deliberately began his "journey" to death, Luke says that he "set his face" to go to Jerusalem. It
is this quality of rocklike courage that distinguishes the martyrs.
what we know about this saint comes from the poet Prudentius. His Acts have been rather freely
colored by the imagination of their compiler. But St. Augustine, in one of his sermons on St.
Vincent, speaks of having the Acts of his martyrdom before him. We are at least sure of his name,
his being a deacon, the place of his death and burial.
According to the story we have (and as with some of the other
early martyrs the unusual devotion he inspired must have had a basis in a very heroic life), Vincent
was ordained deacon by his friend St. Valerius of Zaragossa in Spain. The Roman emperors had
published their edicts against the clergy in 303, and the following year against the laity. Vincent
and his bishop were imprisoned in Valencia. Hunger and torture failed to break them. Like the youths
in the fiery furnace (Book of Daniel, chapter three), they seemed to thrive on
Valerius was sent into exile, and Dacian, the Roman governor, now turned the full force of his
fury on Vincent. Tortures that sound like those of World War II were tried. But their main effect
was the progressive disintegration of Dacian himself. He had the torturers beaten because they
Finally he suggested a compromise: Would Vincent at least give up the sacred books to be
burned according to the emperor's edict? He would not. Torture on the gridiron continued, the
prisoner remaining courageous, the torturer losing control of himself. Vincent was thrown into a
filthy prison cell and converted the jailer. Dacian wept with rage, but strangely enough, ordered
the prisoner to be given some rest.
Friends among the faithful came to visit him, but he was to have no earthly
rest. When they finally settled him on a comfortable bed, he went to his eternal rest.