ST. JUSTINA OF PADUA, V. M.
SHE suffered at Padua in the persecution of
Dioclesian, about the year 304, or, according to some, in that of
Nero. Fortunatus ranks her among the most illustrious holy virgins,
whose sanctity and triumph have adorned and edified the church,
saying that her name makes Padua illustrious, as Euphemia Chalcedon,
and Eulalia the city Emerita. And in his poem on the life of St.
Martin, he bids those who visit Padua, there to kiss the sacred
sepulchre of the blessed Justina, on the walls of which they will see
the actions of St. Martin represented in figures or paintings.1 A
church was built at Padua, in her honor, about the middle of the
fifth age, by Opilio, prefect of the prtorium, who was consul in
453.2 Her precious remains, concealed in the irruptions of Attila,
who destroyed Aquileia and Padua in the middle of the fifth century,
were found in 1177, and are kept with great veneration in the famous
church which bears her name. It was most elegantly and sumptuously
rebuilt in 1501, and, with the adjoining Benedictin monastery, (to
which it belongs,) is one of the most finished models of building of
that nature in the world. A reformation of the Benedictin order was
settled in this house in 1417, which was propagated in many parts of
Italy under the name of the Congregation of St. Justina of Padua. The
great monastery of Mount Cassino, head of the whole order of St.
Bennet, having acceded to this reformed Congregation, it was made the
chief house thereof by pope Julius II., and the jurisdiction of
president, or general, was transferred by him from St. Justina’s
to the abbot of Mount Cassino; from which time this is called the
Congregation of Mount Cassino, and is divided into seven provinces.
The great monastery of St. Justina may be said to be the second in
rank. St. Justina is, after St. Mark, the second patroness of the
commonwealth of Venice, and her image is stamped on the coin. Near
the tomb of St. Justina, in the cemetery, were found the relics of
several other martyrs, who are said in her acts and those of St.
Prosdecimus, first bishop of Padua, and other such monuments, to have
suffered with her. The relics of St. Justina were placed in a shrine
or chest under the high altar of the new church, in 1502. When the
new choir was built these were translated with the utmost solemnity
into a sumptuous vault under the new high altar, in 1627. Another
famous church of St. Justina stands in the city of Venice, formerly
collegiate, now in the hands of nuns. The senate makes to it the most
solemn procession on the 7th of October, in thanksgiving for the
victory of Lepante, gained over the Turks on that day, which is her
festival. See Tillemont, Hist. de la Persec. de Diocles. art. 55. t.
5. p. 140. Helyot, &c.