Saint Quentin, Martyr

October 31

Today is the feast day of Saint Quentin.  Ora pro nobis.

Saint Quentin (Quintinus) was a Roman, descended from a senatorial family. Full of zeal for the kingdom of Jesus Christ, he left his country and went into Gaul, accompanied by eleven other apostles sent from Rome. They separated to extend their campaign of evangelization to the various regions of France. Saint Quentin remained at Amiens and endeavored by his prayers and labors to make that region part of Our Lord’s inheritance.  He gave sight to the blind, vigor to paralytics, hearing to the deaf, and agility to the infirm, in the name of Our Lord, simply by the sign of the Cross. At all hours of the day he invoked his God in fervent supplications. (1)

The perfect Rictiovarus heard what great progress the Christian faith had made at Amiens, and he ordered Quentin to be thrown into prison. The next day the holy preacher was brought before the perfect, who tried to win him over with promises and threats; finding him proof against both, he ordered him to be whipped and confined to a dungeon without the liberty of receiving assistance from the faithful. (2)

Rictiovarus asked him: How does it happen that you, of such high nobility and the son of so distinguished a father, have given yourself up to so superstitious a religion, a folly, and that you adore an unfortunate man crucified by other men? Saint Quentin replied: It is sovereign nobility to adore the Creator of heaven and earth, and to obey willingly His divine commandments. What you call folly is supreme wisdom. What is there that is wiser than to recognize the unique true God, and to reject with disdain the counterfeits, which are mute, false and deceiving? (1)

The passio of St. Quentin is a worthless recital of tortures and marvels. It says that his limbs were stretched with pulleys on the rack till his joints were dislocated, his body torn with iton wire, boiled pitch and oil were poured on his back and lighted torches applied to his sides. By the ministry of an angel he escaped from prison but was taken again while preaching in the market-place. When Rictiovarus left Amiens he commanded Quentin to be conducted to Augusta Veromanduorum (now Saint-Quentin), where he made fresh attacks upon the confessor of Christ. Ashamed to see himself vanquished by his courage, Rictiovarus ordered him to be tortured anew, and at last his head to be cut off, whereupon a dove issued from the gaping neck and flew away into the heavens. The martyr’s body was thrown into the river Somme; but it was recovered by the Christians and buried near the town. (2)

His body was twice buried secretly, and twice it was rediscovered miraculously — in the years 338 and 641, first by Saint Eusebie of Rome, on a marshy island, where it had remained intact; later near the city of Augusta, by Saint Eloi. Saint Quentin remains in great honor in France above all, where more than fifty-two churches and as many localities were, at the beginning of the 20th century, dedicated to his memory; he is honored also in Belgium and in Italy.

Image: Quintinus, artist: Jacopo Carucci, circa 1517-1518 (3)

Research by REGINA Staff



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