The martyrdom of Pope Saint Stephen

“I am sorry, Sir, that we interrupted your Mass, but we really do have to kill you because Valerian is our emperor and he says so.”

“Oh, yes,” said Stephen, “I quite see that.”

“But we thought,” said the Minion, “that we could kill you here and now, with your own people, so that you needn’t go back to Valerian.”

“How kind of you!” said Stephen. “May I just go to Confession first?”

“Anything you like,” said the Minions, and they waited while Stephen went to Confession. When he was ready he went and sat on his Pope’s Throne and the Minions came very Politely and cut off his head, and all the people cried. But Stephen went straight to God and thanked Him very much indeed for letting him die so quickly and easily.

Joan Windham, Sixty Saints for Boys, New York: Sheed & Ward (1948).

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