Sunday, July 10, 2011
The Seven Sons of St. Felicitas, Martyrs
Butler. St. Felicitas was a widow living in Rome who was well-known for her constant prayers, fasting, and charity. Many pagans were converted to Christ after witnessing the godly life of Felicitas and her family. This made the pagan priests angry. They told the emperor that this lady and here children must be sacrificed to appease the gods. Publius, the prefect of Rome, caused the mother and her sons to be apprehended and brought before him, and, addressing her, said, "Take pity on your children, Felicitas; they are in the bloom of youth, and may aspire to the greatest honors and preferments." The holy mother answered, "Your pity is really impiety, and the compassion to which you exhort me would make me the most cruel of mothers." Then turning herself towards her children, she said to them, "My sons, look up to heaven, where Jesus Christ with His Saints expects you. Be faithful in His love, and fight courageously for your souls." Publius, being exasperated at this behavior, commanded her to be cruelly buffeted; he then called the children to him one after another, and used many artful speeches, mingling promises with threats to induce them to adore the gods. His arguments and threats were equally in vain, and the brothers were condemned to be scourged. After being whipped, they were remanded to prison, and the prefect, despairing to overcome their resolution, laid the whole process before the emperor. Antoninus gave an order that they should be sent to different judges, and be condemned to different deaths. Januarius was scourged to death with whips loaded with plummets of lead. The two next, Felix and Philip, were beaten with clubs till they expired. Sylvanus, the fourth, was thrown headlong down a steep precipice. The three youngest, Alexander, Vitalis, and Martialis, were beheaded, and the same sentence was executed upon the mother four months after.
Posted by Chuck Wiese at 12:01 AM