Few details are available regarding this ancient saint. A great deal of legend surrounds his life, however, so we know that he had a huge impact wherever he went!
Due to the persecutions inflicted by the Emperor Decius, the Catholic Faith had waned in Gaul. Denis, one of seven bishops sent there to revive the Faith, journeyed to what is now the city of Paris. He built a church on the Seine Island and set up the first episcopacy in that beloved city.
With the help of two inseparable companions, Denis brought countless souls into union with God.
The pagan priests hated him for it. They eventually incited the governor to arrest Denis and his companions.
The Christian priests held fast to the Faith despite many tortures. Finally, they were beheaded.
Legend has it that Denis picked his own head up off the ground and carried it from Montmartre, the site of his martyrdom, to the future site of the Abbey of St. Denis—preaching a sermon along the way! (What a sight that must have been to the pagan priests!) So now the eloquent St. Denis is regularly portrayed holding his own head in his hands.
Fun fact: St. Denis holds a place (as well as his head) in one of the stunning rose windows of Notre Dame Cathedral. Here at The Catholic Company, we’ve crafted an exclusive set of stunning ornaments featuring the rose center window of Notre Dame as well as five other iconic cathedral windows of Christendom. These hanging ornaments will be a spectacular addition to your Christmas tree this season, and elegant décor all year round. Get yours today at The Catholic Company!