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There's A Story Behind Every Saint | Keep God in Life

In today's world, the process for becoming a Catholic saint is pretty standard. You live a life of service, do good works, and devote yourself to virtuous actions like caring for the sick or feeding the poor. You grant a verifiable miracle or two, and you're now a saint. Many modern saints have taken this path and stories can begin to blend together.

Some thousands of years ago, the process was anything but routine. Back then, people became saints for all kinds of reasons, and lived all types of different lives. Here are ten wild stories of regular people on their path to sainthood.

Saint George

St. George lived in the third century and had joined the Roman military. He rose through the ranks, eventually becoming a high-ranking officer. George ranked high enough so that when the emperor began ordering Christians to be executed, George confronted him. Subsequently, he was tortured and endured a lengthy suffering, but his faith didn't budge. This steadfast devotion inspired thousands to convert, including Roman empress Alexandra. George died as a martyr and his legend grew over the centuries. Somehow throughout this time, a story emerged that Saint George had slain a mighty dragon, which gave him the nickname of Saint George the Dragon Slayer.

Saint Magnus

Most people probably have images of how they depict saints in their heads, but how about an old Norse Viking? Born to Viking parents, Saint Magnus Erlendsson grew up on the Orkney Islands, a Scottish archipelago that the Norse had conquered. His family was all raiders, conquering across what would eventually become the British Isles, but Magnus himself was a quiet, gentle, pious Christian. This created conflict between him and his family- so much conflict that he was eventually executed by his cousin, Haakon Paulsson. Magnus' influence on his culture and family didn't end with his death, however. His nephew, Sigurd became the first king in Europe to participate in a crusade to the Holy Land.

Saint Sebastian

Saint Sebastian had to be killed twice! For a good chunk of his life, Sebastian kept his Christianity private. This helped him survive while still being able to do good Christian works. In his time as a prison guard and soldier, he converted many prisoners to Christianity, including the warden himself. Best of all, the warden then set all his prisoners free!

The Emperor eventually found out and sentenced him to death. Sebastian was tied to a tree and riddled with arrows by a firing squad. He survived, walked straight to the emperor, and told him off. Then Sebastian was quickly beaten to death, but still managed the feat of having to be 'murdered twice.'

Saint Christopher

According to the legends, Saint Christopher began life as a 7'6" beast with a permanent scowl and worked for the king of Canaan. Unsatisfied with Canaan's style of management, Christopher sought out to find the greatest king of all. However, because of seeing  the king's fear of the devil, he decided the devil must be of an even greater power. Christopher eventually found a local thug proclaiming himself the devil and he planned to serve him. That is until, Christopher found out that the devil's biggest fear was the image of Christ, which led him to believe that Christ truly was the top dog. He was right.

While working to serve God, Christ Himself came down to visit, in the form of a child. He praised Christopher's good work. Saint Christopher deserves a level of respect for seeking out each brand of king before eventually choosing the right one. 

Moses the Black

A career criminal, habitual thief and murderer, Moses the Black found his faith completely by accident. One day sometime in the fourth century, Moses was attempting a home robbery, a common occurrence for him. A barking dog alerted the owner, so he retreated. Later, Moses decided to come back and turn the robbery into a homicide.

The dog once again alerted the owner and he was forced to run and hide. Afraid of being discovered, Moses found shelter in none other than a Christian monastery. While inside, he fell in love with their lifestyle. Moses became a monk, found his salvation, and later went out by being killed by a bandit attack.

Saint Elmo

Famous nowadays for being a weather phenomenon, the actual Saint Elmo lived a life full of epic fortitude from start to finish. The first time Elmo was imprisoned and tortured for his beliefs, an angel helped him escape. The second time, he was sealed into a barrel full of spikes and rolled down a hill. Ouch! Once again, an angel came to the rescue, healed his wounds, and freed him. The third time around, Elmo was set on fire. He survived, was thrown in prison, and still escaped. Finally after one more capture, torture, and having his intestines tied around a pole outside his body, he died for good.

Saint Quiteria

One of the nonuplet sisters, Saint Quiteria's mother was disgusted with them at birth and ordered a maid to drown them in a river. The maid took pity on the children and went out to find them a new home. Once the sisters were fully grown, they were fully formed Christians and each would refuse to marry the Roman men they were promised. Because of this, the Nonuplet sisters were imprisoned in a tower but managed to escape.

After this point, they waged “guerrilla war” on Roman soldiers. The sisters hid in the mountains and struck hard before fading back. Quiteria was the leader of the nine identical sisters. This war ended unsuccessful for the nonuplets; Quiteria was captured and beheaded and two other sisters were also martyred. One Portuguese legends proclaims that Saint Quiteria, after being beheaded, was thrown into the sea and later emerged holding her own head in her hands.

Joan of Arc

Saint Joan of Arc was burnt at the stake at just 19. At age 13, she received visions from three saints that told her of her destiny to defeat the English and to drive them out of France. She ended up playing a major role in doing just that. Within a year of her entrance into the Hundred Years War, the conflict switched from an English lead to a French lead. Joan, being a charismatic, strategic, and fearless leader, lead French troops to numerous victories before she was ultimately captured and executed.

Agatha of Sicily

Out of all the saints on this list, Agatha perhaps had the worse life of them all. She lived a life of near-constant torture and imprisonment from her teenage years on, but never once recanted her faith, completing her story as triumphant. From age 15 until her death, approximately five years later, she held to a strict vow of chastity. This angered a Roman official who wished to win her over. Agatha's refusal to her advances drove him to have her tortured, imprisoned, tortured, and imprisoned repeatedly. The whole time, she never gave in and ended up dying in prison without ever backing down from her faith.

Perpetua and Felicity

These are two different saints with very intertwined stories. Perpetua lived as a noblewoman and had Felicity as her slave, though this relationship was much friendlier than standard master and slave dynamics. Intolerant Romans found them both to be Christians and sentenced each to death. Felicity was pregnant at the time and was supposed to be spared of the death sentence. Just days before Perpetua's scheduled execution, Felicity gave birth and was put back on the chopping block, so to speak. 

The plan for execution was to let a wild cow trample them, and it did indeed tear into them, but both survived. A Roman soldier then took his sword and stabbed each of them. Felicity died instantly, Perpetua was wounded. She pulled the sword out of herself, put it to her own neck, and sliced it herself, ensuring that she alone would dictate the terms of her own death. How about that for a way to go out?

Wrapping Up

Each and every saint has a story, and all became saints for one reason or another. Some lived lives of good works, some started off on a far opposite path before finding God, and some showed their faith through pure strength during times of testing. Each deserves their title, and every story can leave you with something to remember as you go throughout your daily life. To keep a saint by your side all day long, grab a pocket-size prayer card for your wallet.

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