Windows to Heaven

Read More About The Lives of the Virgin Saints


agathaSt. Agatha

Feastday: February 5
Patron Saint of: Breast Cancer, Bakers, Fire, Jewelers, and Martyrs

Young, beautiful and rich, she lived a life dedicated to God. She refused marriage proposals from all the men who asked. The magistrate believed himself to be of high enough rank to be worthy of her affection, but she refused him also. When Decius announced the edicts against Christians, the magistrate tried to profit by Agatha’s sanctity. He planned to blackmail her into sex in exchange for not charging her for being a Christian. She still refused him. He then turned her over to a brothel, but she refused to accept customers. After rejecting Quintian’s advances, she was beaten, imprisoned, tortured, and her breasts were crushed and cut off. She had a vision of St. Peter who then healed her wounds. Imprisoned further, then rolled on live coals, she was near death when an earthquake struck. She thanked God for an end to her pain and died.

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agnesSt. Agnes

Feastday: January 21
Patron Saint of: Engaged Couples, Young Women, and Chastity

St. Agnes was a Roman girl of only thirteen years when she was martyred for her faith. Many young men wished to marry her, but she told them that she had given her purity to God. When Agnes refused the governor’s son, he accused her of being a Christian. She was tied up in chains, but joy shone from her face. She was sent to a place of sin, but an angel protected her. At last, she was condemned to death.

anastasiaSt. Anastasia

Feastday: October 28

Anastasia was a young Roman woman of both noble and Christian birth who decided to enter a convent. Her holiness earned her a great reputation. Valerian’s inquisitors broke into the convent and arrested her. She was taken before the prefect general who threatened her with torture if she did not renounce her faith. Anastasia chose torture. Her face was then beaten bloody and she was sent back to prison. Her joy made the prefect angrier. He had all of her limbs dislocated and her sides burned by torches. This did not break her, so he ordered her nails to be torn from her fingers, her teeth to be broken with a hammer, and her breasts to be torn from her body. Instead of dying in prison, her wounds were miraculously healed. Eventually she was beheaded and buried outside of the city.


barbaraSt. Barbara

Feastday: December 4
Patron Saint of: Prisoners, Miners, Artillerymen, Danger from thunderstorms, and Sudden death

St. Barbara was a beautiful and intelligent woman who was imprisoned in a tower by her father, Dioscorus, to preserve her from the outside world. While there, her studies led her to Christianity and she converted to the faith. Her father then denounced her to the authorities. He was ordered to torture and behead her. On his way home, he was struck by lightning and died instantly.


bibianaSt. Bibiana

Feastday: December 2
Patron Saint of: Mental Illnesses and Hangovers

St. Bibiana was a Roman martyr. Her parents, Flavian and Dfarosa, were also devout Christians who were persecuted and killed for their faith by Emperor Julian. She and her sister, Demetria, were stripped of all their possessions, but remained in their house to fast and pray for five months. They were then brought before the governor, whereupon Demetria died and Bibiana was handed over to a woman who tried to tempt Bibiana to be unfaithful to God. With His help though, she remained pure. Bibiana was scourged to death with whips of lead.


catherine-of-alexandriaSt. Catherine of Alexandria

Feastday: November 25
Patron Saint of: Students, Teachers, Librarians, and Lawyers

St. Catherine was born in Alexandria to a noble family. She was well educated and also a very good speaker. She had a vision that converted her to Christianity as well as denounced the rule of Maxentius who at the time persecuted Christians. She began to then preach and debate against pagan philosophers whom she later converted. She also converted 200 soldiers and also Maxentius’ wife. Enraged, he arrested St. Catherine and sentenced her to death by a spiked wheel. When she touched the wheel it then shattered. Maxentius then decided to behead her. She was martyred for her preaching of Christianity.


catherineofsienanSt. Catherine of Siena

Feastday: April 29
Patron Saint of: Nurses, Temptation, Miscarriages, Sick, and Firefighters

St. Catherine was born the 25th out of 26 children on March 25, 1347. She practiced austerities at a very young age, would spend long amounts of time in prayer, and had mystical visions; she also consecrated her virginity to Christ at the age of 7. Although her parents wanted her to marry, her father, after much persistence from Catherine, eventually relented and she joined the Third Order of Dominicans. During her spiritual espousal she had a vision of the baby Jesus offering her a wedding band. She took this as another sign that she had dedicated her life to the right cause. She spent most of her time helping the poor, sick, and the injured. After a while, she began to gather disciples. She achieved spiritual greatness throughout her life here on Earth. It was chiefly by her advice, letters, and persistence that convinced St. Gregory XI to leave Avignon and head back to Rome, and she also wrote Dialogue (a conversation between the Eternal Father and the human soul). Because of her book and spiritual guidance that she offered, she was named a Doctor of the Church. She died on the 29th of April, 1380, and the age of 33.

