Fabiola; Or, The Church of the Catacombs
Publication Date: 2021
Written in 1854, Cardinal Wiseman's novel vividly portrays the persecution of Christians under Emperor Diocletian. The story centers around Fabiola, a noble pagan girl inclined towards philosophy and her increasing discontent with Roman society. One fateful day, she attacks and wounds her slave girl Syra, who is a secret Christian. Stunned by Syra's humility and charity, Fabiola is slowly introduced to the world of Christianity and its fight for survival.
Amidst the backdrop of the decaying Roman empire, Wiseman masterfully describes the Roman catacombs and the courageous Christians who faced martyrdom. Through their stories, a narrative of faith and renewal unfolds, capturing the essence of a tumultuous era. The novel intricately weaves in real-life Christian saints with accurate retellings of stories like Saint Agnes, Saint Tarcisius, and Saint Sebastian as compelling characters. Fabiola's timeless appeal has led to its adaptation into film on three occasions, resonating with Catholics everywhere.