Petronilla’s life story is not well documented. She is said to have been a daughter of the apostle St. Peter.
We know that Peter was married before his vocation to the apostleship from the Gospel. It seems not certain however, whether St. Petronilla was any more than the spiritual daughter of that apostle.
She was a virgin whose death was related to her vow of chastity. It is said that she was a Roman noblewoman of the family of Domitila. Her death followed her refusal to marry Count Flaccus. One account has it that following this refusal, for which the nobleman threatened to have her killed, Petronilla spent three days in prayer and fasting. She died in her bed after having received Holy Communion. Other histories allude to her persecution and death because of her refusal. The prevailing view is that she died for her faith.
St. Petronilla’s image appears rather often in English late medieval stained glass and on painted screens. She is often associated with the concept of hospitality and depicted as a young girl, with a book and a palm or keys — presumably the keys of St. Peter.
Adapted by A.J. Valentini from: Who is St. Petronille? (n.d.). St Petronille Parish. Retrieved May 25, 2021, from https://www.stpetschurch.org/71