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Thursday, July 10, 2008

Rufina and Secunda, Strong Women, Holy Martyrs

Saints Rufina and Secunda (Italian - Sante Rufina e Seconda) (3rd century - 257 AD) were Roman martyrs and Christian saints. Their feast day is celebrated on July 10.

According to the legendary Acts, they suffered martyrdom for Christ in 257 during the persecution of Emperor Valerian. Their legend states that they were daughters of a Roman senator named Asterius. Their fiances, Armentarius and Verinus, were Christians, but renounced their faith when Valerian began his persecutions.

Escaping to Etruria, Rufina and Secunda were captured and brought before a prefect, who tortured and then beheaded them. Their bodies were buried on the Via Aurelia and the church of Sante Rufina e Secunda was built in their honor in Rome.


One of the criticisms levelled at Traditional Catholics is the idea that our women are somehow weak, pasty holy cards of submissive and drab womanhood. But when one pays attention, you realize that the saints and martyrs were often such strong-minded tough cookies that we may have little experience of such folks in our actual life. But just imagine, these young ladies, from a patriarchal culture, in love with their betrothed and their whole life ahead of them. But these ladies did not capitulate, even under what we now call "enhanced interrogations". They were strong women who loved truth, Jesus Christ and the Holy Ghost more than their lovers, more than life itself. Our Lady herself is the strongest flower in God's Garden, enduring as she did the
agony on the Cross with Her Son, and participating mystically in the redemption of fallen humanity. She is called by the Church Co-Redemptrix for this reason. Before the year 200, the Church Father Irenaeus referred to Mary as "causa salutis" [cause of our salvation] given her "fiat" ("Be it done to me according to thy word.")

Pope Benedict XV first described the term in his own right in his Apostolic Letter, Inter Soldalica, issued on March 22, 1918: "As the Blessed Virgin Mary does not seem to participate in the public life of Jesus Christ, and then, suddenly appears at the stations of his cross, she is not there without divine intention. She suffers with her suffering and dying son, almost as if she would have died herself. For the salvation of mankind, she gave up her rights as the mother of her son and sacrificed him for the reconciliation of divine justice, as far as she was permitted to do. Therefore, one can say, she redeemed with Christ the human race."

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