St. Apollonia
February 9, Saint

Source: Lives of the Saints by the Benziqer Brothers.

Roman Martyrology:  In Alexandria, in the reign of Decius, the birthday of St. Apollonia, virgin, who had all her teeth plucked out by the persecutors; then having constructed and lighted a pyre, they threatened to burn her alive, unless she repeated certain impious words after them. Deliberating awhile with herself, she suddenly slipped from their grasp, and feeling an inspiration of the Holy Ghost, rushed voluntarily into the fire, which they had prepared. The very authors of her death were struck with terror at the sight of a woman who was more willing to die than they to condemn her.

Etymology:  From Greek meaning "strength".


A holy virgin, Apollonia, lived in Alexandria, Egypt, in the third century. Christians were being persecuted there during the reign of Emperor Philip. Apollonia had spent her whole life serving God. Now that she was growing old, she was not about to take time to rest. She bravely risked her life to comfort suffering Christians in prison. "Remember that your trials will not last long," she would say. "But the joys of heaven will last forever."

It was just a matter of time until Apollonia, too, was captured. When the judge asked her name, she courageously said, "I am a Christian and I love and serve the true God."

Angry people tortured Apollonia, trying to force her to give up her faith. First, all her teeth were smashed and then knocked out. Strangely enough, that is why people frequently pray to St. Apollonia when they have a toothache. But even this painful ordeal did not shake the woman's faith. Apollonia was then told that if she did not deny Jesus, she would be thrown into a raging fire. The woman would not let her fear overcome her. She chose to die by fire rather than abandon her faith in Jesus. When the pagans saw how heroic she was, many were converted. Apollonia died around 249.

Reflection: Today we can ask the grace to be strong enough to bear inconvenience without complaining.



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