St. Valerian was the bishop of Abbenza, in North Africa. In 457, the Arian Vandals ransacked the town, led by their king Geiseric. They had been going town-to-town, demanding that the bishops give up their books and sacred vessels to them. When they came to Valerian’s church, he refused their demands, and they drove him out of Abbenza. No one in the city was allowed to let him into their homes, or even allow him to stay on their land. Already 80 years old, Valerian soon died of exposure, and became a Catholic martyr. His feast day is December 15.
- How have you helped those worse off than you? How can you do more?
- When have you witnessed the negative influence of authorities over a group of people — or have been influenced negatively yourself?
- Has anyone ever tried to take something sacred from you? How did you react?