dorothySt. Dorothy

Feastday: February 6
Patron Saint of: Brides, Florists, and Gardeners

St. Dorothy was born in Cappadocia, in Asia Minor (now in the region referred to as Turkey). Her name means “Gift of God” and it is said that her parents were martyred years before St. Dorothy was. She lived during a time of persecution in the Catholic Church. When she refused to participate in the pagan sacrifices during Emperor Diocletian’s persecution, she was tortured and ordered to be executed. It is said that she is responsible for the conversion of the martyr, Theophilus. As the story goes, while she was on her way to her execution, she met the young lawyer. He mocked her, asking her to bring him fruits from “the garden.” When she knelt for her execution, she prayed, and her angle appeared carrying a basket full of three roses and three apples appeared and delivered them to Theophilus, who then converted.

dymphnaSt. Dymphna

Feastday: May 15
Patron Saint of: Mental and Nervous Disorders

St. Dymphna was born the only daughter to a pagan king and very beautiful mother. She lost her mother when she was only 14, and her father became so depressed that he was afflicted by mental illness. Overcome by grief, he sent messengers to town and other lands to find a woman of noble birth that resembled his late wife. When no such woman could be found, his evil advisor recommended that he marry his daughter instead. Dymphna fled from him with her confessor St. Gereban and two other friends. The king found them in Belgium and immediately cut off the head of St. Gereban. He begged her to return with him and be his wife, but when she stayed true to her God and to her vow of virginity, he beheaded her. She was only 15 when she died and she received a crown of martyrdom for her defense of her purity in 620. There was a church built in her name in Gheel, Belgium where her body is preserved in a silver reliquary.


emerentianaSt. Emerentiana

Feastday: January 23
Patron Saint of: Stomach Aches

St. Emerentiana was the daughter of St. Agnes’s nanny. A few days after the death of St. Agnes, she was caught praying next to her tomb. She told the angry mob of pagans that she was a Christian as well and the foster sister of St. Agnes. She was then stoned to death by the crowd.


eulaliaSt. Eulalia

Feastday: December 10
Patron Saint of: Widows, Runaways, Victims of Torture, and Patroness of Merida, Spain

St. Eulalia descended from one of the most prominent families in Spain and was educated in the Christian religion. When she was just twelve years old, the Roman Emperor Diocletian ordered that all people must offer sacrifices to the gods. She appeared before the court and reproached him for destroying souls by making them renounce the true God. At first, the judge was amused and tried to flatter her, but she would not deny God. He ordered that her body be torn by iron hooks. She was also set on fire and eventually died from the smoke and flame.


gemmaSt. Gemma Galgani

Feastday: April 11
Patron Saint of: Pharmacists, those who have lost parents, back pain, and migraines

St. Gemma Galgani was born on March 12th, 1878 in a small Italian town outside of Lucca. At a very young age, she developed a great love for prayer. She was quiet and reserved, but she was always kind and very happy towards others. She had chronic ill health that would prevent her later from joining the convent as well as continuing her education. Throughout her life, she was gifted with mystic experiences and special graces form God. When she developed a serious case of meningitis, she prayed to (later canonized) Gabriel Possenti, and through his intercession she was healed. Later in life, she was gifted with the grace of stigmata. It appeared on her body every Thursday until the last three years of her life. She was also granted to grace of often seeing her guardian angel, whom she would send on errands, most often to deliver a letter to her confessor in Rome. St. Gemma Galgani died of tuberculosis on April 11th, at the age of 25. She was beatified in 1933 and canonized on May 2nd, 1940, only 37 years after her death.

joan_arcSt. Joan of Arc

Feastday: May 30
Patron Saint of: France

St. Joan of Arc was born on January 6th, 1412 to pious peasant parents in Domremy, France. She heard the voices of St. Michael, St. Catherine, and St. Margaret at a young age and throughout her lifetime. In May 1428 they told Joan to go to the King of France and help him to reconquer his kingdom from the King of England. When she was 17, she was given a small army and she raised the siege on Orleans on May 8th, 1429. Because of her victories, King Charles was able to enter Rheims and be crowned at her side. In May of 1430 she was captured and sold to the English when King Charles and the French did nothing to save her. She was tried for war crimes in Rouen and was trapped into making damaging statement. She was condemned to death as a heretic, a sorceress, and adulteress and was burned at the stake on May 30th, 1431 at the age of 19. 30 years later she was exonerated of Guilt and canonized by Pope Benedict XV.

