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Blood of Life View Comments
By Wendy-Marie Teichert

Victoria Angel Durante, seen here with her parents, Patrizia and Luigi,
saved her mother’s life.
AFTER HER FIRST pregnancy ended in a miscarriage, Patrizia Durante fell into a dark season of sorrow, a time full of doubts. Confused and depressed, she wondered if she had done something wrong that such a misfortune should come upon her. So when she became pregnant again a few months later, it was as if the sun had risen to scatter the fog. She was elated. She registered at the baby store, ordered new furniture, and picked out pretty clothing and nursery items. A financial adviser, Patrizia made plans to stay home from work for the first year after her daughter’s birth.

Her happy world crumbled, though, when, in the 26th week of her pregnancy, results from a routine glucose test revealed that she had acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL). Further testing showed that she also had acute myeloid leukemia (AML)—a mixture that is rare and difficult to treat. Her doctors gave her a 50/50 chance of survival.

Patrizia remembers how she recoiled from the news. “When a doctor tells you at 26 years old that you may die, it’s like nothing you can imagine. I was totally in denial. I was young. I had no symptoms. We were all in shock. It took a while to sink in.”

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Wendy-Marie Teichert is a freelance writer from Grass Valley, California. Her work has previously
appeared in this magazine, as well as Catholic Digest and National Catholic Register.


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Apollonia: The persecution of Christians began in Alexandria during the reign of the Emperor Philip. The first victim of the pagan mob was an old man named Metrius, who was tortured and then stoned to death. The second person who refused to worship their false idols was a Christian woman named Quinta. Her words infuriated the mob and she was scourged and stoned. 
<p>While most of the Christians were fleeing the city, abandoning all their worldly possessions, an old deaconess, Apollonia, was seized. The crowds beat her, knocking out all of her teeth. Then they lit a large fire and threatened to throw her in it if she did not curse her God. She begged them to wait a moment, acting as if she was considering their requests. Instead, she jumped willingly into the flames and so suffered martyrdom.</p><p>There were many churches and altars dedicated to her. Apollonia is the patroness of dentists, and people suffering from toothache and other dental diseases often ask her intercession. She is pictured with a pair of pincers holding a tooth or with a golden tooth suspended from her necklace. St. Augustine explained her voluntary martyrdom as a special inspiration of the Holy Spirit, since no one is allowed to cause his or her own death.</p> American Catholic Blog We can find Christ among the despised, voiceless, and forgotten of the world. We have to move beyond that which we wish to ignore and forget about: embrace the seemingly un-embraceable, love the unlovable, and dare to know what we most fear and wish to leave unknowable.

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