St. Aurea

I saw this post here on Fr. Z's blog.  Today is the feast day of St. Aurea - a little-known 3rd century martyr.  My mother has always encouraged us to pray to the forgotten saints, the ones who have so many graces to give, but no-one ever asks.  Since there's something that's been worrying me and is going to continue worrying me for a while, I feel particularly called today to pray to St. Aurea.  I'll let you know if my prayer is answered!

The story of St. Aurea is a beautiful one!  Thanks to for the story.  If I had the time and the impetus, I'd have tried to translate all the Latin...  I love especially how she takes under her care the young boy who was raised from the dead.
During the reign of Claudius II Gothicus, when a vicarius named Ulpius Romulus was in command, a large-scale persecution against the Christians began. There was a certain commander with magisterial power, who was secretly a Christian, fearing God, and believing in the virtue of the Lord Jesus Christ, every day in his secret prayers, and he observed fasting and gave alms. The presence of the Emperor did not deter him, but when he saw that some from the Christian community were dragged to a violent death or to prison, he secretly comforted them, and - as much as he could - catered for their wants in jail and tended to the chains and guards. When king Claudius heard this, he was enraged and ordered that he be arrested and taken to him, and then said to him: "So you are that man Censorinus, worshipper of the gods, always kind to the eternal majesty? There is nothing of service that our clemency has not respected, but through the worship of the gods we always preserve those who govern the state!" Then Censorinus replied and said: "I bear witness to the Lord Jesus Christ; because He is the true God; because He was crucified and buried; and He arose from the dead, which was seen by the very people who crucified Him; because He predicted that He would live after dying; and as they watched, He went to heaven. He deemed it worthy to descend from His Father to the womb of the Virgin in our days; but He deemed it worthy to descend to earth in such a way, that He would not leave heaven". Then Claudius, enraged, said: "You are crazy, Censorinus!", and ordered that he be put into custody at the military outpost of Ostia. He however sang the praises of the Lord day and night, in captivity and constrained by chains. 

In that city was a certain girl of royal descent called Aura, who had already experienced many persecutions resulting from accusations. She had been condemned, and lived on a small estate that she owned, with God-fearing men and holy women. She visited the holy Censorinus daily, during the daytime and at night, and took care of his livelihood. She cleaned his chains with her own hands, and washed his eyes and face. Now in that same place were also the holy Maximus the presbyter, and Archelaus the deacon, who made daily sacrifices to God in the form of hymns and praises. Moreover Maximus the presbyter worked miracles of such a magnitude in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, that as soon as he had joined the blessed Censorinus, the chains were released from his hands and feet instantly. Only then did the blessed Maximus open his mouth, and did he address the guards: "Brothers, abandon the demons and all those idols, and recognize the Lord Jesus Christ, the perpetual king, who has always existed and lives, and who will come to judge the living and the dead, and the world by fire. For the sky and the land will pass, but my Lord Jesus Christ will live now and always and for all eternity". The guards asked Maximus the presbyter: "And what should we do, so that we can acknowledge what you preach?" Maximus the presbyter replied: "Let each of you be baptized, and believe in Christ, our God, and abandon the meaningless idols and do penitence, because you have reviled His holy name unknowingly, and killed many of His saints". Then Felix, Maximus, Taurinus, Herculanus, Nevinus, Historacinus, Menna, Commodius, Hermis, Maurus, Eusebius, Rusticus, Monaxius, Armandinus, Olympius, Eipros and Theodorus the tribune, all seventeen of them, threw themselves at the feet of the blessed Maximus, wishing to be baptized. And soon they were baptized in the usual way, and received the grace of Christ. Then the holy Quiriacus the bishop, anointing them with the unction of Christ, made them familiar with the words of the faith. 

Now in that same place was a shoemaker, whose son had died at that very moment. The shoemaker was lamenting the death of his son, when the blessed Quiriacus and Maximus and the blessed Aura passed by. Then the blessed Maximus said to the shoemaker: "You there, believe in Jesus Christ our God in the presence of us all, and you will live and receive your son!" But he said in tears: "In what should I believe? In something that I have reviled since my youth?" The blessed Maximus replied: "Do penitence, because God does not respond to our repentance according to our sins, but acts according to his great compassion". Then the shoemaker said: "I believe in Jesus Christ our God". Then the blessed Maximus baptized him in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, and when he had received the sign of Christ, delighted and rejoicing, he took the blessed Quiriacus and Maximus the presbyter to his son. Then the blessed Quiriacus the bishop said: "Lord Jesus Christ, who has deemed it worthy to take the shape of a slave, so that you could liberate us from the servitude to the devil, who has deemed it worthy to raise Lazarus, already stinking, from the dead, and who returned to a widow her only son! Bestow your compassion on this servant of yours, so that he may experience the living God, the true God, our Creator, in his own regeneration, for you rule for all eternity". And when all in their turn had said Amen he who was dead lived again, and he started talking and said: "I have seen Jesus Christ our God, taking me back from the darkness to the light". Then they instructed him in the faith, and when he had been baptized and had received the sign of the cross, the blessed Aura took him under her care, because the resuscitated boy, called Faustinus, was ten years old. At the same time it was reported to Claudius that a dead person had been resuscitated through the prayers of the holy ones. And Claudius said: "This can only have been done through magic". And he summoned the vicarius Urbis called Ulpius Romulus, whom he informed, saying: "Hold the sacrilegious Aura in check through punishment. She has beclouded her royal descent, and wishes to live permanently with magical practices. If she will have sacrificed to the gods and goddesses and confided in them, then she will live and the accusation brought by me will be withdrawn. On the other hand, those who will be found to participate in that association will be punished and tortured at once". 

