St. Lawrence (d. 258 A.D.) was likely a Spaniard by birth who lived in Rome while Christianity was outlawed under pain of death. He was appointed by Pope St. Sixtus II as Archdeacon over the seven deacons of Rome and held the sacred duty of tending to the Church’s wealth and distributing alms to the poor. After Pope St. Sixtus II was beheaded by Roman Emperor Valerian, along with the six other deacons, Lawrence was left as the highest-ranking clergy in Rome. He was ordered by the Roman authorities to appear before the tribunal—a summons to his execution—along with the treasures of the Church that were in his possession. St. Lawrence then quickly distributed the Church’s wealth to the poor so that the government could not confiscate it.
On the appointed day, August 10th, Lawrence responded to the summons by bringing with him a multitude of the poor and crippled of Rome; these he proclaimed to be the true treasure of the Church. This angered the authorities so greatly that Lawrence was ordered to be burned alive on a gridiron. He was bound to the metal grate and slowly roasted to death over hot coals. During his torture Lawrence famously mocked his torturers by saying, “I am done on this side, turn me over.” St. Lawrence is the patron saint of many causes including cooks, chefs, comedians, deacons, librarians, students, and the poor. His feast day is August 10th.