Saint of the Day – 24 July – Saint Christina Bolsena (3rd Century) Virgin Martyr. Born in the 3rd Century, probably at Rome, Italy into the family Anicii and died in the late 3rd Century at Lake Bolsena, Tuscany, Italy. Patronages – archers, mariners, millers . Also known as Cristina Anicii, Cristina of Tyro, Cristina.
The Roman Martyrology’s entry today says: “At Tyro, in Tuscany, on the lake Bolsena, St Christina, Virgin and Martyr. Believing in Christ and breaking up her Father’s gold and silver idols to give them to the poor, she was cruelly scourged by his command, subjected to other most severe torments and thrown with a heavy stone into the lake, from which she was drawn out by an angel. Then, under another Judge, who succeeded her Father, she bore courageously still more bitter tortures. Finally, after she had been shut up by the Governor, Julian, in a burning furnace for five days, without any injury and being cured of the sting of serpents, she ended her Martyrdom by having her tongue cut out and being pierced with arrows.”
St Christina was the daughter of Urbain, a rich and powerful magistrate. . At least one account says that she destroyed her father’s golden idols and distributed their peices among the poor.
By her father’s command, Christina was tortured to death. Her executions tore into her body with iron hooks. Afterward, they fastened her to a rack and lit a strong fire under her . Narratives say that God protected Christina by turning the burning flames against her onlookers. Next, although a heavy stone was tied around her neck to drown her in Bolsena Lake, an angel loosened the bonds and saved her. Unexpectedly, Christina’s father died while she was being tortured. Perhaps a glimmer of remorse saved his soul from eternal death!
Christina was again tortured by the magistrate who succeeded her father. The writer Fr Alban Butler states, that Christina remained unhurt inside a burning furnace for 5 days. Once removed, serpents could not bite her. In a rage, Christina’s torturers cut out her tongue and shot her to death with arrows. The island-city, Tyro, where she was executed was swallowed up by waters in the course of time.
St.Christina’s relics are kept at Palermo in Sicily in a Basilica named for her. Her courage is testament to her perfect love for Jesus. “There is no fear in love but perfect love casts out fear. (Jn. 4:18)”