Thursday, December 2, 2010

Memorial of St Bibiana

"Bibiana was a Roman maiden, distinguished on account of the nobility of her family, but now far more distinguished for her confession of Christ.  In the reign of the foul tyrant, Julian the Apostate, her father Flavian, although he was an ex-Prefect, was branded as a slave and banished to Aquapendente, not far from Rome, where he soon died a martyr for his faith.  His wife, Dafrosa, and his two daughters, Bibiana and Demetria, were first imprisoned in their own house, with the idea of starving them to death; but the mother was afterwards taken outside the city and beheaded.  Bibiana and her sister Demetria, after the death of their holy parents, were stripped of all they had in the world.  Apronianus, Governor of the city, who hankered after their property, continued to persecute them, but although they were destitute of all human support, God, who giveth bread to the hungry, fed them, and kept them in health, life, and strength, to the wonder of their enemies.

Apronianus then attacked them to make them worship the gods of the Gentiles, and promised them the restoration of their property, the favour of the Emperor, and a great marriage for each of them, if they would give way, and, on the other hand, imprisonment, stripes, and death.  But neither promises nor threats availed, for they remained firm in the faith, being resolved rather to die than to pollute themselves by doing according to the deeds of the heathen; and, as for the iniquity of the Governor, they loathed it continually.  At length the strength of Demetria gave way, and she fell down suddenly, and died in the Lord, before the eyes of her sister Bibiana.  Then Bibiana was put into the hands of an artful woman named Rufina, to seduce her if possible; but she had known the law of Christ from her childhood, and kept the lily of her purity undefiled, triumphing over the efforts of that vile person, and disappointing the lust of the Governor.

Then, when Rufina saw that her false words availed not, she took to blows, and scourged Bibiana daily, but the saint was not staggered in her holy resolution.  At last the Governor, mad with baffled lust, when he found his labour was thrown away, ordered his lictors to strip her naked, hang her up by the hands to a pillar, and flog her to death with whips weighted with lead.  When all was over, her sacred body was thrown out for the dogs to eat.  It lay two days in the Forum Tauri, but the animals would not touch it; and, at last, a Priest, named John, took it, and buried it by night beside the graves of her mother and sister, near the Licinian Palace.  This is the place where there is still a church, dedicated in the name of St. Bibiana.  When this church was being restored by Urban VIII, the bodies of these three holy women, Bibiana, Demetria, and Dafrosa, were found, and were re-buried under the High Altar."

-- From the 1911 Breviary of St Pius X (1955 ed)

1 comment:

kam said...

I don't know sister, that post took the life right out of me... Thanks for all your wonderful posts. k