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Friday, December 3, 2010

Saint Bibiana, Virgin and Martyr

Saint Bibiana, Virgin and Martyr
Bibiana (also known as Viviana) hath been venerated as a virgin and Martyr since the earliest times. A church dedicated to her is known to have existed in Rome in the fifth century, which same is said to have been built by Pope Saint Simplicius. This saint suffered her passion in the reign of Julian the Apostate, and the tale is as follows: The family of Bibiana, being pre-eminent for Christianity, was marked for persecution. Hence her father, who had been prefect of Rome, was branded as a slave, and banished, shortly after which he was martyred. * His wife Dafrosa, and his two daughters, Bibiana and Demetria, were at first imprisoned and starved, and then Dafrosa was beheaded. Whereafter the two daughters were continually persecuted, in an attempt to keep them from imitating the unshakeable constancy of their holy parents ; and Demetria was so worn out by her sufferings that she suddenly dropped dead in the presence of the judge before whom she was making a brave witness to Christ. * Whereupon Bibiana was put in charge of an artful woman who had orders to seduce her, with promises of freedom if she would embrace a life of luxury and ill-fame. But she stedfastly refused such blandishments, and kept her virginity undefiled. Hence she was cruelly flogged to death, and her body left to be eaten by dogs. But a priest named John cam by night, and buried her remains near the graves of her holy mother and sister, nigh to which place was built the church named for her. And Urban VIII, when he restored this ancient temple is said to have placed the relicks of all three of these holy women under the high altar.
Antiphon on the Magnificat:
Come, thou bride of Christ, receive the crown, * which the Lord hath prepared for thee for ever (alleluia).
O God, the giver of all good gifts, who didst bestow on thy servant Bibiana both the flower of virginity and the palm of martyrdom : we pray thee, that, by her intercession, our hearts may in such wise be joined in charity unto thee, that we, being defended against all dangers, may attain unto the rewards of everlasting salvation, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Antiphon on the Benedictus:
The kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchantman seeking goodly pearls, * who when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had and bought it (alleluia).

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