July 29: St. Beatrice of Rome

When the bodies of her martyred brothers, Simplicius and Faustinus, were tossed into the waters of the Tiber River, Beatrice did not hesitate to try to recover their bodies to give them a proper burial. Aided by two priests, she managed to recover them from the river. She gave them burial in the place, where she would herself eventually be laid to rest.
Eventually, Beatrice met the same fate as her brothers. She was denounced as a Christian, imprisoned and threatened, yet persevered in the faith. Another woman, Lucina, buried Beatrice in the place where her brothers rested, a cemetery on the via Portuense.
The cemetery, a catacomb (for Christians could not be buried in plain sight) was called “Generosa.” The three saints came to be known as the martyres portuenses. A fresco with Byzantine characteristics, was discovered there, called Coronatio Martyrum, dating back to the 6th century. In it are depicted five characters: in the center Christ who offers the crown of martyrdom to Simplicius, flanked by Beatrice, Faustinus, with the palm of martyrdom in his hand, and Rufus.
Later, the relics of St. Beatrice and her brothers were brought to the Oratory of the Church of St. Bibiana around 682 by Pope Leo II. Pope Urban VIII then later decided that the ancient church was to be restored by the hand of Bernini. The latter brought down the Oratory and the marble arch was carried to the Basilica of St. Mary Major. Some of her relics are found in other parts of Europe, the most significant in Germany.
Adapted by A.J. Valentini