(2nd century A.D.)
Sabina was a pagan and Roman noble. She was given in marriage to a Senator, Valentinus. She converted to Christianity through the influence of a slave girl, Serapia.
Together, at night, Sabina and Serapia would descend into the catacombs, where at that time the Christians gathered in secret to escape persecution. It was dangerous to sneak about the catacombs as soldiers would lie in waiting for those entering or exiting. As Serapia exited, she was captured and tortured to death.
When Sabina came out into the open, she was taken before the prefect Elpidius. He tried to make her renounce her faith, but Sabina refused to give in to his pressure, repeatedly affirming her steadfast faith in Jesus Christ. She was then sentenced to death by beheading. Her martyrdom occurred about the year 120.
The relics of the two martyrs, Sabina and Serapia, are found in the Roman Basilica of Santa Sabina all’Aventino (St. Sabina on the Aventine), founded between 422 and 432. The Basilica of Santa Sabina is the first Lenten station church: here the popes pronounce their homily on Ash Wednesday.
St. Dominic founded his Order there in 1219. One of the most famous sons of the Dominicans, St. Thomas, also taught in the convent attached to the Basilica.
St. Sabina is depicted with book, palm and crown, according to one of the oldest extant representations of her (6th century) in the church of Sant’Apollinare Nuovo in Ravenna.
Adapted by A.J. Valentini