Afra, St. (dust) (fourth century?) In Christian legend, martyr, patron saint of Augsburg, Germany. Invoked by penitent women. Feast, 5 August. Afra was a common whore who ran a house of pleasure, even though she was the daughter of St. Hilaria. She was assisted in her work by three girls, Digna, Eunomia, and Eutropia. One day Narcissus, a Christian priest fleeing from the pagan authorities, came to her house for protection. He talked with the girls and converted them to Christianity. When the police came, all of them were arrested. Afra, who was brought before a judge who had once bought her favors, was sentenced to death by burning. As she prayed, angels bore her soul to heaven. Medieval Christian art portrays St. Afra in a boiling caldron or surrounded by flames. Sometimes she is suspended from a tree and beaten or bound to a tree and burned.
From the Encyclopedia of World Mythology and Legend, Third Edition – Written by Anthony S. Mercatante & James R. Dow
Copyright © 2009 by Anthony S. Mercatante