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Thecla

Thecla, a native of Iconium in Asia Minor (modern Turkey), in late antiquity became the most popular female saint after Mary. A main pilgrimage shrine (Hagia Thekla) was established at Seleucia, and a community of female virgins took up residence at its church. Devotion to Thecla quickly spread throughout the Mediterranean world, and her popularity is evidenced by the range of material artifacts that bear her image (wall paintings, clay flasks, bronze crosses, wooden combs, stone reliefs, glass medallions, and textile curtains) and by the practice of naming children after her. Her cult was officially suppressed by the Catholic Church in 1969 she is thought never to have existedand few but scholars are aware of her today. From: Alexander Roberts and James Donaldson, eds. (1885). Ante-Nicene Fathers to A.D. 325, vol. 8. New York: Christian Literature Publishing Co. http://wesley.nnu.edu/sermons-essays-books/noncanonical-literature/noncanonical-literature-nt-acts/acts-ofpaul-and-thecla/ Paul having gone into the house of Onesiphorus, there was great joy, and bending of knees, and breaking of bread, and the word of God about selfcontrol and the resurrection; Paul saying: "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God: blessed are they that have kept the flesh chaste, for they shall become a temple of God: blessed are they that control themselves, for God shall speak with them: blessed are they that have kept aloof from this world, for they shall be called upright: blessed are they that have wives as not having them, for they shall receive God for their portion . . . " While Paul was thus speaking in the midst of the church in the house of Onesiphorus, a certain virgin Thecla, the daughter of Theocleia, betrothed to a man named Thamyris, sitting at the window close by, listened night and day to the discourse of virginity and prayer, and did not look away from the window, but paid earnest heed to the faith, rejoicing exceedingly. When she still saw many women going in beside Paul, she also had an eager desire to be deemed worthy to stand in the presence of Paul, and to hear the word of Christ; for never had she seen his figure, but heard his word only. As she did not stand away from the window, her mother sends to Thamyris; and he comes gladly, as if already receiving her in marriage. Theocleia said: "I have a strange story to tell thee, Thamyris; for assuredly for three days and three nights Thecla does not rise from the window, neither to eat nor to drink; but looking earnestly as if upon some pleasant sight, she is so devoted to a foreigner teaching deceitful and artful discourses, that I wonder how a virgin of such modesty is so painfully put about. Thamyris, this man will overturn the city of the Iconians, and thy Thecla too besides; for all the women and the young men go in beside him, being taught to fear God and to live in chastity. Moreover also my daughter, tied to the window like a spider, lays hold of what is said by Paul with a strange eagerness and awful emotion; for the virgin looks eagerly at what is said by him, and has been captivated. But do thou go near and speak to her, for she has been betrothed to thee." Thamyris going near, and kissing her, but at the same time also being afraid of her overpowering emotion, said: "Thecla, my betrothed, why dost thou sit thus and what sort of feeling holds thee overpowered? Turn round to thy Thamyris, and be ashamed. . . . " [But] Thecla did not turn round, but kept attending earnestly to the word of Paul. [Thamyris has Paul thrown into jail on charges of corruption, namely "leading astray the souls of young men and deceiving virgins."] Thecla by night, having taken off her bracelets, gave them to the gatekeeper; and the door having been opened to her, she went into the prison; and having given the jailor a silver mirror, she went in beside Paul, and, sitting at his feet, she heard the great things of God. Paul was afraid of nothing, but ordered his life in the confidence of God. Her faith also was increased, and she kissed his bonds. When Thecla was sought for by her friends, and Thamyris, as if she had been lost, was running up

