One of seven Rome archdeacons in the Third Century, St. Lawrence the Martyr concentrated on aiding the needy and destitute. He lived during a time of great persecution of Christians in Rome. Emperor Valerian outlawed Christianity in August 258 beheading the other six deacons along with Pope St. Sixtus II.
Left as top church official, Lawrence quickly dispersed the church’s material goods before being summoned to appear before the civil authorities with the church’s wealth. He brought the sick, indigent, poor, and crippled with him instead, saying they were the church’s wealth.
Rome’s Prefect was outraged and ordered a slow, painful death for Lawrence who was grilled over a small fire. Lawrence was said to joke “It is well done, turn me over” while dying in the flames even as he prayed that Rome one day would find God. A patron saint for cooks and the poor, he is one of the most widely revered saints in the Church with an Aug. 10 feast day.