In Agen, France, the natal day Not her birthday but the day she died and was "born again" into Heaven of St. Foy, Virgin and Martyr. Her example inspired blessed Caprasius to accept his own martyrdom, which he achieved on October 20.
In the legends Saint Faith was a very young Christian born in the city of Agen, in Roman Gaul, in the third century. When a judge named Dacian arrived in the city the people rejoiced that he would vindicate the power of the pagan gods by forcing the Christians to recant or die. Foy was the first Christian brought before him, and he tried to persuade her to save her life by sacrificing to Diana. When she refused he had her stretched out on a gridiron over a roaring fire and applied "an uncountable number of wicked punishments" (Sheingorn, "Passion," 35).
The other Christians had gone into hiding under a rock shelter just outside the city. But they could see what was happening to Foy, and their leader Caprasius had a vision while praying for her. He saw a dove descend from Heaven with a jeweled crown that it placed on the young girl's head.
This vision inspired Caprasius to go forth from hiding and declare his faith before the judge. Dacian again tried to persuade him to save his life by recanting, but when he refused Dacian had the attendants "rend his flesh without pity" (ibid., 36). His constancy inspired two onlookers, Primus and Felicianus, to convert. Finally, since neither they nor Foy nor Caprasius would yield, Dacian had them all beheaded.
This story provides four attributes that can be used in images of St. Foy: a gridiron, a dove, a crown, and a sword. (Plus, of course, the palm branch signifying martyrdom.) The statuette at right has all of these except the dove. This modern stained-glass window has just the dove and the crown.
Prepared in 2013 by Richard Stracke, Emeritus Professor of English, Augusta University
OTHER IMAGES (Click for full image and description):