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and down the streets, one of the gatekeeper's fellow-slaves informed him that she had gone out by night. Having gone out, they examined the gatekeeper; and he said to them: "She has gone to the foreigner into the prison." Having gone, they found her, as it were, enchained by affection. Having gone forth thence, they drew the multitudes together, and informed the governor of the circumstance. He ordered Paul to be brought to the tribunal; but Thecla was wallowing on the ground in the place where he sat and taught her in the prison; and he ordered her too to be brought to the tribunal. She came, exulting with joy. The crowd, when Paul had been brought, vehemently cried out: "He is a magician! away with him!" But the proconsul gladly heard Paul upon the holy works of Christ. Having called a council, he summoned Thecla, and said to her: "Why dost thou not obey Thamyris, according to the law of the Iconians?" But she stood looking earnestly at Paul. When she gave no answer, her mother cried out, saying: "Burn the wicked wretch; burn in the midst of the theatre her that will not marry, in order that all the women that have been taught by this man may be afraid." The governor was greatly moved; and having scourged Paul, he cast him out of the city, and condemned Thecla to be burned. Immediately the governor went away to the theatre, and all the crowd went forth to the spectacle of Thecla. But as a lamb in the wilderness looks round for the shepherd, so she kept searching for Paul. Having looked upon the crowd, she saw the Lord sitting in the likeness of Paul, and said: "As I am unable to endure my lot, Paul has come to see me." She gazed upon him with great earnestness, and he went up into heaven. But the maid-servants and virgins brought the faggots, in order that Thecla might be burned. When she came in naked, the governor wept, and wondered at the power that was in her. The public executioners arranged the faggots for her to go up on the pile. She, having made the sign of the cross, went up on the faggots; and they lighted them. Though a great fire was blazing, it did not touch her; for God, having compassion upon her, made an underground rumbling, and a cloud overshadowed them from above, full of water and hail; and all that was in the

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cavity of it was poured out, so that many were in danger of death. The fire was put out, and Thecla saved. [She goes to rejoin Paul.] Thecla said to Paul: "I shall cut my hair, and follow thee whithersoever thou mayst go." He said: "It is a shameless age, and thou art beautiful. I am afraid lest another temptation come upon thee worse than the first, and that thou withstand it not, but be cowardly." Thecla said: "Only give me the seal in Christ, and temptation shall not touch me." Paul said: "Thecla, wait with patience, and thou shalt receive the water." Paul sent away Onesiphorus and all his house to Iconium; and thus, having taken Thecla, he went into Antioch. As they were going in, a certain Syriarch, Alexander by name, seeing Thecla, became enamoured of her, and tried to gain over Paul by gifts and presents. But Paul said: "I know not the woman whom thou speakest of, nor is she mine." But he, being of great power, himself embraced her in the street. But she would not endure it, but looked about for Paul. She cried out bitterly, saying: "Do not force the stranger; do not force the servant of God. I am one of the chief persons of the Iconians; and because I would not have Thamyris, I have been cast out of the city." Taking hold of Alexander, she tore his cloak, and pulled off his crown, and made him a laughing-stock. He, at the same time loving her, and at the same time ashamed of what had happened, led her before the governor; and when she had confessed that she had done these things, he condemned her to the wild beasts. The women were struck with astonishment, and cried out beside the tribunal: "Evil judgment! impious judgment!" She asked the governor, that, said she, "I may remain pure until I shall fight with the wild beasts." A certain Tryphaena, whose daughter was dead, took her into keeping, and had her for a consolation. . . . [The next morning at dawn, Thecla is brought to the arena.] Thecla, having been taken out of the hand of Tryphaena, was stripped, and received a girdle, and was thrown into the arena, and lions and bears and a fierce lioness were let loose upon her; and the lioness having run up to her feet, lay down; and the multitude of the women cried aloud. A bear

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ran upon her; but the lioness, meeting the bear, tore her to pieces. Again a lion that had been trained against men, which belonged to Alexander, ran upon her; and she, the lioness, encountering the lion, was killed along with him. The women made great lamentation, since also the lioness, her protector, was dead. Then they send in many wild beasts, she standing and stretching forth her hands, and praying. When she had finished her prayer, she turned and saw a ditch full of water, and said: "Now it is time to wash myself." She threw herself in, saying: "In the name of Jesus Christ I am baptized on my last day." The women seeing, and the multitude, wept, saying: "Do not throw thyself into the water"; so that also the governor shed tears, because the seals were going to devour such beauty. She then threw herself in the name of Jesus Christ; but the seals having seen the glare of the fire of lightning, floated about dead. There was round her, as she was naked, a cloud of fire; so that neither could the wild beasts touch her, nor could she be seen naked. The women, when other wild beasts were being thrown in, wailed. Some threw sweet-smelling herbs, others nard, others cassia, others amomum, so that there was abundance of perfumes. All the wild beasts that had been thrown in, as if they had been withheld by sleep, did not touch her; so that Alexander said to the governor: "I have bulls exceedingly terrible; let us bind to them her that is to fight with the beasts." The governor, looking gloomy, turned, and said: "Do what thou wilt." They bound her by the feet between them, and put redhot irons under the privy parts of the bulls, so that they, being rendered more furious, might kill her. They rushed about, therefore; but the burning flame consumed the ropes, and she was as if she had not been bound. But Tryphaena fainted standing beside the arena, so that the crowd said: "Queen Tryphaena is dead." The governor put a stop to the games, and the city was in dismay. And Alexander entreated the governor, saying: "Have mercy both on me and the city, and release this woman. For if Caesar hear of these things, he will speedily destroy the city also along with us, because his kinswoman Queen Tryphaena has died."

