Short Lives of the Saints – Saint Lawrence, Martyr

detail of a painting of Saint Lawrence of Rome; early 16th century by Francesco Rizzo da Santacroce; Museum of John Paul II Collection, Warsaw, Poland; swiped from Wikimedia CommonsEntry

Saint Lawrence was the disciple and friend of Pope Sixtus, the martyr, and was the chief of the seven deacons of Rome. When the holy Pontiff was dragged to the place of torture, Lawrence longed with tears to accompany him, but Sixtus cheered him and foretold to him that his turn would come three days later. And so it came to pass that the emperor, imagining the Christians to have amassed a store of secret treasures, despatched the prefect of Rome with orders to take possession of them. Saint Lawrence admitted that he and his brethren possessed those treasures, but begged time to gather them together. And on the following day, he showed the prefect all the orphans, all the old, poor, and infirm people, whom the Church regards as her treasures. The prefect was so enraged that he caused Saint Lawrence to be lacerated with rods, and torn with iron hooks, and then roasted upon live coals. In the midst of the torture he cried out to the executioners with joy, “One side is sufficiently roasted; now turn me on the other side!” He expired, praying for Rome, on August 10, 258.

Heaven-born, the soul a heavenward course must hold:
Beyond the visible world she soars.
    – from the Italian of Michael Angelo

Favorite Practice – To beg of God daily a share in the burning love of Saint Lawrence.

MLA Citation

  • Eleanor Cecilia Donnelly. “Saint Lawrence, Martyr”. Short Lives of the Saints, 1910. CatholicSaints.Info. 18 April 2021. Web. 26 January 2022. <>