Blog Daily Drawing women saints

Journey through June – Saint Zoe of Rome – 26/26

Today I have drawn St Zoe of Rome (3rd Century)

Her feast day is 18 December and she is commemorated by the Orthodox and Roman Catholic Church.

Her life

Saint Zoe of Rome was a noblewoman, married to Nicostratus, a high Roman court official. For six years she had been unable to speak. Saint Sebastian made the sign of the cross over the woman, and she immediately began to speak and she glorified Jesus. Nicostratus and his wife asked for baptism. She lived during the reign of the Emperor Diocletian and his early persecution of Christians.

She was greatly devoted to Saint Peter, and was praying by his tomb when she was arrested for her faith. She died, stifled by smoke, hung over a fire. Her body then was thrown into the River Tiber.

Saint Zoe, along with Saint Sebastian and the rest of his companions, share a series of hymns that are sung on their feast day. Here is the version translated from the original Greek:

Apolytikion of Martyrs Sebastian & Companions – Fourth Tone

Thy Martyrs, O Lord, in their courageous contest for Thee received as the prize the crowns of incorruption and life from Thee, our immortal God. For since they possessed Thy strength, they cast down the tyrants and wholly destroyed the demons’ strengthless presumption. O Christ God, by their prayers, save our souls, since Thou art merciful.

Kontakion of Martyrs Sebastian & Companions – Fourth Tone

Since thou wast great in zeal for godly religion, thou didst assemble an alliance of Martyrs, and in their midst, thou shonest like a flashing star. With the arrows that did pierce thy much-suffering body, thou didst slay the enemy, O Great Martyr Sebastian; and thou thyself didst fly as from a bow into the Heavens, where Christ hath received thy soul.

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Journey through June – Saint Ypomoni (Patience) – 25/26

Today I have drawn St Ypomoni – Patience – the Righteous.

Her feast day is March 13th and she is commemorated in the Orthodox Church.

Saint Ypomoni who was the mother of the last Emperor of Constantinople, Constantine XI Palaiologos. Her name in the world was Helen Dragash and after she became the wife of Manuel II Palaiologos, she was “Helen in Christ Gog Augusta and Empress of the Romans, Palaiologos”. She was the daughter of Constantine Dragash, one of the leaders of the Serbian kingdom of Stefan Dusan.

She came from a royal and blessed generation, because many of her ancestors were Saints. As she grew up, she had the influence of the Byzantine culture. She became Empress at the age of 19 and God blessed the couple with eight children. During her days as Queen, she helped many Monasteries to be built in Constantinople and she was the “Hope for the Hopeless”. After the death of her husband, she became a nun (1425), in the Monastery of Lady Martha with the name Ypomoni (Patience).

Three of their children became monks too. God granted her to not live through the last tragic moments of the Empire. He called her close to Him on March 13th of 1450, having lived 35 years as Empress and 25 years as a humble nun in her Monastery.

Saint Ypomoni
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Journey through June – Saint Xenia the Righteous of Rome – 24/26

Today I have drawn St Xenia the Righteous of Rome (d. 450)

Her feast day is January 24th and she is commemorated by the Orthodox Church.

Her life

Saint Xenia the Righteous of Rome was a saint of the 5th century. Xenia, originally born Eusebia, was the only daughter of a wealthy Senator in Rome. She, and two devoted servants of hers, left to avoid her arranged marriage. She escaped to Milas, on the island of Kos, where she was given the name “Xenia” (stranger).

Upon arrival, Xenia began a church dedicated to Saint Stephen and a woman’s monastery. Soon after, she was made a deaconess by Bishop Paul of Milas.

Of her that is written says that she “helped everyone: for the destitute, she was a benefactress; for the grief-stricken, a comforter; for sinners, a guide to repentance. She possessed a deep humility, accounting herself the worst and most sinful of all.”

The Feast of St. Xenia is celebrated in the Orthodox church on January 24, the day on which she died. It was alleged that “during

St Xenia of Rome

her funeral, a luminous wreath of stars surrounding a radiant cross appeared over the monastery in the heavens.” She is said to have foreseen her own death.


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Journey through June – Saint Winifred of Holywell – 23/26

Today I have drawn St Winifred of Holywell (7th century)

Her feast day is 3 November and she is commemorated by the Orthodox, Anglican and Roman Catholic Church.

Her life

The oldest accounts of the saint’s life date to the 12th century. According to legend, Winifred was the daughter of a chieftain of Tegeingl, Welsh nobleman, Tyfid ap Eiludd. Her mother was Wenlo, a sister of Saint Beuno and a member of a family closely connected with the kings of south Wales. Her suitor, Caradog, was enraged when she decided to become a nun, and decapitated her.

