Mottos / Last Words
they heard this, they were infuriated, and they ground their teeth
at him. But [Stephen], filled with the Holy Spirit, looked up
intently to heaven and saw the glory of God and Jesus standing at
the right hand of God, and he said, 'Behold, I see the heavens
opened and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.' But
they cried out in a loud voice, covered their ears, and rushed
upon him together. They threw him out of the city, and began to
stone him. The witnesses laid down their cloaks at the feet of a
young man named Saul. As they were stoning Stephen, he called out,
'Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.' Then he fell to his knees and
cried out in a loud voice, 'Lord, do not hold this sin against
them'; and when he said this, he fell asleep." (Acts 7:54-59)
"For I am already being poured out like a libation, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have competed well; I have finished the race; I have kept the faith. From now on the crown of righteousness awaits me, which the Lord, the just judge, will award to me on that day, and not only to me, but to all who have longed for his appearance."
(St. Paul, 2 Tm. 4:6-8)
"To suffer or to die."
of St. Teresa of Avila, Doctor of the Church)
Boniface, martyr, during torture: "I
give thee thanks, Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God!"
Cyprian on hearing his death sentence: "Thanks be to
being struck with stones, smiling: "I give Thee thanks, O
come to thee, O good Jesus!" (St. Laurence Justinian)
"I have loved
righteousness and hated iniquity - therefore I die in exile"
(Last words of Pope St. Gregory VII)
Probus, martyr: "The more my body suffers for Jesus Christ,
the more is my soul refreshed."
Bede the Venerable, Doctor of the Church, last words: "Glory
be to the Father and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost."
Eusebius while being tortured: "Lord Jesus, preserve me.
Whether we live or die, we are thine."
while being tortured: "Never in my whole life have I felt
such joy, as I do today."
his executioner, while over burning coals: "See, this side is
well roasted; turn me on the other and eat."
Tiburtius, while walking
upon fire: "Learn that the God of the Christians is the only
God, for these hot coals seem flowers to me."
Dulas while being scourged: "I thank thee, my Lord Jesus, for
having deemed me worthy to suffer this for love of thee."
said while being taken to execution: "I give thee
thanks, O thou lover of our souls, that thou callest me to thy
words of St. Peter of Verona (written by him in his blood as he
was dying) "Credo in unum Deo" ("I believe in one
God", from the Creed)
Hippolytus, martyr, last words: "Lord, they tear my body, receive
thou my soul."
martyr, after torture: "O my Saviour, I return you most
hearty thanks that you have been pleased to make me share in your
Tarachus, martyr, when beaten, said: "You have now made me
truly wise. I am strengthened by your blows, and my confidence in
God and in Jesus Christ is increased."
Eusebius, when told that he would be burnt alive due to his faith, said:
"As to that, I am in no pain. The more severe or cruel the
torments are, the greater the crown will be."
of St. Symphorian's mother upon his martyrdom: "My son, my
son, remember life eternal; look up, and see Him who reigns in
heaven; they are not taking thy life away, but changing it into a
Secunda, martyr, on seeing her sister being scourged: "Why do you
treat my sister thus honorably, but me dishonorably? Order us both
to be scourged, since we both confess Christ to be God."
St. Julian, Martyr at
Brioude, just before martyrdom: "Alas,
I am too long in this bad world; O, how I burn with desire to be
have confessed the true God at Siscia: I have never adored any
other. Him I carry in my heart, and no man on earth shall ever be
able to separate me from him." (St. Quirinus, Bishop and Martyr)
during the martyrdom of Saints Mark and Marcellian: "Never did we
enjoy any banquet so much as what we are now undergoing for Jesus
Christ's sake, in whose love we now begin to be firmly fixed:
would that he might let us suffer this as long as we are clad in
this corruptible body!"
"I am now performing the true function of a priest, in
offering myself a sacrifice to the living God. I feel not the
blows which my body has received: they give me no torment. I am
ready to suffer much greater tortures, that they who have been
committed to my charge may be encouraged to follow me to eternal
life." (St. Quirinus, Bishop and Martyr)
burning coals: "I offer myself as a sacrifice to God for an
odour of sweetness." And, "Learn, unhappy man, how great
is the power of my God; for your burning coals give me
refreshment, but they will be your eternal punishment. I call
Thee, O Lord, to witness: when I was accused, I did not deny Thee;
when I was questioned, I confessed Thee, O Christ; on the red-hot
coals I gave thee thanks. Yea, I give Thee thanks, O Lord Jesus
Christ, for that Thou hast deigned to strengthened me."
Eusebius replied [to his persecutor],
'Neither fire nor the sword will work any
change in me. Tear this weak body to pieces with the utmost
cruelty; treat it in what manner you please. My soul, which is
God's, cannot be hurt by your torments. I persevere firm in the
holy law to which I have adhered from my cradle.' The president,
upon this, condemned him to be beheaded. Eusebius, hearing the sentence pronounced, said aloud,
'I thank thy goodness, and
praise thy power, O Lord Jesus Christ, that by calling me to the
trial of my fidelity, thou hast treated me as one of thine.'
