Saint of the Day for 9 February: St. Apollonia
Saint Apollonia: Martyr of the Faith and Protector against Dental Diseases
Virgin and martyr
3rd Century, Alexandria, Egypt
3rd Century, Alexandria, Egypt
For that acute pain that you suffered, oh glorious St. Apollonia, when by order of the tyrant, your teeth were pulled out which added so much decorum to your angelic face, obtain for us from the Lord the grace of always being freed from every annoyance relating to this sense, or at least suffer it constantly with imperturbable resignation. And for that unprecedented courage with which at the first impulse of the Holy Spirit, you spontaneously threw yourself into the midst of the fire, without the executioners dragging you inside, obtain from the Lord the grace to promptly follow the divine inspirations and to support, not only with resignation, but again with joy all the crosses that He will deign to send us Gioria
Cantù, Bellaria-Igea Marina, Ariccia, Camponogara, Asso, Viganò, Lu and Cuccaro Monferrato
of dentists, of dental hygienists, from toothache
In Alexandria, the birthday of Saint Apollonia, Virgin and Martyr, whose persecutors, under Decius, first extracted all her teeth, then, having raised and lit a pyre, threatened to burn her alive if she did not utter impious words with them; but she, having reflected a little within herself, suddenly freed herself from the hands of those wicked people, and inflamed internally by the greater ardor of the Holy Spirit, she threw herself into the fire, which they had prepared for her, so spontaneously, that the very authors of that cruelty they were astonished, as if a woman had found herself more ready for death than the persecutor for punishment.
The Saint and Mission
Saint Apollonia, one of the first martyrs of the Christian Church, embodies a mission of faith and resilience that shines through the centuries as a beacon of spiritual courage. Her story, set in the context of anti-Christian persecutions in third-century Alexandria, reflects not only the depth of her personal devotion, but also her determination to remain faithful to her spiritual principles in the face of extreme suffering. her. Saint Apollonia’s mission goes beyond her martyrdom. Her sacrifice is an eloquent example of unswerving fidelity to the Christian faith in a time of great turbulence and persecution. Despite the threats and physical atrocities she suffered, Apollonia chose to face death rather than renounce her faith. This act of supreme dedication not only testifies to her personal spiritual strength, but also serves as a source of inspiration for Christians of all ages, reminding them of the value and meaning of sacrifice for the faith. Furthermore, the life and martyrdom of Saint Apollonia highlight the role of the Christian mission as a testimony of faith in the world. Her story is a call for believers to reflect on their spiritual resilience and ability to bear witness to their beliefs in hostile or unfavorable contexts. Her legacy emphasizes that Christian mission is not only manifested through evangelization or community service, but also through the personal example of lived faith, even when this involves great sacrifices. Saint Apollonia also represents the universal dimension of the Christian call to holiness and martyrdom, demonstrating that the strength of faith can overcome any test. Her example inspires the faithful to pursue holiness through faithfulness to Christ, regardless of external circumstances. Her life reminds us that, even in the face of suffering and death, faith offers a hope that transcends this world, promising eternal communion with God. Saint Apollonia and her mission offer a profound reflection on the nature of sacrifice, on strength of faith and the ability to bear witness to the Gospel even in the most extreme situations. Her legacy continues to be a source of strength and inspiration, challenging believers of all times to live their faith with courage and conviction.
The Saint and Mercy
Saint Apollonia, whose life was marked by an extreme act of faith and a painful martyrdom, represents a profound example of Christian mercy, not so much in the ways with which we might commonly identify it—such as the act of giving or receiving help—but rather in his ability to embody divine mercy through self-sacrifice. Her story, rooted in anti-Christian persecution, becomes a vehicle through which the deeper dimensions of mercy can be explored: forgiveness, resilience and sacrifice. The mercy of Saint Apollonia manifests itself in a unique way. In the face of her violence and extreme suffering, her decision to remain faithful to her faith, accepting her martyrdom, reflects a profound act of mercy towards herself and her community. In this context, mercy becomes synonymous with inner strength, an act of liberation that refuses to give in to hatred and revenge, choosing instead the path of faith and forgiveness. Furthermore, the life of Saint Apollonia expresses mercy through testimony. In her ultimate sacrifice, she becomes a source of comfort and hope for other believers, offering a living example of the saving power of faith. This form of mercy transcends the individual gesture, extending to an act of collective encouragement that supports the community of believers as a whole, strengthening their faith and determination. The story of Saint Apollonia also invites us to reflect on divine mercy, of which her martyrdom is a reflection. In her sacrifice, we see God’s unconditional love for humanity, a love that welcomes sacrifice and pain as a means of redemption. Her figure reminds us that, even in moments of great suffering, God’s presence offers a mercy that consoles, renews and transforms. Saint Apollonia and her experience of martyrdom offer a rich and complex perspective on mercy, showing how it can be lived through faithfulness, sacrifice and testimony. Her legacy challenges us to see mercy not only as an act of compassion towards others, but also as a deep commitment to one’s faith and to the highest values, even in the face of the greatest of sacrifices.
St. Apollonia was martyred for her faith during the persecution of Decius. Thus wrote the then Bishop of Antioch: «Christians are arrested, imprisoned, deprived of all food, taken away from their families, and therefore parents separated from their children and children from their parents. Some are exiled, others crushed under the wheels and…