Saint Victoria lived in Picenum, Italy during pagan Roman rule. Saint Victoria and her sister Saint Anatolia are remembered as beautiful Catholic noble women. They were unfortunately arranged to wed noble pagan men who were far from pleased at having heard that they were practicing Catholics. Saint Victoria was initially content with marrying the pagan as she hope that she would be able to convert him but her sister refused to marry and convinced St. Victoria to do the same as they both sought to devote their lives solely to God.
Now the Saints begin to be TESTED!
The noble pagan suitors both manage to strike a deal with local authorities that allow them to imprison each sister in their respective houses in order to hopefully convince them to denounce their faith. Both sisters responded by selling all of their possessions, giving all of their money to the poor, and devoting themselves to God. Both sisters, during their imprisonment, managed to convert all of the guards, maids, and servants in their respective houses.
Let the MIRACLES commence!
Needless to say, the suitors were both furious at the sister’s failure to denounce their faith and acts of converting the guards, maids, etc. Saint Anatolis’s suitor simply could no longer stand it and therefore, hired Audax to execute her. He initially locked her in a room with a venomous snake which failed to harm her. Upon seeing this, he converted himself and was later martyred as well. Saint Anatolia’s suitor was shocked and therefore, took the initiative to martyr her by stabbing her himself.
What an incredible story but wait, it gets BETTER.
Saint Victoria’s suitor get’s word of what happened and therefore continues to try his best to convince Saint Victoria to change her mind. He goes through periods of great kindness towards her followed with periods of extreme ill-treatment for years. Eventually he gives up on her and stabs her to death himself in a fit of rage. According to legend, he was instantly struck with leprosy and died 6 days later eaten by worms.
Saint Victoria is one of the few saints to have their murderer also face death and illness directly following the act. The story of Saint Victoria and her sister is one of sisterhood, conversion, martyrdom,and sacrifice. Few stories of saints contain all of these powerful elements. Saint Victoria had incredible faith and courage which she displayed in a very unique way. Her feast day is December 23rd.
Saint Victoria is the patron of Anticoli Corrado, Italy and common devotion to her is expressed in Saint Victoria Medals which feature her with a knife representing her martyrdom.