St. Patrick Catholic Church
Saint of the Day

Saint Justina of Padua, VM (RM)
October 7

This virgin martyr was greatly revered at Padua, Italy, where a church was built in her honor in the 6th century. But the document which states that she was baptized by a disciple of Saint Peter and was martyred under Nero is a forgery of the middle ages (Attwater). Another source states that she was martyred under Diocletian about 300, but the date of her life is unknown. In art, she is depicted as a maiden with a palm, book, and a sword in her breast. In particular instances she is shown (1) with a unicorn (symbolizes virginity) and palm; (2) setting a cross on the head of the devil while holding a lily in her hand; (3) with Saint Prosdocimus, bishop; or (4) with Saint Scholastica (Roeder).

She is the patroness of Padua and venerated also in Venice, Italy.

Roeder remarks in the introduction to her book (p. xii) that a curious confusion exists between Saint Scholastica (sister of Saint Benedict) and Saint Justina, who never was a nun, and who appears with a sword, a unicorn, or her confessor Saint Prosdocimus. It may be because Saint Benedict founded his order at Monte Cassino, and Scholastica became patroness of all Cassinese congregations.

One of the most powerful Cassinese congregations of the Renaissance was at the convent of Saint Justina at Padua. The result is that paintings and woodcuts as far north as Germany show the two together, sometimes in the company of their spiritual directors. This is just another way that the stories of the saints become confused. Saint Prosdocimus was a bishop, though sometimes shown in a monks habit, and Saint Justina was never a nun. In the pictures showing Justina and Scholastica, both may be wearing habits but the veiled figure is always Scholastica (Attwater, Encyclopedia, Roeder).

About Saints of the Day
These summaries were prepared in 1998 by St. Patrick's parishioner Katherine I. Rabenstein and are reproduced on with the permission of the author. Note that the content has not been updated since that time and represents the research of the author. An alphabetical index of all saints on our site is available. Source references are also available. HTML formatting © 2007-2008 by St. Patrick's Catholic Church, Washington, D.C.