Feast Day: February 09
At Alexandria in Egypt, in 249 during the reign of Emperor Philip, an angry mob rose against the Christians. The pagans (non-believers) of Alexandria started making the Christians suffer under instructions of a magician of that city.
Metras, an old man, was the first to die. His eyes were pierced with reeds, and he was stoned to death. A woman named Quinta was next. She was led to a temple and told to worship the false gods there; when she refused she too was stoned to death.
After this the houses of the Christians were robbed and destroyed; but the Christians accepted their suffering with joy.
A holy virgin, Apollonia, who also lived in Alexandria, had spent her whole life serving God. Now that she was growing old, she was not about to take time to rest. She bravely put her own life in danger 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."
Not long after, Apollonia, too, was captured. When the judge asked her name, she boldly 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 often pray to St. Apollonia when they have a toothache. But even though this was very painful Applolonia's faith remained strong.
They then lit a huge fire and she was told that if she did not deny Jesus, she would be thrown into the fire. She was silent for a moment, and then, with special strength she received from the Holy Spirt, she walked into the fire and died in its flames rather than give up her faith in Jesus.
When the pagans saw how heroic she was, many were converted. The judges themselves were amazed at the huge number of Christians who came on their own to die for Jesus and receive the crown of martyrdom.
Today we can ask the grace to be strong enough to bear inconvenience without complaining. Many Saints who were not martyrs have longed to shed their blood for Christ. We, too, may pray to share some portion of their spirit. If we are able to bear the slightest suffering for the faith, with humility and courage, it is proof that Jesus has heard our prayer.
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