Today, January 3, we celebrate the feast of a lesser known saint and martyr, Saint Daniel of Padua (died, 168). Saint Daniel is invoked by many, include women whose husbands are at war, those suffering confinement or imprisonment, and for those in search of lost objects. While many are aware that Saint Anthony of Padua intercedes in the event of lost objects, few remember to pray to the saintly Daniel from the same region, who came more than a century before Saint Anthony.
Saint Daniel was the companion to, and deacon of, Saint Prosdocimus, the first bishop of Padua. Jewish by descent, Daniel converted to Christianity, and assisted Bishop Prosdocimus in the evangelization of northeastern Nava.
|The Martyrdom of Saint Daniel of Padua|
During his courageous witness, Daniel was martyred via crushing, although holy legend is unclear as to why. His body was discovered nearly 1000 years later, and his relics were translated to the church of Saint Sofia, in Padua, on January 3, 1064.
In art, Daniel of Padua is often depicted holding a towel and laver, signifying his diligent service to Bishop Prosdocimus, as well as the Church. These symbols also remind us of his life of service to others, just as Jesus washed the feet of his disciples.
While we know little of the daily life of Saint Daniel of Padua, we recognize in him the call of the Lord, conversion, service, and courageous martyrdom for the faith. We pray for the courage and faith to live our lives as boldly as the holy men and women who came before us.