Donatian and Rogatian were brothers of a notable Roman-Gallo family living in Nantes, Brittany. Donatian had become a convert to Christianity and led such an edifying life that his brother Rogatian was eventually moved to desire the sacrament of baptism. The story is told that, because the persecution of Emperor Maximian was raging, the bishop had been forced into hiding, so Rogatian was unable to be baptized. However, it does seem that Donatian would have been aware that he could have administered the sacrament to his brother himself. At any rate, both brothers were arrested when they refused to worship the gods. They were thrown into prison where it is said that they spent the night in fervent prayer. The next day, after declaring their willingness to suffer anything for the Name of Jesus, they were stretched on the rack, their heads pierced with lances, then they were finally beheaded. Their martyrdom occurred around the year 287. At the end of the fifth century, a church was built over their tomb. Bishop Albert of Ostia translated their relics to the cathedral in 1145.
Lessons1. So many of us are willing to follow Christ ” as long as it doesn’t require too much of us. But as Jesus reminded the rich young man, we have to go beyond merely keeping the commandments: God wants everything we have to give. Donatian and Rogatian would have been fully aware of the kind of tortures that awaited those who professed belief in Christ, yet they bravely continued to preach the Faith, both by word and deed.
2. St. Donatian should give hope to those who are praying for the conversion of a family member or close friend. As his exemplary Christian life finally brought about the conversion of his brother, let us pray that we too may live lives that proclaim Christ’s love to all the world.
Other Saints We Remember Today
Our Lady, Help of Christians
St. Joanna (1st Century)