A healing spring appeared at where her head fell. Winifred’s head was subsequently rejoined to her body due to the efforts of Saint Beuno, and she was restored to life. Seeing the murderer leaning on his sword with an insolent and defiant air, St. Beuno invoked the chastisement of heaven, and Caradog fell dead on the spot, the popular belief being that the ground opened and swallowed him. St. Beuno left Holywell, and returned to Caernarfon. Before he left the tradition is that he seated himself upon the stone, which now stands in the outer well pool, and there promised in the name of God “that whosoever on that spot should thrice ask for a benefit from God in the name of St. Winefride would obtain the grace he asked if it was for the good of his soul.”

After eight years spent at Holywell, Winifred received an inspiration to leave the convent and retire inland. Accordingly, St. Winifred went upon her pilgrimage to seek for a place of rest. Ultimately she arrived at Gwytherin near the source of the River Elwy. She later became a nun and abbess at Gwytherin in Denbighshire. More elaborate versions of this tale relate many details of her life, including Winefride’s pilgrimage to Rome. Further details of her veneration and relics at Wikipedia

The drawing shows her holding a crozier as Abbess and the holy well from her decapitation (& restoration to life).

St Winifred of Holywell


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Journey through June – Saint Verena of Zurich – 22/26

Today I have drawn St Verena of Zurich (3rd century)

Her feast day is 14 September and she is commemorated by the Orthodox, Coptic and Roman Catholic Church.

Her life

The name Verena means “the good fruit”. According to tradition, Verena was of a noble Christian family from the village of Garagous, near Luxor. Her parents sent her to Sherimon, Bishop of Beni Suef, to be instructed in the Christian faith, after which he baptized her. She was a relative of Saint Victor (or alternately, Saint Maurice) of the Theban Legion. As soldiers’ relatives were allowed to accompany them in order to look after them and take care of their wounds, Verena accompanied the legion on its mission to Rhaetia (part of modern-day Switzerland). Other accounts say Verena traveled to Switzerland in search of her relative.

Verena was still in Milan when word was received that Saint Maurice, Saint Victor and the other members of the Theban Legion, who had proceeded north, were martyred. Verena went to Agaunum to venerate them. First, she led the life of a hermit in a place called Solothurn, from there she went to Koblenz, but later moved into a cave near present-day Zurich. As a hermit, Verena fasted and prayed continuously. Several miracles were attributed to her intercession. Verena was a spiritual counselor for young girls and due to her expertise as a nurse used to look after their physical health.

As a result of her fame, legend states that the local governor arrested her and sent her to jail, where Saint Maurice appeared to her to console and strengthen her. After she was released from jail, she continued her good works.

Due to her, many converted to Christianity. Saint Verena fed the poor and nursed the sick, especially those suffering from leprosy. She used to wash their wounds and put ointments on them, not fearing infection. She died in Switzerland in 344. Further details of her Veneration and relics (WIkipedia)


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Journey through June – Saint Theneva of Glasgow – 20/26

Today I have drawn St Theneva of Glasgow (6th or 7th century)

Her feast day is 18 July and she is commemorated by the Orthodox, Anglican and Roman Catholic Church.

Her life

St. Theneva was born in the sixth century to British Prince Lothus.

When it was discovered that she had conceived out of wedlock, she was thrown from a cliff. Unharmed at the bottom, she was then set adrift in a coracle. It was expected that she would die at sea, but God protected her.

Theneva’s boat landed at Culross, where she was sheltered by St. Serf and gave birth to St. Kentigern, named Mungo (“darling”) by his foster-father. St. Kentigern remained with St. Serf until he reached manhood.

St. Theneva is the co-patron, along with her son, of Glasgow, Scotland. (Text from Antiochian Archdiocese


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Journey through June – Saint Silvia of Aquitaine – 19/26

Today I have drawn St Silvia of Aquitaine (6th century)

Her feast day is 5 November and she is commemorated by the Orthodox and Roman Catholic Church.

Her life

St. Sylvia, Mother of St. Gregory the Great (Feast – November 5) The Church venerates the sanctity of Sylvia and Gordian, the parents of St. Gregory the Great, as well as his two aunts, Tarsilla and Emiliana. St. Sylvia was a native of the region of Sicily while St. Gordian, her husband, came from the vicinity of Rome. They had two sons: Gregory and another whose name has not survived the ages. Gordian died about 573 and Gregory converted his paternal home into a monastery. Sylvia therefore retired to a solitary and quasi-monastic life in a little abode near the Church of St. Sava on the Aventine. It became her custom frequently to send fresh vegetables to her son on a silver platter. One day, when Gregory found himself with nothing to give a poor beggar, he presented him with the platter. St. Sylvia is thought to have gone on to her heavenly reward between 592 and 594. After her death, the holy Pontiff had a picture of both his parents depicted in the Church of St. Andrew. In the sixteenth century, Pope Clement VIII had St. Sylvia inscribed in the Roman Martyrology.


