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The Saints In Art - V

( Originally Published 1908 )

VERONICA, ST. (4th February)

An old tradition says, that as CHRIST was bearing His cross to Calvary, a woman, seeing the drops of agony, wiped his brow with her veil or handkerchief, and that His features remained impressed upon it. This veil was called the Sudarium, and the likeness the Vera Icon (the true image). Legend also says that this woman was called Veronica, and was a niece of King Herod, and a recent convert to the Faith. She came to Rome with her sacred relic, which had miraculous healing powers, and she remained there with St. Peter and St. Paul, and was martyred under Nero.

She is represented in pictures of the road to Calvary, and in others with her veil or handkerchief, bearing on it the face of CHRIST.

VICTOR, ST. (21st July and l0th May)

There are two soldier saints and martyrs of this name—one of Marseilles, and one of Milan. Both were in the Roman army under Diocletian. The former was crushed by a millstone, and is sometimes represented with one ; the latter is often represented as a Moor ; both are in armour.

VINCENT, ST. (a famous Patron Saint in Spain and France). (22nd Jannary)

According to legend he was a native of Aragon, a Christian from early youth. When a deacon, during the persecutions in Spain by the Proconsul Dacian, under Diocletian, he, together with the Bishop Valerius, defied authority and proclaimed the Christian faith publicly in the tribunal. He was tortured, torn with iron forks, and thrown into a dungeon, half dead, but was miraculously sustained by angels. Dacian then tried to conquer him by seduction, gave him every comfort, and a bed of down, on which he at once died. His body was thrown to the beasts, but a raven came and guarded it from attack. It was then fastened to a millstone, and thrown into the sea, but it miraculously came ashore, and the waves, at the command of GOD, buried it. Years after it was carried to Valencia, and in the eighth century the Christians, fleeing from the Moors, took it to, what is now, Cape St.Vincent, and there it was guarded by ravens and crows. Finally the bones were removed to Lisbon, the ship on the occasion being piloted by two crows, and were buried in the cathedral there.

He is represented as a young deacon, and his attribute is a crow or raven, but he often has only the martyr's palm, and can then be distinguished from St. Stephen or St. Lawrence by the lack of their attributes.


Born at Valencia, in 1357, he took the Dominican habit, and became one of the greatest preachers and missionaries in the Order.

He is represented in the habit of the Dominicans, and holds the crucifix. Some-times he is given symbolical wings.


Peasant-born at Puy, in Gascony, he was educated at a convent of Cordeliers. He became tutor in a gentleman's family, and studied for seven years in the University of Toulouse, where he was ordained priest, in 1600. In 1605 he was captured by pirates on his way back from Marseilles to Toulouse, and was carried into slavery at Tunis. Two years later he escaped to France, together with his master and mistress, both of whom were converted by his teaching. Henceforth his life was devoted to charity. At first prisoners and galley slaves were the objects of his benevolence, which, in course of time, extended to almost every form of sin and suffering. He instituted the " Order of Sisters of Charity," and founded the Lazarite Congregation for men ; also the first hospital for foundlings. He died in his eighty-fourth year, in 1660.

He is generally represented with an infant in his arms, and a Sister of Charity kneeling at his feet.

VITALIS, ST. (28th April)

According to legend one of the converts of St. Peter, and the father of SS. Gervasius and Protasius. He served in the army of Nero, and suffered for burying the body of a Christian martyr, whom he had encouraged till his death. After being tortured, he was buried alive. He is the Patron Saint of Ravenna, where his church is most celebrated.

VITUS, ST. (Patron Saint of Dancers and Actors). (15th June)

Was a native of Sicily in the third century. According to the legend, at the age of twelve he declared himself a Christian, and was submitted to tortures by Valerian the Governor. He was thrown into dungeons, and there, angels, bright and shining, were seen dancing with him. He was compelled to escape from Sicily in a small boat with his nurse and foster-father, who were also Christians. They came to Italy, where they fell into worse persecutions, and suffered martyrdom in a cauldron of boiling oil. He is invoked against the affection called after him, St Vitus' dance.

He is represented as a beautiful boy or youth, often with a cock or a cauldron of boiling oil.

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