was flung into it, and thus went to God in the year 250. Saint Apollonia is invoked in diseases of the teeth.

O fair! O fortunate! O rich! O dear!
O happy and thrice happy she,
Dear silver-breasted dove,
Whoe’er she be.
Whose early love,
With winged vows,
Makes haste to meet her morning Spouse!
– Richard Crashaw

Favorite Practice – Almsgiving with a supernatural intention, seeing God alone in the persons of His poor.

MLA Citation

  • Eleanor Cecilia Donnelly. “Saint Apollonia, Virgin and Martyr”. Short Lives of the Saints, 1910. CatholicSaints.Info. 2 April 2021. Web. 19 April 2021. <>