St. Denis was born in Italy. In 250 he was sent to France with six other missionary bishops by Pope Fabian. Denis became the first bishop of Paris. He was beheaded in 258 with the priest Rusticus and the deacon Eleutherius at Catulliacum, now Saint-Denis. One of the many legends about his torture and death was that his body carried his severed head some distance from his execution site. St. Denis is one of the Fourteen Holy Helpers who was invoked particularly in the Middle Ages against the Black Plague.
O God, who sent Saint Denis and his companions to preach your glory to the nations and strengthened them for their mission with the virtue of constancy in suffering, grant, we pray, that we may imitate them in disdaining prosperity in this world and in being undaunted by any trial.