Another Saint of the Day for May 12
Saint Pancras’ Story
St. Pancras Railway Station in London got its name from an early Christian martyr about whom we have very little information. He is said to have been martyred at 14 during the persecution of Diocletian. He was buried in a cemetery which later was named after him. Pope Gregory the Great built a monastery for Benedictines and, when Augustine of Canterbury came to England, he named the first church he erected after Pancras. Hence the name of the railway station.
Pancras (Pancratius) appears in fictionalized form in Cardinal Wiseman’s novel Fabiola. German farmers had a saying that three saints whose names are similar—Pancras, Servatz and Bonifatz—were the “ice men” because it was often unseasonably chilly on their feast days, May 12, 13, 14.
Again we have a saint about whom almost nothing is known, but whose life and death are cherished in the Church’s memory. Details fall away or are mixed with legend. But a single, powerful fact remains: He died for Christ and his heroism sent a wave of inspiration through the Church of his day. It is good for us to share that feeling.