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Journey through June – Saint Radegund of Poitiers – 18/26

Today I have drawn St Radegund of Poitiers (520-587)

 Her feast day is 13 August and she is commemorated by the Orthodox and Roman Catholic Church.

Her life

Radegund was born about 520 to Bertachar, one of the three kings of the German land Thuringia.Radegund’s uncle, Hermanfrid, killed Bertachar in battle, and took Radegund into his household. After allying with the Frankish King Theuderic, Hermanfrid defeated his other brother Baderic. However, having crushed his brothers and seized control of Thuringia, Hermanfrid reneged on his agreement with Theuderic to share sovereignty.

In 531, Theuderic returned to Thuringia with his brother Clotaire I (also known as Chlothar). Together they defeated Hermanfrid and conquered his kingdom. Clotaire I also took charge of Radegund, taking her back to Merovingian Gaul with him. He sent the child to his villa of Athies in Picardy for several years, before marrying her in 540.

Radegund was one of Clotaire I’s six wives or concubines (the other five being Guntheuca who was the widow of his brother Chlodomer, Chunsina, Ingund, Ingund’s sister Aregund and Wuldetrada the widow of Clotaire’s grand-nephew Theudebald). She bore him no children. Radegund was noted for her almsgiving.

By 550 Radegund’s brother was the last surviving male member of the Thuringian royal family. Clotaire had him murdered. Radegund fled the court and sought the protection of the Church, persuading the bishop of Noyon to ordain her as a deacon; founding the monastery of Sainte-Croix in Poitiers circa 560, where she cared for the infirm. Radegund was widely believed to have the gift of healing.

Living under the Rule for Virgins of Caesarius of Arles, the nuns were required to be able to read and write, and to devote several hours of the day to reading the scriptures and copying manuscripts, as well as traditional tasks such as weaving and needlework. This Rule strictly enclosed women, to the point that nuns of Sainte-Croix were unable to attend Radegund’s funeral.

Her abbey was named for the relic of the True Cross that Radegund obtained from the Byzantine Emperor Justin II. Although the bishop of Poitiers Maroveus refused to install it in the abbey, at Radegund’s request king Sigebert sent Eufronius of Tours to Poitiers to perform the ceremony. To celebrate the relic and its installation into Sainte-Croix, Venantius Fortunatus composed a series of hymns, including the famous Vexilla Regis, considered to be one of the most significant Christian hymns ever written, which is still sung for services on Good Friday, Palm Sunday, as well as the Exaltation of the Holy Cross

Radegund was a close friend of Junian of Maire; Junian and Radegund are said to have died on the same day, August 13, 587. Further details of her miracles and life at Wikipedia.


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Journey through June – Saint Quiteria of Aire sur L’Adour – 17/26

Today I have drawn St Quiteria of Aire sur L’Adour (2nd century, modern Portugal)

Her feast day is 22 May and she is commemorated by the Orthodox and Roman Catholic Church.

Her life

Very little is known about her for definite: She is said to have been born in Bracara (now Braga, Portugal) to Lucius Catilius Serves, Roman governor of Gallaecia and Lusitania, and Calcia, his wife. Her father wanted her to marry and renounce Christianity. Quiteria fled and her father’s men found her at Aire-sur-l’Adour, in Gascony. She was beheaded on the spot. Her sister, Liberata, also suffered the same fate in the forest of Montus and lies in a 14th-century sarcophagus in the fortified church of Saint Jean Baptiste in Mazéres 32 km from her sister Quiteria in Aire-sur-l’Adour . There is a Church dedicated to her at Kuthenkully, a coastal village in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu. (Wikipedia)


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Journey through June – Saint Pega of Peakirk – 16/26

Today I have drawn St Pega of Peakirk (c.673-719)

Her feast day is 8th January and she is commemorated by the Orthodox, Anglican and Roman Catholic Church.

Her life

Pega belonged to one of the great noble families of Mercia, the daughter of Penwalh of Mercia. She lived as an anchoress at what is now Peakirk (“Pega’s church”) near Peterborough, not far from Guthlac’s hermitage at Crowland. When Guthlac realised that his end was near in 714, he invited her to his funeral. For this she sailed down the River Welland, curing a blind man from Wisbech on the way. She inherited Guthlac’s psalter and scourge, both of which, it was claimed, she later gave to Crowland Abbey. She went on pilgrimage to Rome and died there c.719. Ordericus Vitalis claimed that her relics survived in an unnamed Roman church in his day, and that miracles took place there.

It is said that her heart was returned to Peakirk and was kept as a relic in the church, contained in a heart stone, the broken remains of which, smashed by Cromwell’s troops, can be seen in the south aisle window.(Wikipedia) 

Orthodox Saints of the British Isles