07 Sep Saint Regina, Martyr
Today is the feast day of Saint Regina. Ora pro nobis.
Legend has it that Saint Regina was the daughter of a pagan aristocrat named Clement, in Alise, Burgundy. Her mother died in childbirth. Regina’s father placed her upbringing in the care of a Christian nurse attached to the family, who recognizing her sanctity. The nurse secretly baptized her. Regina was driven from her family’s home because of her faith, and lived as a poor, prayerful shepherdess.
Regina lived with her nurse, worked in the fields by day, tending sheep, to help support the household. In the fields, Regina grew closer to the Lord, meditating and contemplating His love and mercy, and praying to better emulate the lives of the holy saints and martyrs.
At the age of fifteen, Regina caught the eye of the prefect of Gaul, Olybrius, a man of great importance. He became obsessed with the young woman, and was determined to take her as his bride. He delighted in her noble upbringing, but was deeply disturbed to find that she was practicing the Christian faith. At that time, Christians were being violently persecuted and killed, under the direction of the Emperor Decius. Olybrius attempted to persuade her to deny her faith, so as to not only save her from persecution, but to secure her as a wife. She declined, refusing to recant her faith, and professing it all the louder. In retaliation, Olybrius had her imprisoned.
Regina was chained to the walls of a dark prison cell by means of an iron belt that was bolted to the wall. There she was left while Olybrius participated in several military campaigns against invading barbarians, returning to his daily activities. After an absence of some time, he returned, hoping she may have changed her mind. On the contrary, her imprisonment had served to strengthen her resolve to live like the saints and martyrs, and maintain her chastity for the Lord. She refused to sacrifice to idols, and he angrily ordered her tortured. Regina courageously withstood whippings and scourging over the back of a wooden horse, raking with iron combs, burning with hot pincers and torches, and crucifixion. None of these could cause her to doubt the Lord or recant her faith, and as she continued to praise God. Lastly, she was beheaded, ending her life and her conversion of many witnesses present who observed a solitary dove hovering atop her head during her torture.
The relics of Saint Regina are enshrined in Flavigni abbey, having been translated there in 864. Since that time, numerous miracles have been attributed to their presence, and frequent pilgrimages are made by the faithful to venerate them.
Saint Regina is considered the patron saint against poverty, and patroness of shepherdesses and torture victims. Given the accounts of her martyrdom, in art, Saint Regina is portrayed as a maiden bound to a cross with torches applied to her sides, imprisoned with a dove appearing on a shining cross, scourged with rods, or in a boiling cauldron. She is venerated at Autun, France, and in southern Germany.
Image: Statue of the Holy Saint Regina from the church with the same name, Drensteinfurt (3)
Research by Ed Masters, REGINA Staff