St. Prisca of Rome
Commemorated January 18
St. Prisca was a child martyr of the early Roman Church. Born to Christian parents of a noble family, Prisca was raised during the reign of Roman Emperor Claudius. While Claudius did not persecute those who believed in Christ with the same fervor as other Roman emperors, Christians still did not practice their faith openly. In fact, Prisca’s parents went to great lengths to conceal their faith, and thus they were not suspected of being Christians.
Prisca, however, did not feel the need to take precautions. The young girl openly professed her dedication to Christ, and eventually, she was reported to the emperor. Claudius had her arrested, and commanded that she make sacrifice to idols. Prisca refused, and was tortured. Suddenly, a bright, yellow light shone about her, and she appeared to be a star.
Claudius ordered that Prisca be imprisoned, in the hopes that she would denounce Christ. When all efforts to change her mind failed, she was taken to the coliseum and made to face a ferocious lion. Prisca stood before the lion without fear. The lion approached her and began to gently lick her feet.
Prisca received a martyr’s crown when the emperor ordered that she be beheaded with the sword.