kateriSt. Kateri Tekakwitha

Feastday: July 14
Patron Saint of: Ecology, Exiles, Loss of Parents, people ridiculed for their piety, and World Youth Day

Blessed Kateri Tekawitha is the patron saint of the environment and ecology. She was born near the town of Auriesville, New York, in 1656. She was the daughter of a Mohawk warrior and was only four years old when her mother died of smallpox. The disease also attacked Kateri and transfigured her face. After her mother’s death, she went to live with her two aunts and her uncle, where she was converted in her teens. When she was baptized at the age of twenty, it greatly angered her tribe, and although she suffered for her faith she was firm in it. She was devoted to the Eucharist and to Jesus Crucified. She died on April 17, 1680 at the age of twenty-four. She is known as the “Lily of the Mohawks” and devotion to Kateri is responsible for establishing Native American Ministries in Catholic Churches’ all over the U.S. and Canada. She is the first Native American saint.

leocadiaSt. Leocadia

Feastday: December 9
Patron Saint of: Toledo, Spain

St. Leocadia was a native of Toledo, Spain, and was apprehended by order of Dacian, a cruel governor under the rule of Emperor Diocletian in 304. Hearing of the martyrdom of St. Eulalia, she prayed that God would not prolong her exile, but unite her speedily with her holy friend in His glory. Her prayer was heard, and she happily expired in prison. Three famous churches in Toledo bear her name, and she is honored as principal patroness of that city.


lucySt. Lucy

Feastday: December 13
Patron Saint of: Blind People

At a very young age, St. Lucy dedicated herself to Christ, but her mother had other plans for her. She was soon betrothed to a young pagan man. To change her mother’s mind, she began to pray at the tomb of St. Agnes. Her mother’s long illness was then miraculously cured. The rejected bridegroom denounced Lucy as a Christian to the governor. When the guards came to force her into prostitution, they could not move her. She was then tortured and killed.


macrina-the-youngerSt. Macrina the Younger

Feastday: July 19
Patron Saint of: Widows

St. Macrina (330-380) was the eldest child in a family of saints. Her grandparents were martyrs. Her parents, Basil and Emmelia, are also recognized as saints. She was well educated by her mother and was able to read at an early age. Macrina, in turn, became the teacher of her younger brothers Basil, later bishop of Neocaesarea, and Gregory, later bishop of Nyssa, who themselves became two of the greatest teachers in the Universal Church. At age 12, Macrina was engaged to be married, but when her fiancé died quite suddenly, she decided she would not marry despite subsequent offers. Instead, she dedicated her life to raising her brothers and assisting her mother with housework, cooking, and directing the servants. She also devoted a good part of her time to prayer. After her siblings had grown up, they called her Macrina the Great, as they had in their childhood, a sign of the high respect they had for her. On the death of their father, Basil took her, with their mother, to a family estate in Pontus. Here, with their servants and other companions, they consecrated themselves to God and led a contemplative life. Macrena succeeded her mother in becoming the head of the double monastery of women and men founded by Basil. Kissing an iron crucifix that held the relics of the Cross of the Savior, which she always had close to her, St. Macrina died peacefully in the year 379. She was buried beside her parents.

maria_gorettiSt. Maria Goretti

Feastday: July 6
Patron Saint of: Young Women, Purity, and Victims of Rape

Maria Goretti was born October 16, 1890 in Corinaldo Italy to Luigi Goretti and his wife Assunta Carlini. Baptized on October 17 in the the Church of San Francesco. October 4, 1896 Maria was confirmed. June 16, 1901 Maria receives her First Holy Communion. Maria lived her young life as a devoted Catholic until July 5, 1902 when she was attacked by her neighbor with intent to sexually abuse her. July 6, 1902 Maria then dies at the age of 11 after she forgives her neighbor. She eventually became known to be the youngest Roman Catholic saint ever.

martinaSt. Martina

Feastday: January 30

St. Martina, a noble virgin of Rome, was the daughter of a Consul. Having lost her parents as a child, and being exceedingly fervent in the practice of the Christian religion, she was singularly charitable to the poor, and distributed among them her immense riches. During the reign of Alexander Severus, she was ordered to worship the false gods, but courageously refused to commit so detestable a crime. Where upon she was several times scourged. Her flesh was torn with iron hooks and nails, and with potsherds, and her whole body was cut with sharp sword. She was scalded with boiling oil, and was at length condemned to be devoured by wild beasts in the amphitheatre, but being miraculously left untouched by them, she was thrown on a burning pile, from which she also escaped unhurt, by the same divine power. She was then beheaded.


