This calendar of saints is drawn from several denominations, sects, and traditions. Although it will no longer be updated daily, the index on the right will guide visitors to a saint celebrated on any day they choose. Additional saints will be added as they present themselves to Major.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

October 28 -- Feast of Saints Vincent, Sabina, and Christeta

The big saints of Avila, John and Teresa, overshadow these earlier saints.  It does not help, of course, that much of their story is judged to be pious fiction.  In fact, the story seems to be so dismissed that I can't find it repeated in many places.  I have two incomplete versions; they don't contradict each other, but they don't confirm each other's details.  Moreover, I had to filter one through Google Translate, just for an added layer of misunderstanding.  When it starts like this, you know you should be prepared to get some details wrong:
Vicente, Sabina and Cristeta are brothers. They were born and live in Talavera (Toledo). The three enjoy their youth-Cristeta, almost child-and, as in so many homes after the death of the parents, which makes Vincent head is the largest.
The link to that source in Spanish is here if anyone's inclined to work up their own translations and post corrections. 

Okay, here's the story as best I have it.  A young man named Vincent is heading a household in Toledo (Spain, not Ohio) with his younger sisters, Sabina and Christeta.  Diocletian's order to kill all the Christians reaches Spain, and the proconsul, a nasty piece of baggage named Dacian, starts working his way through the province to proclaim and enforce it.  He's got quite a trail of martyrs and apostates behind him when he reaches Toledo. 

Saint Vincent and his sisters suffering torture before their execution
Vincent's known to be a generous and peaceable Christian, but the there's only one adjective that Dacian cares to apply to Christians: dead.  Vincent is hauled in, promised the usual incentives if he apostatizes and the usual disincentives if he does not.  While he is sitting in jail, ostensibly mulling his options, his sisters visit.  They decide that a jailbreak would be the best thing for the family, since there chances are slim without either parents or an older brother. 

The three make it all the way to Avila before Juanny Law's long arm wraps around them.  They are tortured in all the most creative ways before finally being killed.  Then their bodies are tossed outside the city walls to feed the scavengers. 

Saints being crushed -- perhaps coup de grace?
Not long after, a man slipped out of the city to despoil the corpses.  I don't know what they might have had that he wanted -- teeth for dentures, or maybe hair for wigs.  Anyway, he was of course Jewish as this is a Spanish Christian story of villainy and redemption.  As he approached the saints' bodies, a huge snake seized him, wrapped him up and began to crush him.  He understood the holiness of the saints, so of course he converted to Christianity, preserved the saints' relics, and built a church in their honor. 

The Basilica of Saint Vincent in Avila is a pretty impressive structure with some bas-reliefs of the story. 

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