Saint of the Day – 11 August – Saint Susanna of Rome (Died c 295) Virgin Martyr. Laywoman who had taken a private vow of Virginity. Died by beheading in c 295 in her father’s house at Rome, Italy.
The Roman Martyrology reads today: “At Rome, the holy virgin Susanna, a woman of noble race and niece of the blessed Pontiff Caius. She erited the Palm of Martyrdom by being behead in the time of Diocletian.”
Saint Susanna was nobly born in Rome, the daughter of a certain St Gabinius, who, after his conversion became a Priest. she was also the niece of Pope Saint Caius, her father’s brother.
This family was also related to the Emperor Diocletian. Susanna’s father had raised her with great care in the fear of God and love of Jesus Christ and she had made a private vow of virginity. Diocletian, wishing to obtain the consent of this very beautiful maiden, to marry his favourite, Maximian. He sent a certain Claudius, another member of her family, to propose the espousals. She refused to consent, making her vow of virginity, known to her father and Saint Caius. She said that even if she had not resolved to conserve her chastity, she would not wish to marry a man responsible for the massacre of an infinite number of Christians. The Emperor’s messenger was converted by her confession of faith and became a fervent penitent.
When Diocletian received no answer from his messenger, concerning the results of the commission and then learned of the conversion of Claudius, he was irate. The, with Claudius. he arrested Susanna, Gabinius her father and several other Christians. He had Susanna beaten in her residence, then decapitated.
The Emperor’s wife, Prisca, who was also a Christian in secret, buried her body clandestinely and prayed to her as a holy Martyr. Later, the house of Gabinius was transformed by Pope Saint Caius into a Church. It eventually became a Convent for Cistercian Nuns.
Saint Susanna suffered towards the beginning of Diocletian’s reign, about the year 295.