Weninger’s Lives of the Saints – Saint Vincent, Saint Sabina and Saint Christeta, Martyrs

Martyrs of AvilaArticle

At the time of Dioclesian and Maximian, Dacian, a bitter enemy of the Christians, received the command entirely to exterminate the Christian religion in Spain. This command was most punctually executed by Dacian; he sought everywhere for the Christians, and rested not until they had either denied their. faith or had been killed by different kinds of torment. Coming to Evora, he was informed that a lad of the name of Vincent lived there, who publicly and without any hesitation confessed himself a Christian. Dacian had him seized and asked him how he could have become so blind as to receive so contemptible a faith, from which he had nothing to expect but shame, disgrace, torment and pain; and whether it would not have been much wiser to have kept that faith, which was held by the emperor and all the nobility of the land? Vincent answered the tyrant with Christian candor, and made it clear to him, with great eloquence, that the Christian faith was not contemptible, but that on the contrary, it brought true honor, immortal glory and eternal happiness, while the worship of idols, being against all reason, would surely prepare, for those who practiced it, eternal derision and unhappiness. Indignant at this answer, Dacian ordered Vincent to be brought forthwith to the statue of Jupiter, and if he refused to offer sacrifice after the customs of the land, to be scourged until he lost either his obstinacy or his life. The executioners, who took Vincent to the statue, had pity on his tender age and exhorted him to spare himself and obey Dacian. The lad did not even deign a reply, but silently walked on. Having arrived before the image, he stepped upon a large stone that was standing there. The stone gave way under Vincent’s feet as if it had been wax, and the lad’s foot-prints remained impressed upon it; the soldiers, awed at this, exclaimed loudly: “The God of the Christians must be the true God, as He gives a child power to melt a hard stone.” They could not make up their minds to execute Dacian’s order, but led the boy to the prison, and then informed the tyrant that he had demanded three days time for consideration. They then went and sought instruction in the Christian faith, and were baptized. Meanwhile Vincent was visited in prison by his two sisters, Sabina and Christeta, who grieved and bitterly lamented that they were about to lose him, and that they would then be in great danger of losing their honor and innocence. They begged him, therefore to flee from the prison, and go with them where they might all serve God unknown and in peace. Vincent allowed himself to be persuaded, escaped from the prison and went with his sisters to Avila, where for some time he served the Lord most zealously. On the way thither he regretted that he had forfeited the priceless crown of martyrdom for the sake of his sisters, but consoled himself with the hope of obtaining it at some other time and sharing it with them. Hence he exhorted them fearlessly to give their life and blood for Christ’s sake, should their fidelity ever be tested. Both promised their brother all he demanded of them, and indeed they kept their word; for when Dacian came to Avila and was informed that Vincent, who had already been arraigned at Evora, never appeared at the sacrifices with his sisters, but publicly boasted of being a Christian, the tyrant immediately ordered all three to be seized and tortured. They were taken to prison, and so fearfully racked, that all their limbs were out of joint. After this, they were whipped until they were covered with blood and wounds. The three holy martyrs, however, were not only fearless under this barbarous torture, but cheerful and happy. They praised God and gave Him thanks, ready not only to suffer for His honor, but to die a thousand deaths for Him. This Christian heroism was intolerable to Dacian, and he ordered their martyrdom to be ended by the crushing of their heads. Accordingly they were dragged, one after another, to a large stone, on which their heads were laid and beaten with clubs till they were crushed and the brains dashed out. In this inhuman manner, Vincent, Sabina and Christeta ended their young lives, and obtained the never-fading crown of martyrdom. The holy bodies were ordered to remain in the open field as food for wild beasts; but the Almighty, who, according to Holy Writ, had the body of a Prophet guarded by a lion, also protected the bodies of these holy martyrs until they were buried by a few Christians and by a Jew, who had been converted by witnessing the manner in which these Saints had borne their terrible torments. When the persecution of the Christians was finally ended, a church was built on their tombs in their honor.

Practical Considerations

Saint Vincent, Saint Sabina and Saint Christeta suffered cheerfully the most cruel martyrdom at a very tender age. What would you have done had you lived at that period, and had been threatened by a tyrant with the most terrible pains in case you would not forsake the true faith? God only knows! Perhaps, while reading the lives of the holy martyrs, you wish that you had lived at that time and had had an opportunity to manifest your love of Christ as they did. Perhaps you regret that such opportunities exist no longer. But read what Saint Augustine writes: “Let no one say that in our time, the conflicts of martyrdom are ended; for we still have martyrs. To control anger, to shun unchastity, to preserve justice, to despise avarice, to humble pride, is, in many respects, a martyrdom. Opportunities are never wanting to suffer such kinds of martyrdom; and consider it well: you are obliged to endure this kind of martyrdom by your faith as a Christian and by the fear of eternal punishment. Prove therefore, by your actions, that your wish to be a martyr comes from your heart. Endeavor to bridle your tongue; bravely resist your evil inclinations; avoid unchastity, avarice, pride and other vices which are the sources of innumerable evils.

MLA Citation

  • Father Francis Xavier Weninger, DD, SJ. “Saint Vincent, Saint Sabina and Saint Christeta, Martyrs”. Lives of the Saints, 1876. CatholicSaints.Info. 20 May 2018. Web. 8 April 2020. <>