Lawrence of Rome

Feast Day: August 10
Canonized: Pre-Congregation

Lawrence was a deacon in Rome in the early days of the Church; he lived around 225-258, a time when Christians were harshly persecuted. We know little about him except for a legend that tells us about the remarkable deed he performed a few days before he was martyred.

The story that has come down to us through the ages is that a Roman official came to Lawrence and demanded that Lawrence give him the treasure—or riches—of the Church. The official said that the emperor needed the money he would receive if crucifixes and sacred vessels like chalices were melted down and the gold sold.

Surprisingly, Lawrence agreed. He asked the official for three days to prepare the “treasures.” During those three days, Lawrence sold everything he could and gave the money to the poor, the sick, orphans, widows, and anyone in need. He asked all of those people then to go with him to the official. The legend says that Lawrence lined all the people up and announced to the official, “These are the treasures of the Church!”

The Roman official was furious. Lawrence was immediately arrested and brutally executed. As he was led to his death, Lawrence said these words: “I rejoice greatly because I have been considered worthy to be a sacrificial victim for Christ” (Evening Prayer, The Liturgy of the Hours). He was the last of the seven deacons to be killed in that period, along with all bishops, priests, and even Pope Sixtus II.

Deacons are called to help the bishops and priests. From the beginnings of the Church, one of their most important responsibilities has been to minister to those in need. St. Lawrence fulfilled this responsibility heroically. He is one of our most beloved saints. The Church named in his honor in Rome is a visited by thousands of pilgrims each year.

Today he is known as a patron saint of cooks, librarians, archivists, and tanners.

Connecting to Be My Disciples®
Grade 6, chapter 5