He, at that instant, heard a voice from heaven, saying to him, 'If you had not been found worthy to suffer, you could not be
admitted into the court of Christ, or to the seats of the
"In the meantime one Joseph, a holy
priest of Bethcatuba, and Aithilahas, a deacon of Beth-nudra,
famed for eloquence, sanctity, and learning, were brought before
the same governor. To his interrogatories, Joseph answered, that
he was a Christian, and had always taught the sun to be an
inanimate creature. The issue was, that he was
stretched flat on
the ground, and beaten with thick twigs stripped of the thorns, by
ten executioners who succeeded one another, till his body seemed
one continued wound. At the sight of himself in this condition the
martyr with joy said: 'I return you the greatest thanks I am
able, Christ, the Son of God, who have granted me this mercy, and
washed me with this second baptism of my blood, to wipe away my
long after this, he was brought before the tribunal; where he
began to extol the mystery of the cross, and rebuke the judge for
his impiety. Aegeas, no longer able to contain himself on hearing
these words, ordered him to be hoisted on a cross, and so to die
like Christ. [St.] Andrew, having been brought to the place of
execution seeing the cross at some distance, began to cry out: O
good cross, made beautiful by the body of my Lord! so long
desired, so anxiously loved, so unceasingly sought after, and now
at last ready for my soul to enjoy! take me from amidst men, and
restore me to my Master; that by thee he may receive me, who has
by thee redeemed me. He was therefore fastened to thee cross, in
which he hung alive two days, preaching without cessation the
faith of Christ; after which he passed to him, whose death he had
so coveted. The priests and deacons of Achaia, who wrote his
passion, attest that all the things which they have recorded were
heard and seen by them." (Life of St. Andrew, the Apostle, from the ancient
Acts of Martyrdom)
Laurence, 3rd century martyr, at
the point of death: "O Christ, only God, O Splendor, O Power
of the Father, O Maker of heaven and earth and builder of this
city's walls! Thou hast placed Rome's sceptre high over all; Thou
hast willed to subject the world to it, in order to unite under
one law the nations which differ in manners, customs, language,
genius, and sacrifice. Behold the whole human race has submitted
to its empire, and all discord and dissensions disappear in its
unity. Remember thy purpose: Thou didst will to bind the immense
universe together into one Christian Kingdom. O Christ, for the
sake of Thy Romans, make this city Christian; for to it Thou
gavest the charge of leading all the rest to sacred unity All its
members in every place are united - a very type of Thy Kingdom;
the conquered universe has bowed before it. Oh! May its royal head
be bowed in turn! Send Thy Gabriel and bid him heal the blindness
of the sons of Iulus that they may know the true God. I see a prince who is to come - an Emperor who is a servant of God. He will
not suffer Rome to remain a slave; he will close the temples and
fasten them with bolts for ever."
sweet to suffer for Jesus Christ! I cannot find words energetic
enough to tell you what I feel, more especially since I have been
confined in prison, where we are forced to observe a continual
fast. The strength of my body has left me, but the joy of my heart
increases in proportion to the prospect of a speedy death. What a
happiness it will be if I am permitted to sing next Easter Sunday
the Haec Dies in heaven! Had you tasted the sweet delight which
God has poured into our souls, you would indeed despise the good
things this world affords. Since I have been in prison for His
sake, I feel that I am a disciple of Jesus. I now find myself
fully compensated for the pangs of hunger, by the consoling
sweetness which filled my soul and were I to be immured in prison
for years, the time would appear to me to be short, so much do I
desire to suffer for Him who rewards me so liberally for my pains.
Among other illnesses, I have had a fever raging within me which
lasted a hundred days, without the possibility of being relieved.
During all this time my joy has been so great, that I find it
useless to describe it in words."
"As the lot of the reprobate is to die in
sin, that of the elect is to expire in the love and grace of God,
which is effected in several ways. Many of the saints died, not
only in the state of charity, but in the actual exercise of divine
love. St. Augustine expired in making an act of contrition, which
cannot exist without love; St. Jerome, in exhorting his disciples
to charity and the practice of all virtues; St. Ambrose, in
conversing sweetly with his Savior, whom he had received in the
Holy Eucharist; St. Anthony of Padua also expired in the act of
discoursing with our Divine Lord, after having recited a hymn in
honor of the ever-glorious Virgin; St. Thomas of Aquinas, with his
hands clasped, his eyes raised to heaven, and pronouncing these
words of the Canticles, which were the last he had expounded:
'Come, my beloved, let us go forth into the field' (Cant. vii.
II). All the apostles, and the greater number of the martyrs, died
in prayer. Venerable Bede, having learned the hour of his death by
revelation, went to the choir at the usual hour to sing the
evening office, it being the feast of the Ascension, and at the
very moment he had finished singing vespers he expired, following
his Guide and Master into Heaven, to celebrate His praises in that
abode of rest and happiness, round which the shades of night can
never gather, because it is illumined by the brightness of the
eternal day, which neither dawns nor ends... The fervor and ardor
of St. Martin at the hour of his death are remarkable. St. Louis,
who has proved himself as great a monarch among the saints as an
eminent saint among kings, being attacked by the plague, ceased
not to pray, and after receiving the Viaticum, he extended his
arms in the form of a cross, fixed his eyes on heaven, and,
animated with love and confidence, expired in saying with the
Psalmist: 'I will come into Thy house, O Lord; I will worship
towards Thy holy temple, in Thy fear' (Ps. 5: 8). St. Peter
Celestine, after having endured the most cruel and incredible
afflictions, seeing the end of his days approach, began to sing
like the swan, and terminated his song with his life, by these
words of the last Psalm: 'Let every spirit praise the Lord' (Ps.
150: 5). St. Eusebia, surnamed the Stranger, died kneeling in
fervent prayer. St. Peter the Martyr yielded his last sigh in
writing [using his finger, dipped in his blood] the
articles of the faith for which he sacrificed his life, and in
saying: ' Into Thy hands, O Lord, I commend my spirit' (Ps. 30:
6). The great apostle of the Indies and Japan, St. Francis Xavier,
expired holding a crucifix, which he tenderly embraced, and
incessantly repeated in transports of love, ' O Jesus! the God of
my heart!'" (St. Francis de Sales, Doctor of the Church)
Sayings of the Saints | Martyrdom
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Francis' Death (St. Francis Section) | St.
Louis' Parting Words
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