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The governor summoned Thecla out of the midst of the wild beasts, and said to her: "Who art thou and what is there about thee, that not one of the wild beasts touches thee?" She said: "I indeed am a servant of the living God; and as to what there is about me, I have believed in the Son of God, in whom He is well pleased; wherefore not one of the beasts has touched me. For He alone is the end of salvation, and the basis of immortal life; for He is a refuge to the tempest-tossed, a solace to the afflicted, a shelter to the despairing; and, once for all, whoever shall not believe on Him, shall not live for ever." The governor having heard this, ordered her garments to be brought, and to be put on. Thecla said: "He that clothed me naked among the wild beasts, will in the day of judgment clothe thee with salvation." Taking the garments, she put them on. The governor therefore immediately issued an edict, saying: "I release to you the God-fearing Thecla, the servant of God." The women shouted aloud, and with one mouth returned thanks to God, saying: "There is one God, the God of Thecla"; so that the foundations of the theatre were shaken by their voice. Tryphaena having received the good news, went to meet the holy Thecla, and said: "Now I believe that the dead are raised: now I believe that my child lives. Come within, and I shall assign to thee all that is mine." She therefore went in along with her, and rested eight days, having instructed her in the word of God, so that most even of the maidservants believed. There was great joy in the house. Thecla kept seeking Paul; and it was told her that he was in Myra of Lycia. Taking young men and maidens, she girded herself; and having sewed the tunic so as to make a man's cloak, she came to Myra, and found Paul speaking the word of God. Paul was astonished at seeing her, and the crowd with her, thinking that some new trial was coming upon her. When she saw him, she said: "I have received the baptism, Paul; for He that wrought along with thee for the Gospel has wrought in me also for baptism." Paul, taking her, led her to the house of Hermaeus, and hears everything from her, so that those that heard greatly wondered, and were comforted, and prayed over Tryphaena. She rose up, and said: "I am

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going to Iconium." Paul said: "Go, and teach the word of God." Tryphaena sent her much clothing and gold, so that she left to Paul many things for the service of the poor. [At age eighteen, Thecla withdraws to a cave near Seleucia, where she spends the remainder of her live, seventy-two years, living as an ascetic and

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preaching the word of God. Eventually, the townsmen send out "insolent young men to destroy her." When the rapists hold down the ninety-yearold virgin, she prays, and a rock opens up to take her in and closes behind her, leaving only a piece of her veil behind.]

