St. Patrick's Day is an excuse for Americans to party (read: get drunk), wear green clothes and eat all kinds of green food that any other time of year would look rotten. The Patron Saint of Ireland for which the holiday is named after was actually the son of two Romans living in Britain. He dedicated his life to converting the Irish from polytheism to Christianity, using the shamrock to explain the Trinity. Unlike most saints, St. Patrick was actually celebrated for his piety during his lifetime. He died peacefully of old age and received a proper burial at the time. Not everyone was that lucky.What Saints died horrible deaths? Here are all the saints who died horrible, horrible deaths.
Sts. Perpetua and Felicity - Thrown to the Cows After Giving Birth
In one of the earliest pieces of writing by a Christian woman, Perpetua narrated her account of her martyrdom in 203. It wasn't very funny. The twenty-two year old had been raised by a wealthy Pagan father and was married with a son. Perpetua accomplished quite a bit for a woman at that age, actually.
So, against her father's will, she converted to Christianity, even knowing her decision would lead to her death. So, she was separated from her child and imprisoned in an overcrowded and dark prison -- which goes to show that when acting out rebellion as a young woman, you should probably pick your battles.
Perpetua's slave Felicity, who was eight months pregnant (who she just had to have because if everyone else at school had a slave, she had to have one too) was also held captive.
There's nothing more useful than a pregnant slave.
Roman law forbade the execution of pregnant women, because c'mon, they weren't monsters -- they would plan it so that she would be executed the day after giving birth.
On the day of the execution, the women were thrown naked into an arena with a wild cow -- and yes, a wild cow is the best they could do at the time.
The crowd feasted in honor of Caesar's birthday because executions are just the perfect occasion for a family picnicThe jeering and up-until-now-unsympathetic crowd took pity on the two women because they saw that that one of them had just given birth. And in an act that epitomizes human compassion, the crowd decided to let them be clothed and to just have their throats cut instead. Why the crowd weren't also made Saints is an absolute mystery.
St. Cecilia - A Botched Beheading
This is brutal.
Chaucer's Second Nun immortalizes this saint's story in The Canterbury Tales.
So, this Christian virgin who lived in Rome married a pagan, a guy named Valerian, but on their wedding night she told him that an angel watched over her chastity and basically that if Valerian wanted to get any, he would have to be baptized.
Lots of guys have done a lot more for a lot less.
So, he agreed and when he came back from his baptism, he saw an angel next to Cecilia, who laid a crown on each of their heads, honoring their union (aka, they wanted to get down.)
Valerian later convinced his brother Tibertius to be baptized as well and the two brothers dedicated themselves to burying Christian martyrs executed by the prefect of the city, Turcius.
The two brothers were killed by sword, because baptism is evil.
Cecilia, who had been gathering followers (real ones, not like on Twitter), was shut inside the baths, which were lit on fire. Again, they trapped her in a bathroom and set it on fire. But somehow, this didn't do the trick.
So, Turcius' men next attempted to behead her. But this isn't the movies, so it took a few whacks. Three whacks to be exact, but her head wouldn't come off.
Unfortunately for all parties involved, she lived three days longer, bleeding out.
Her followers collected her blood with napkins, instead of killing her like any decent person would, and then probably tried to sell her blood for some extra cash.They later turned her home into a church, in her name of course.
St. Cyriacus - Limbs Torn Off
At the beginning of the fourth century, this Roman nobleman converted to Christianity as an adult and decided to give away his wealth, dedicating himself to healing and caring for the slaves of the Baths of Diocletian, one of the emperors at the time.
The emperor's young daughter was possessed by an evil spirit, who called in a request that Cyriacus be the one to make him leave her body.
He was summoned and cured the girl. The Persian King Sapor called him to do the same for his daughter and Cyriacus converted four hundred non-believers to Christianity on the way. No biggs.
So when Diocletian left Rome, his co-emperor Maximin saw the opportunity to punish Cyriacus for his faith.Cyriacus' limbs were torn from their sockets and he was clubbed but still he would not sacrifice to the idols. Maximin had him beheaded when Cyriacus became too bothersome.
St. Agnes - "Wait, We Can't Kill a Virgin? We Can Fix That."
Agnes was born into the Roman nobility but when she refused to marry the head honcho's son (Prefect Sempronius) because she was already promised to Christ, he sentenced her to death.
Killing a virgin was illegal, however, so he had Agnes dragged naked to a brothel to have her cherry popped. Alternate versions of the story tell it differently, but apparently the men who tried to rape her were blinded or hair would magically grow in places on her body that kept the men from gaining, um, access to her nethers.
She was tied to the stake in the center of a square afterwards, but the wood just wouldn't burn so she was stabbed in the throat instead.At least she (allegedly) died a virgin.