A pious woman
Feast day12th July, suppressed 16th Century.
Invoked by drapers and washerwomen
Attribute, a veil.
After Christ fell the first time on his way to Calvary, Veronica was so moved she wiped his face with a cloth which became imprinted with his likeness. This incident was included in the Stations of the Cross in the 18th-19th Century.
Died 203 at Carthage
Feast day 7th March.
Attributes, a ladder (to heaven), a dragon.
A young married mother, Perpetua and her pregnant maid Felicitus were sentenced to death in the arena for converting to Christianity. In prison she had several visions, one of herself and an evil-looking Egyptian (the devil) in unarmed combat. The women were savaged by a rabid heifer before their throats were cut, Perpetua guiding the blade to her neck.
Feast day 20th July, suppressed 1969.
Patron saint of women in childbirth
Attribute, a dragon.
Daughter of a pagan priest, Margaret became a Christian and rejected the governor of Antioch. Satan, in the guise of a dragon swallowed Margaret, but the crucifix she wore grew so large it rent the beast and she emerged unharmed. Finally she was beheaded.
Feast day 25th November, suppressed 1969.
Patron saint of young girls, students, philosophers and wheel-based craftsmen.
Attributes, a wheel, a book.
Noble and beautiful, Catherine called herself a ‘bride of Christ’. She refused the emperor’s advances and to deny her faith. Pagan philosophers were burned for failing in debate with her and an attempt to break her on the wheel resulted in the death of bystanders, angels causing it to fly apart. When executed, milk flowed from her severed head.
Feast day 4th December, suppressed 1969
Patron saint of miners and gunners.
Invoked against lightning.
Attributes, a tower, a peacock’s feather for Heliopolis, an alleged birthplace.
Beautiful and wealthy, Barbara was kept locked in a tower by her jealous father. Returning home he saw, by the addition of a third window in the tower, that she had converted to Christianity. He had his daughter tortured and beheaded, but was himself then killed by lightning.
Died 4th Century in Rome
Feast day 21st January.
Invoked for chastity
Attribute, a lamb (‘agnus’ in Latin).
Aged thirteen,Agnes refused marriage in preference to martyrdom for Christ. One popular story has her dragged to a brothel and stripped, but God answered her prayers for purity and her hair grew to cover her. She died from having her throat cut.
Died 3rd Century at Catania, Sicily
Feast day 5th February
Patron saint of bell-founders.
Invoked against fire & eruptions of Mt. Etna.
Attributes, breasts on a dish, pincers.
Noble, rich and beautiful, Agatha pledged her virginity to Christ incurring the wrath of a high ranking suitor who had her tortured as a Christian. After many grisly episodes her breasts were torn off with pincers. She died in prison.