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Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Ss. Vitus, Modestus, and Crescentia, Martyrs

Ss. Vitus, Modestus, and Crescentia, Martyrs

The cultus of holy Vitus, Modestus, and Crescentia began in very early times, and they were martyred about the year 302. Tradition giveth their story on this wise. Vitus was a child who was baptized without his father’s knowledge. When his father had found it out, he tried to dissuade hi son from the Christian religion, but as he found him persistent in it, he handed him over to the judge to be whipped. But as he still remained as unshaken as before, he was given back to his father. And while his father was turning over in his mind to what severe discipline to subject him, Vitus fled out of his own land, which was Sicily, in company wit his tutor Modestus and his nurse, Crescentia. In Lucania he found a new home, and grew in holiness, with his two companions, and became known for his power to heal the sick through prayer. Afterwards they came to Rome, where Vitus healed a child who was vexed with a devil. Now this child was the son of the Emperor Diocletian, who, when he found that Vitus would not worship the gods, accused the young Christian of sorcery, and cast him and Modestus and Crescentia into prison, binding them in fetters. But when they were found in their prison more faithful than ever to their confession, the Emperor commanded them to be thrown into a great vessel full of melted lead, resin, and pitch. Therein these three, like the three Holy Children in the burning fiery furnace, sang praise to God ; and upon that they were haled forth and cast to a lion, but he lay down before them, and licked their burns. Then the Emperor, being filled with fury, commanded Vitus, Modestus and Crescentia to be stretched upon a block and their limbs crushed, and their bones rent one from the other. As for what remained of the Martyrs’ bodies, the noble lady Florence took the same, as most holy relicks, and embalmed them with spices, and honorably buried them. And Vitus came to be honored as the patron of those who were subject to seizures such as epileptics, and those who were subject to the disorder named after him, Saint Vitus’ dance.

Grant, O Lord, we pray thee, that, at the intercession of thy blessed Martyrs, Vitus, Modestus, and Crescentia, they Church may learn not to be highminded, but to grow in all such lowliness as is acceptable unto thee, that we may eschew all things that are contrary to thy will, and in freedom and charity perform all things that are agreeable to the same, through Jesus Christ thy Son our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost, one God, world without end. Amen.

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