NOTICE: I am a practicing Catholic, active and in good-standing with my local parish, who professes faith and loyalty to the Church. This ministry - my "little work" - is strictly a personal expression of that faith and loyalty, and not an officially recognized ministry in the Diocese of Honolulu. ~ Peter

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Saint of the Month - February 2015: Saint Apollonia

St. Apollonia, Virgin & Martyr
Patroness of Dentistry ~ Feast: February 9th

When it comes to picking Saints for my “Saint of the Month” posts, I try to pick certain ones whose Holy Relics are in my custody, or Saints/Blesseds who are also little-known or generally “under-appreciated”.  This particular Saint, I feel, is somewhat both… with her being the patroness of dentists and dental problems, and me being someone who had a lot of dental work done in recent years, I thought it would be personally relevant for me to do St. Apollonia honor by featuring her bio this month; by writing a post about her that people can sink their teeth into (haha!)...

According to a mix of historical facts and Sacred Tradition, St. Apollonia was a deaconess who lived in Alexandria (Egypt) during the reign of the Emperor Philip.  No concrete details are known about her early life, but an account of her passion and martyrdom was documented by St. Dionysius in the year 249, via a letter to the Bishop of Antioch... and it's enough to testify to the heroism and sanctity of this early Christian.

What we do know about this Saint is that she was denounced as a Christian during a time of intense persecution of the Faith, and brought before local authorities for interrogation and torture.  Apollonia was given two choices: she could either renounce her faith in Jesus Christ and offer sacrifice to the false gods of Rome, or submit to torture and execution.  Our Saint, of course, bravely chose the latter... and her guards then proceeded to first beat her before extracting some of her teeth with iron pincers, as an additional form of torture.  Despite her horrendous pain, Apollonia refused to submit!

When the Romans realized that they had failed miserably in breaking her spirit, a large bonfire was lit and the deaconess was threatened with a fiery death if she persisted in keeping the Faith.  Determined not to betray our Lord, and sensing that her martyrdom was inevitable, St. Apollonia valiantly threw herself into the raging flames before her executioners had the opportunity to do it themselves.  Thus, did she earn the glorious Martyr’s Crown and the amusing designation of “Patron Saint of Dentistry”.

A Reflection
Regardless of how we leave this earth, death is but a momentary passing into Eternal Life.

A Short Prayer
Lord, may we always be faithful to you even unto death, that we may merit the everlasting joy of seeing your Divine Countenance.  Amen.

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