Ordinary Time: July 10th
Thursday of the Fourteenth Week of Ordinary Time
Other Commemorations: Saint Felicity and her Seven Sons, martyrs and Sts. Rufina and Secunda, virgins and martyrs (RM); St Amalberge of Mauberge (RM)
According to the 1962 Missal of Bl. John XXIII the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite, today is the feast of the Seven Brothers and Sts. Rufina and Secunda. The Roman widow Felicitas and her seven sons were martyred in about the year 162. Pope Gregory the Great said of this widow, "She was more than a martyr, for seeing her seven children martyred before her eyes, she was in some sort a martyr in each of them." A century later, Rufina and Secunda, daughters of a wealthy Roman, refused to marry two suitors who had apostatized from the Christian religion. They were scourged and beheaded.
Saint Felicity and her Seven Sons
Saint Felicity was a noble Roman matron, distinguished above all for her virtue. This mother of seven children raised her sons in the fear of the Lord, and after the death of her husband, served God in continence, concerning herself only with good works. Her good examples and those of her children brought a number of pagans to renounce their superstitions, and also encouraged the Christians to show themselves worthy of their vocation. The pagan priests, furious at seeing their gods abandoned, denounced her. She appeared with her pious sons before the prefect of Rome, who exhorted her to sacrifice to idols, but in reply heard a generous confession of faith.
- Learn more about St Felicitas and her Seven Holy Sons
- See also SAINT FELICITAS, AND THE SEVEN BROTHERS, MARTYRS
Sts. Rufina and Secunda
Rufina and Secunda were sisters and virgins of Rome. Their parents had betrothed them to Armentarius and Verinus, but they refused to marry, saying that they had consecrated their virginity to Jesus Christ. They were, therefore, apprehended during the reign of the Emperors Valerian and Gallienus. When Junius, the prefect, saw he could not shake their resolution either by promises or by threats, he first ordered Rufina to be beaten with rods. While she was being scourged, Secunda thus addressed the judge: "Why do you treat my sister thus honorably, but me dishonorably? Order us both to be scourged, since we both confess Christ to be God." Enraged by these words, the judge ordered them both to be cast into a dark and fetid dungeon; immediately a bright light and a most sweet odor filled the prison. They were then shut up in a bath, the floor of which was made red-hot; but from this also they emerged unhurt. Next they were thrown into the Tiber with stones laid to their necks, but an angel saved them from the water, and they were finally beheaded ten miles out of the city on the Aurelian Way. Their bodies were buried by a matron named Plautilla, on her estate, and were afterwards translated into Rome, where they now repose in the Basilica of Constantine near the baptistery.
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St. Amalberga, otherwise Amelia, was born at Brabantrelated, and was in some way related to Pepin of Landen. Whether she was a sister or niece, the Bollandists are not sure. She was married to Witger and became the mother of three saints: Gudila, Reinelda, and Emembertus.
- Read more about St. Amalberge of Mauberge at Regina Magazine