Pope Callistus I
Feast Day - October 14
Patron of Cemetery Workers
From slave to convict to pope, Saint Callistus I shows that there is hope for anyone and everyone.
Saint Callistus was born into slavery in the late second century. Seeing a natural intelligence in him, his master appointed him manager of a bank. A short time later, the bank failed, and Callistus fled Rome but was caught and sentenced to hard labor as a punishment.
Then by the request of some creditors he was released in hopes that he could regain some of the lost money. While trying to collect money outside a synagogue one morning he was accused of insulting Jews and arrested and sent to the mines of Sardinia. Some time passed and through bargaining with the emperor and the pope, Callistus and many other Christians at the mine were released and sent to live away from Rome. While away he studied theology.
In 199, Callistus was ordained a deacon by Pope Zephyrinus and appointed superintendent of the Christian cemetery on the Appian Way. That place, which is to this day called the Catacombs of St. Callistus, became the burial-ground of many popes and was the first land property owned by the Church.
Christians have gained most popularity because of their charity to strangers and because of their care for the burial of their dead.
Ten years later, Pope Zephyrinus who had little formal training in theology call Callistus back to Rome to become his advisor. Callistus soon became a powerful force in the church. He eventually was elected pope in 218 AD.
Not long after his election as pope, he was martyred in 223 AD. Although no record shows why or by whom it is widely believed he was killed in a riot against Christians