Saint Sebastian by Andrea Mantegna, 1480
When we see this painting of Saint Sebastian we assume that this is how he became a Christian martyr. But in fact he survived this torture, because Saint Irene, the widow of the Christian martyr Saint Castulus, rushed to his aid.
Saint Irene Coming to the Aid of Saint Sebastian by Trophime Bigot (1579-1650)
Saint Sebastian Aided by Saint Irene by Georges de la Tour, 1650
Saint Sebastian did not die of the "slings and arrows of outrageous fortune," because Saint Irene removed the arrows, took him home, and nursed him back to health. After he had recovered, Saint Sebastian openly confronted the Emperor Diocletian, calling upon him to stop his persecution of Christians. The emperor responded by ordering that Saint Sebastian be placed under immediate arrest and be bludgeoned to death. This time Diocletian succeeded.
It is believed that Saint Sebastian is a protector against the plague, and he is the patron saint of athletes and soldiers. Saint Irene's feast day is March 30.