The Visio of Saint Eustace
St. Eustace and Companions, Martyrs
St. Eustace is one of the Fourteen Holy Helpers.
THE beginning of the second century, during the reign of Emperor
in Rome a famous general by the name of Placidus, who was distinguished
among his fellow citizens for his wealth and military prowess. It
one day, that while following the chase he became separated from his
and was pursuing with eagerness a stag of extraordinary size, when
it turned toward him, and he beheld raised aloft between its antlers
image of Jesus Christ suspended on the Cross. At the same time our
Savior addressed him in loving words, inviting him henceforth to follow
Him by embracing the Christian faith, and to make eternal life in
the object of his pursuit.
Faithful to the grace which he had received, Placidus on his return
communicated the Heavenly vision to his wife Tatiana, who informed him
that she too had been favored with a Heavenly apparition. Together they
went immediately to the Pope, related their experience, and after due
At the sacred font Placidus received the name of Eustachius, and his
was called Theopista, while his sons were Baptized by the names of
Upon returning to the spot where he first received the call, Eustachius
was favored with another communication from Our Lord, announcing to him
that he was destined to endure many and great afflictions for the sake
of Christ. It was not long before his faith and patience were put to a
severe trial. Stripped of all his possessions and forced to flee from
fury of the persecution, he was reduced to extreme distress, and in the
course of his wanderings was by a series of calamitous events separated
from his wife and children, of whom he lost all trace. For many years
dwelt in a remote spot, following the occupation of a farm laborer,
he was found by the messengers of the emperor, who was sadly in need of
the skill of his former general, because a fierce war had broken out,
which the Romans sustained severe losses.
Being again invested with the command of the imperial troops,
set out for the seat of war, and achieved a decisive victory. In the
of his march he had the happiness, by a singular providence of God, to
recover his wife and children, with whom he returned to Rome. His
into the city was attended with great rejoicings, and many were the
which he received on his extraordinary good fortune. But soon afterward
a solemn sacrifice of thanksgiving to the pagan deities was proclaimed,
in which he was ordered by the emperor to take a part. Upon his
after every effort had been made to shake his constancy, he was
to be exposed to the lions in the public amphitheater along with his
and children. Finally, as the savage animals, laying aside their
ferocity, refused to injure the confessors of Christ, Eustachius and
family were by order of the emperor enclosed in the body of an immense
brazen bull, which was heated by means of a great fire enkindled
The last moments of these heroic Martyrs was spent in chanting the
Praises, in the midst of which their happy souls passed to the
of everlasting bliss. Their bodies, miraculously preserved uninjured,
buried with great
by the faithful Christians, and were afterward transferred to a
in their honor.
St. Eustachius is usually called St. Eustace [he is also called St.
He is invoked for protection against fire, temporal and eternal.
inspiring, to see a great man preferring justice, truth, and religion
the favor of
mighty, readily quitting estate, friends, country, and even sacrificing
life, rather than consent to do violence to his conscience; and to see
him, at the same time, meek, humble, patient in suffering, forgiving
and loving his unjust and treacherous persecutors! Passion and revenge
often beget anger and triumph over virtue and integrity. Ambition and
desire of wealth may, for a time, urge men on to brave danger, but
they reduce them to the most abject slavery, and result in grievous
and misery. Religion alone is the source of charity, magnanimity, and
courage. It so enlightens the mind, as to place a man above the
of the world; it renders him steadfast and calm in adversity, preserves
him from error, teaches him to bear injustice and calumny in a tranquil
spirit, and gives him that ineffable peace and joy which springs from
conviction that God's will is always most just and holy and that He
aids, and rewards His servants. Does religion exert this powerful
on us? Do we show it in our actions and conduct? Our courage and
must be apparent not only when we encounter danger and opposition, but
also when our evil propensity urges us to yield to temptations that
sin to us in the guise of pleasure.
of the Church
GOD, Who dost permit us to celebrate the remembrance of Thy blessed
Eustachius and companions, grant us, that we may enjoy their company in
eternal bliss. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
Novena in Honor of
For Each Novena
to a Holy Helper
ALMIGHTY and eternal
God! With lively faith and reverently worshiping Thy Divine Majesty, I
prostrate myself before Thee and invoke with filial trust Thy supreme
and mercy. Illumine the darkness of my intellect with a ray of Thy
light and inflame my heart with the fire of Thy Divine love, that I may
contemplate the great virtues and merits of the Saint in whose honor I
make this novena, and following his example imitate, like him, the life
of Thy Divine Son.
Moreover, I beseech
Thee to grant graciously, through the merits and intercession of this
Helper, the petition which through him I humbly place before Thee,
saying, "Thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven." Vouchsafe
to hear it, if it redounds to Thy greater glory and to the salvation of
my soul. Amen.
Prayer in Honor of
GOD, Who didst lead Thy holy Martyr Eustachius safely through many
and dangers to the glorious crown of Martyrdom; enlighten and
us through his intercession, that we persevere in Thy love amid the
of this life, and by resignation to Thy holy will come forth from the
of this earth into the light of Thy eternal glory. Amen.
Invocation of St.
servant of God, St. Eustachius, cast from the height of earthly glory
the deepest misery, thou wast engaged for a long time in the labor of a
menial servant, eating the bitter bread of destitution; but never didst
thou murmur against the severe probation to which God subjected thee. I
implore thee to aid me with thy powerful intercession, that in all
I may resign myself to the holy will of God, and particularly that I
bear poverty and its consequences with patience, trusting in God's
completely resigned to the decrees of Him Who humbles and exalts,
and heals, sends trials and consolations, and who has promised to those
who follow Him in the spirit of poverty His Beatific Vision throughout
all eternity. Amen.
My Lord and God! I
offer up to Thee my petition in union with the bitter passion and death
of Jesus Christ, Thy Son, together with the merits of His immaculate
blessed Mother, Mary ever virgin, and of all the Saints, particularly
those of the holy Helper in whose honor I make this novena.
Look down upon me,
merciful Lord! Grant me Thy grace and Thy love, and graciously hear my
THE FOURTEEN HOLY
HELPERS, Fr. Bonaventure Hammer, O.F.M.
BOOKS AND PUBLISHERS, 1995; with Imprimatur, Imprimi Potest
and Nihil Obstat.