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Article: May 31 + Saint Petronilla

May 31 + Saint Petronilla - VENXARA®

May 31 + Saint Petronilla

Traditionally, Petronilla was identified as the biological daughter of Saint Peter. There is some dispute among historians, however, concerning the validity of Petronilla being the biological child of Peter. Some say this relation stems from their names being substantially the same — Peter, which means rock, and Petronilla, which means little stone — while others say she was converted to Catholicism by Saint Peter and thus was a “spiritual daughter.” We may never know the actual relationship in this life, but we will certainly find out the truth in the next.

It is documented that Peter had inflicted and cured her of a palsy. Stories found in the writings of St. Marcellus say that Peter, who thought his daughter too beautiful, asked God to afflict her with a fever, of which he refused to cure her until she began to be perfected in the love of God.

Stories of her tell that she was so beautiful she lived in a tower to keep suitors at bay. Her great beauty led the pagan Count Flaccus to fall in love with her and come with soldiers to take her by force as his wife. Flaccus wanting to marry her led her to go on a hunger strike from which she died.

After her death, she was buried in the Via Ardeatina. Her burial location was confirmed by excavations of the catacombs near Domitilla. She is the patron saint of The Dauphins of France, mountain travelers, treaties between Popes and Frankish emperors, and she is also invoked against fever.

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