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Fabiola by Cardinal Wiseman
Lepanto Press
Number of pages:


In writing Fabiola (or Church of the Catacombs), Cardinal Wiseman recalls the memory of one of the cruelest persecutions in the history of the Church with accounts from the lives and heroic martyrdoms of such glorious saints as Agnes, Sebastian, Pancratius and others. To these early Church Christians it was not a question of "What am I obliged to do to save my soul?" but rather, "Am I worthy of the crown of martyrdom?" or "How much longer until I behold the face of my Beloved Lord?"

Some of the main characters in the story include the pagan, Fabiola, a cousin to St. Agnes, and her three female slaves. Fabiola had no idea that her most devoted slave, Syra, was a Christian. As the story unfolds the reader will be astonished to learn of the connections between the various characters.

This suspenseful plot holds many surprises, including how God manifests His justice to the evil tyrants who, as usual, are first offered His mercy and then having rejected this undeserved grace begin their Hell on earth and die in utter misery. On the other hand, the author shows how God rewards those who respond contritely to Godís grace by granting them great peace of soul and the virtues to live out the rest of their lives loving and serving Him in gratitude for His love and mercy.

Strong points:

  • The reader gains an understanding of Early Christian History (catacombs, martyrs, etc.)
  • St. Pancratius exhibits unwavering love, mercy and unconditional forgiveness to Corvinus, his lifelong antagonist, despite his numerous attempts to destroy Pancratius.
  • A most edifying charity is seen also in the early Christians who risk their own lives by visiting and ministering to those who have been arrested for their Faith and happily await execution.
  • Among the lessons to be learned from this novel is the absolute necessity of example in obtaining conversions to the Faith.


The book in his original version is a little difficult to read for weak students. The teacher needs to encourage them to persevere.


Martyrs are the heralds of the triumph of the cross. Fabiola is the captivating story of true followers of Our Lord Jesus Christ. This book is highly recommended in order to inspire our students with love of our Catholic Faith.