Ulpius Romulus went to the city of Ostia and ordered that all the holy ones be put into custody. Getting up at dawn he ordered that the blessed Aura be brought before him. He said to her: "What mad predilection for magic pervades you? Which need has made you squander your royal majesty and becloud your illustrious lineage?" The blessed Aura replied: "I have beclouded the demons and abandoned the man-made, worthless idols, and I have recognized the only living God, the true God, and Jesus Christ, our God, his Son, who will come to judge the living and the dead, and to condemn the devil, your father, who, together with Claudius, holds you in darkness". Romulus the vicarius said: "You have a mad desire for magic! Give up those false beliefs and focus on your nobility!" The blessed Aura blew into the face of the vicarius and said: "You poor man! If you knew God, the creator of heaven and earth, your mouth would not utter such blasphemies". But Romulus the vicarius, enraged, ordered that she be fixed to the wooden horse. And while they stretched her sinews with force she said, with a cheerful and beautiful face: "I thank you Lord Jesus Christ, who has deemed it worthy to lift me from the underworld to the lofty heavens". And Romulus said: "Where is he, your Christ, who according to you will liberate you!" The blessed Aura replied: "I am not worthy, but He who has deemed it worthy to carry me away from the obscurity of the world, has the power to destroy you and Claudius". And when she had said this the wooden horse broke in pieces. When she had been taken down from the apparatus he ordered that she be beaten with clubs, saying, with the volume of a public crier: "Sacrilegious Aura, do not revile the gods and those who govern the state!". But she said: "Blessed is the Lord Jesus Christ whom I can already see!". Then Romulus said to his assistants: "Hold flames next to her sides", and when the flames were burning she said to Romulus, happy, in a clear voice, and with a beautiful face: "Unhappy man! Are you not ashamed to watch how my members are being roasted by fire, when you think of your mother?" Romulus said: "Your unhappiness deserves these things. Because you have abandoned the immortal gods and your royal descent, and because it has been your desire to be contaminated with magic." Then he ordered that she, half-burned, be thrown back into prison. 

And he ordered that Maximus the presbyter and Archelaus the deacon be brought before him, and to them he said: "Through you and your teachings people revile the names of the gods, and you deceive people, so that they do not believe according to the ancient customs". Maximus the presbyter replied and said: "It is not us who mislead the people, but as much as the grace of God allows through that very Jesus Christ our God, we liberate from worldly mistakes, and we handle property in His holy name". Then Romulus said: "These men should die". And he ordered that Quiriacus the bishop, the holy Maximus the presbyter, Archelaus the deacon and all the soldiers be beheaded near the arch (of Caracalla) in front of the theatre. He ordered that their bodies be thrown into the sea. The blessed Eusebius collected the bodies, hiding them near the sea-shore, in the fields, and burying them near Rome in the necropolis of the Via Ostiensis. He secretly buried Taurinus and Herculanus in Portus Romae. He put the blessed Theodorus the tribune to rest in his own mausoleum, and collected all the others, and put them to rest near the bodies of the holy Quiriacus the bishop and Maximus the presbyter. 

After five days Romulus ordered that the blessed Aura be brought before him. When she was standing in front of him she rejoiced and said: "Unhappy man, why have you been wasting your days? Recognize your creator Christ the Son of God, and do not worship stones, bronze, silver or gold, but worship the Lord Jesus Christ, who was crucified, who rose from the grave on the third day and ascended to heaven, from where he will come to judge the living and the dead, and the world through fire". Romulus replied: "In a moment you will see your Christ, in whom you believe if you will not have sacrificed to the gods". The blessed Aura said: "Well spoken, unhappy man, and for once the truth has come from your mouth, when you say that he was not overcome at all, if I will not have sacrificed to the demons". He ordered that her jaws be beaten with a stone for a long time. The blessed Aura cried out: "Glory to you Lord Jesus Christ, because I have deserved to be called one of your servants!". Romulus said: "Now focus on your nobility, worship the gods, sacrifice, and accept a man in accordance with your descent". Confidently and with a clear voice the blessed Aura said to him: "I have a man, the Lord of heaven and earth, Jesus Christ, whom you, unhappy man, have refused to know. Instead you recognize demons, who have filled your heart with madness and rage". Romulus, enraged, ordered that she be disheartened by the scourge with lead balls, immediately, in his presence. But the longer she was beaten the more she was strengthened. And he sentenced her, ordered that a large stone be tied around her neck, and that she be thrown into the sea. Her holy body washed ashore. But the blessed Nonnus collected her body and buried her on her own estate, where she had lived, outside the walls and the gate of Ostia, on 24 August. 

 Sancta Aurea, ora pro nobis!

As a side note, I can totally see some of the unknown saints helping out the more common ones who are appealed to for so many things!  It's silly on supernatural terms, but can't you just see it...

St. Therese of Lisieux - There are so many girls asking me for discernment help!

St. Aurea - Hey Res, I can take some of those off your hands!  You'll still get the credit of course, but no reason why I can't do a little sending roses myself.

St. Therese - Aurea, that would be lovely!  I'm Confirmation patron for so many teenage girls - do you want to take all the ones that are going to be nuns?  St. Clare and Our Blessed Mother are over there with St. Dominic looking at their predispositions to the different orders.

St. Aurea - No problem!  It's white for consecrated life, red for marriage, right?  This will be fun!

St. Therese - Yes!  Thanks so much!