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Saint Vitus

Saint Vitus
  • Century: 4th Century
  • Patronage: Storms, Epilepsy, Actors, Comedians, Dancers, Snake Bites, Poisonous Bites
  • Feast Day: June 15th

St. Vitus was an adolescent martyr of the church.  He was born in Sicily in 290, and died as a martyr during the persecution of the Christians by the Roman Emperor in 303, at the age of 13.  St. Vitus is counted as one of the “Fourteen Holy Helpers” of the Roman Catholic Church. 

Vitus was only 7 years old, and the son of a senator of Lucania.  He resisted his father’s attempts, which included various forms of torture, to make him turn away from his Catholic faith.  He fled with his Tutor and the Tutor’s wife – who was also his nanny, to Lucania.  He was then taken from there back to Rome to drive out a demon, which had taken possession of a son of the Emperor Diocletian.  After he worked his miracle and cured the son from Epilepsy he remained steadfast to the Catholic Faith.  This was not what the Emperor wanted, and asked him to give up his faith, and worship the Emperor’s gods and idols. 

He was tortured along with his Tutor and Nanny by the Emperor. By a miracle, they were brought back from Rome to Lucania, where they all three died from their tortures they had endured by the Roman Emperor. 

It is reported that three days after Vitus’s death, he appeared to a distinguished matron named Florentia.   Together he and Florentia who found the bodies of him, his Tutor and Nanny, buried them in the spot they were found.  He worked many miracles, even in his youth.  He is very popular today in Italy, Germany, and Bohemia.  Many countries celebrate this youth’s feast day, by dancing around his statue, and have for many centuries.  The St. Vitus “Dance” is very popular to this day.   

Practical Take Away

With this example set to us by our early Christian brothers, especially Vitus at the age of 13 becoming a martyr for the faith – we should all be encouraged to defend our faith.  To think that he would go against his own father by refusing to give up his faith shows the dedication he had towards the Catholic Church and faith.  How many times in today’s society, do we so easily give up when things get tough?  How many times do we remain silent, when we could speak up and defend the faith?  We could all learn a lot by the life of this adolescent martyr – who rather than conforming to society, remained true to God through the Catholic Church, and merited Heaven for all eternity.   In thanksgiving for St. Vitus’s intercession for us – don’t forget to do the St. Vitus Dance!