Short Lives of the Saints – Saint Denys, Bishop and Martyr

detail of a stained glass window of Saint Denis of Paris; date and artist unknown; cemetery chaple of the Croix-Bouessée, Piré-sur-Seiche, Ille-et-Villaine, France; photographed on 13 December 2013 by François GOGLINS; swiped from Wikimedia CommonsEntry

Towards the middle of the third century, Pope Saint Fabian sent the renowned Denys (as well as the holy missionaries Rusticus and Eleutherius) into Gaul, to carry thither the glorious light of the Gospel. They accordingly founded the churches of Chartres, Senlis, Meaux, Cologne, and, above all, that of Paris, whereof Saint Denys became the first bishop. In the midst of his apostolic labors, however, Saint Denys and his companions were seized by the prefect Sisinnius Fescenninus, imprisoned, and, about the year 280, put to death by decapitation. The bodies of the martyrs were then thrown into the Seine; but their faithful followers sought occasion to draw them thence, and the sacred remains were interred on the spot where the Basilica of Saint Denys was afterwards erected. The blood of the martyrs is truly the seed of the Church; and the martyrdom of Saint Denys and his brethren was speedily followed by the establishment of Christianity upon the ruins of Gallic paganism.

  To suffer much
Has been the fate of saints;
  Our fate is such
Away, away all plaints!
    – Father Adrian Rouquette

Favorite Practice – To animate your courage in suffering by the hope of the reward to come.

MLA Citation

  • Eleanor Cecilia Donnelly. “Saint Denys, Bishop and Martyr”. Short Lives of the Saints, 1910. CatholicSaints.Info. 19 April 2021. Web. 20 June 2021. <>