In the Church, the lives of these three saints have always been celebrated in union, according to the ancient calendar of Fronto and Saint Jerome’s Martyrology.
It was the third century and Valerian was married to a pious woman named Cecily (later to be known as St. Cecily). Because of the influence of his wife’s great piety, Valerian was brought to the Christian faith. The holy couple also influenced his brother, Tiburtius, and he in turn converted to the faith.
This was a time of great persecution of Christians and soon Valerian and Tiburtius were arrested and sentenced to death. Their executioner was a man named Maximus, a Roman soldier. Maximus was amazed at the great courage and joy these men had in the face of death. How happy and willing they were to die for their faith! This was a great witness to Maximus. Because of their holy zeal, Valerian and Tiburtius became the instruments of the conversion of Maximus. The three were executed together and received their crowns of martyrdom in the year 229.
It is believed that they were killed in Rome, although some records state Sicily. They were buried in the place of Praetextatus. In the year 740, Pope Gregory III had their monument repaired. Adrian I had a church erected under their patronage. Pope Paschal, however, transferred their remains to Rome and had them placed in the Church of St. Cecily, where they remain today.
We see by the conversion of these men how contagious the faith can be when we live our lives in holy zeal. St. Cecily, by her example, converted her husband and he in turn by his virtue drew the attention of his brother who also converted. The two brothers, in their great joy and courage, were able to bring Maximus, a pagan soldier, to the Lord. What an example these saints are still showing us today — if we live our lives in great love and devotion, we too, can draw others to Jesus!
Heavenly Father, forgive us for the times we are silent in the face of evil. Forgive us for lost opportunities to tell others about Jesus. Help us, Father, to be like these holy martyrs, Sts. Tiburtius, Valerian and Maximus. May we recall their lives when we are pondering whether to speak, and in boldness may we speak the truth. Amen.
Other Saints We Remember Today
St. Justin (165) Martyr, Patron of lecturers
St. Lydwina (1433), Virgin, Patroness of Ice Skaters