Feast Day 21 July: Petra.
A Roman woman, daughter of St Pudens, she and her sister converted their home into a
baptistery where Christians were baptised. St Peter is said to have stayed there when
They also cared for Christians who were ill or imprisoned for their faith
and ensured that those who were persecuted, tortured and killed had a Christian burial.
When 23 Christians were discovered in the house, they were martyred in front of her.
She collected their blood in a sponge and hid it in a well where she was subsequently
An oratory to her was built about 150 AD and the current church in the early ninth
century. Its plain and austere façade belies the sumptuous mosaics within.
were moved to their present position, marked by a disk in the floor of the Basilica,
around 822, along with the remains of some 2000 individuals originally buried in the
by then abandoned catacombs.
The sponge is said to be contained in her sarcophagus.