St. Denis

denisFriends in Christ, today there are a number of great saints on the calendar, but let us here speak about St. Denis.
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He was born in Italy, and in his youth he was known for his virtuous life and knowledge of sacred things. He studied to become a priest, and later became a bishop; in 250AD, Pope Fabian sent him and others to France on a dangerous mission of evangelization.
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At that time a horrendous persecution had been raging in France by the Emperor Decius, and the Christians there had all but been exterminated. Denis, with his companions, the priest Rusticus and the deacon Eleutherius, arrived at present day Paris and settled on the island in the middle of the Seine river.
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There, they built a church and began offering Holy Mass daily. The remarkable witness and preaching of St. Denis led to countless conversions to the Catholic Faith. This however, aroused the envy and hatred of the Druid priests in that place. They incited the people against them, which led the local governor to seize Denis and his companions. They were mercilessly beaten, racked, and thrown into prison.
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In the prison Denis celebrated Mass for the prisoners and was about to give out Holy Communion when a bright light appeared in the place; it was the Lord Jesus who appeared there to strengthen and encourage them. The next day they were taken to the highest hill in Paris where the Druid priests conducted their rituals – there they were beheaded: Denis, Rusticus, and Eleutherius.
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In perhaps the most remarkable miracle ever, after his head was chopped off, Denis stood up, took his head in his arms, and marched 6 miles from Montmartre, preaching the entire way to the place where he finally died. There was built the great Basilica of St. Denis.
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St. Denis is honored as one of the 14 Holy Helpers; he is often pictured as a bishop carrying his head. He is the patron saint of France, of possessed people, and of headaches.

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