odiliaSt. Odilia

Feastday: December 13

Patron Saint of: Blind and Partially Sighted People

In the year 300, St. Odilia and ten other virgins set out from England on a pilgrimage to spread the faith in the East. Their ship, by accident, changed course and they ended up being captured and taken by barbarians to Cologne. There the women were tempted to give into the barbarians and give up their sacred purity. The women then replied to the barbarians, “I have chosen the cross,” and the barbarians killed them. St. Odilia eventually became patron saint of the Order of the Holy Cross.


philomenaSt. Philomena

Feastday: August 11

Patron Saint of: Babies and Youth

St. Philomena was born in 291 and died in 304. Very little is known about St. Philomena other than she was a martyr. Her remains were discovered in 1802 in the Catacombs of Priscilla. After people would see her remains, many miracles occurred such as cured ailments and healed wounds. In 1833 a Neapolitan nun reported a vision which revealed that St. Philomena was a Greek princess martyred for her devotion to God at age 13 by Diocletian, the Roman Emperor from 284 to 305. She eventually became a saint and her remains are still on display in the Church of Our Lady of Grace in Mugnano del Cardinale.


priscaSt. Prisca

Feastday: January 18

Patron Saint of: Good Marriages

St. Prisca was born to Christian parents of a noble family. She was raised during the reign of Roman Emperor Claudius. Prisca’s parents went to great lengths to conceal their faith. St. Prisca, however, did not feel the need to take precautions. The young girl openly professed her dedication to Christ, and eventually, she was reported to the emperor. Claudius had her arrested, and commanded that she make sacrifice to idols. St. Prisca refused, and was tortured. Claudius ordered that she be imprisoned, in the hopes that she would denounce Christ. When all efforts to change her mind failed, she was taken to face a ferocious lion in the coliseum, but the lion began to gently lick her feet. She was then beheaded.


roseoflimaSt. Rose of Lima

Feastday: August 23

Patron Saint of: Latin America and the Philippines

St. Rose of Lima was born in Lima, Peru on April 20, 1586. Her real name was Isabel, but she was such a beautiful baby that she was called Rose. As she grew older, she became more beautiful everyday. Her mother decided to put a wreath of roses on her head to show off her beauty. Rose did not approve though. She wanted to devote her life to Jesus. So she made herself unappealing to others by adding thorns to her wreath which pierce her head. She also rubbed peppers on her face to blister her kin. Her loneliness pained her very much but she offered her pains to God and kept her devotion to Him till her death.


roseofviterboSt. Rose of Viterbo

Feastday: September 4

Patron Saint of: People in Exile

Saint Rose of Viterbo was born in 1235 in Viterbo, Italy. During her time, Emperor Frederick conquered many lands that belonged to the Church. She found it her mission to preach to her city and nearby cities to remain faithful to God and to not let the Emperor take away their faith or their land. Eventually the Emperor exiled her from Viterbo to get her to stop preaching against him. Rose knew the Emperor would die soon and he did. Rose returned to Viterbo to continue preaching the word of God. She died in 1252 at the age of 17. Her body is preserved today in Viterbo, Italy.


syncleticaSt. Syncletica

Feastday: January 5

St. Syncletica was born to a prominent family in Alexandria in the fourth century. She was very beautiful and dedicated herself to God, refusing to marry anyone. After the death of her parents, she distributed her inheritance to the poor. She left the city together with her younger sister, and lived in a crypt for the rest of her life.


theclaSt. Thecla

Feastday: September 23

Patron Saint of: Tarragona, Spain

Thecla was a native of Iconium who was so impressed by the preaching of St. Paul on virginity that she broke off her engagement to live a life of virginity. Paul was ordered to be scourged and banished from the city for his teaching, and Thecla was ordered to be burned to death. When a storm extinguished the flames, she escaped with Paul and went with him to Antioch. After preaching with Paul, she was condemned to be eaten by wild bests in an arena. When the beasts did no harm to her, she rejoined Paul in Lycia and was told by him to preach the Gospel. She lived as a hermitess for the next seventy-two years and died in Lycia.


zitaSt. Zita

Feastday: April 27

Patron Saint of: Domestic Workers

St. Zita was born to a very poor but holy Christian family. Her sister was a Cistercian nun and her uncle became a hermit that many of the locals regarded as a saint. At the age of twelve, Zita became a housekeeper for a rich family in Lucca. She stayed with this family for the last 48 years of her life. Although busy, she found time to go to Mass daily, recite prayers, and do her chores so perfectly the other servants were jealous of her. She quickly became a good friend to the family and they were never upset by her generous gifts of food to the poor. She visited the sick and imprisoned whenever her work allowed and at her death in 1278 the people declared her a saint.