Lucy (Lucia) of Syracuse


St. Lucy's day is celebrated on December 13. All that is really known for certain of Lucy is that she was a martyr in Syracuse, Sicily, during the Diocletian persecutions of 304 CE. Her veneration spread to Rome, and by the 6ct to the whole Church. According to the traditional story, she was born c.283. Her father, a Roman aristocrat, died early, leaving his riches to her mother, Eutychia, a Greek woman. At age fourteen, Lucy was betrothed by her mother to a young pagan nobleman, but Lucy had consecrated her virginity to God, and she hoped her mother would devote all their worldly goods to the service of the poor. When Eutychia contracted a painful disease, Lucy persuaded her to make a pilgrimage to the shrine of St. Agatha, a martyr who had been executed some fifty years earlier in nearby Catania. From: Walter W. Skeat, ed. (1881). lfric's Lives of Saints. Early English Text Society, original series, vol. 76. London: N. Trbner. (lfric was an English abbot who wrote c. 996). Then Agatha's renown spread over land and sea, so that a great multitude out of Syracuse sought the virgin's tomb, from a distance of fifty miles, in the city of Catania, with great devotion. Then came a certain widow, named Eutychia, amongst other people, to the famous tomb, and her daughter with her, the blessed Lucy. The widow was diseased, so that she had a flux of blood for the space of four years, and had tried many physicians, but all of them could not help her, though she was 1 but one. Then it happened, at the mass, that the gospel was read how the woman was healed that had a flux of blood, when she touched the Saviour's robe. Then said Lucy, full of faith, to her mother, "If thou believest, mother, this well-known gospel, believe that Agatha has merited something from Christ, since she suffered for His name that she might ever behold Him in her presence, in eternal bliss. Touch now her tomb, and thou shalt soon be whole." Then, after the mass, the mother and daughter prostrated themselves in prayers at the tomb. [Lucy has a vision of Agatha who tells her she will be as famous in Syracuse as Agatha is in Catania.] She rose then trembling because of that bright vision,
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and said to her mother, "Thou art mightily healed. Now I pray thee, by that same One who healed thee by prayers, that thou never name to me any bridegroom, nor expect of my body any mortal fruit, but, as for the property that thou wouldst give me for my pollution, give it me for my chastity, as I am going to Christ." Then said the mother, "Thou knowest my wealth, and I have kept now for nine years against all losses thy father's property, and have increased it further. First close mine eyes (in death), and then dispose of the property lo! how thou mayst please, my dear daughter." Then said Lucy, "Listen to my counsel; thou canst take away nothing with thee out of this life, and that which thou wilt give at death for the Lord's name thou wilt give because thou canst not take it away with thee. But give now, in thy time of health, to the true Saviour whatever thou intendest to dispose of at thy death." Thus Lucy frequently exhorted her mother, until she sold the shining gems, and even her landed property for ready money, and afterwards distributed it to the poor and to strangers, to widows and exiles, and wise servants of God. This came to the ears of the nobly-born youth who was wooing Lucy, who was named Paschasius,

Meaning, many physicians could not heal one patient.

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an impious idolater, who enticed the holy maid to make offerings to devils; but the Lord's virgin said, "A pure offering is this, and acceptable to God, that one should visit widows, and comfort exiles, and help orphan children in their affliction. I have not for three years been employed about any other deeds, but have offered these offerings to the living Lord. Now I desire verily to offer to Him myself, because for some time I have had nothing to spend in His service." Then was Paschasius wroth, and they spake much, until he promised her a beating if she would not be silent. Lucy said to him, "The words of the living God cannot be suppressed, nor put to silence." [Paschasius threatens to send her off to a brothel where she'll lose her maidenhood, saying the Holy Ghost will leave her then due to the impurity of her body.] Lucy thus answered, "No one's body is dangerously polluted, if it pleases not the (possessor's) mind. Though thou shouldst lift up my hand to thine idol, and so, by my means, offer against my will, I shall still be guiltless in the sight of the true God, who judges according to the will, and knoweth all things. If now, against my will, thou causest me to be polluted, a twofold purity shall be gloriously imputed to me. Thou canst not bend my will to thy purpose; whatever thou mayest do to my body, that cannot happen to me." Then the cruel one desired to fulfil his word, that she might be led to loathsome pollution, and began to drag her to the house of lust; but God's might was displayed at once in the maiden, so that the Holy Ghost held her, and fastened her as by a great weight, so that the wicked ones could not remove the maiden. Then they fastened ropes, in their cruel attempt, to her hands and feet, and many tugged at once, but she was never stirred, but stood firm as a mountain.

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Then was the impious Paschasius perplexed, and bade false magicians be brought unto him, that they with their enchantments might overpower the virgin of God. But when they sped not at all, he commanded oxen to be harnessed to her, but they could not even so shake the maiden. The murderer then said to the pure maid, "What is the reason that a thousand men cannot even stir thee, all weak as thou art?" Lucy said to him, "Though thou call ten thousand men, they would all hear the Holy Ghost thus speaking: Cadent a latere tuo mille, et decem millia a dextris tuis, tibi autem non apropinquabit malum. A thousand shall fall beside thee, and ten thousand at thy right hand but verily no evil shall approach thyself." Then was the impious one perplexed in his mind yet more, and bade men light a great pile all round the maid, and sprinkle her with pitch and bespattering oil. She stood then undismayed in the fire, and said, "I have obtained of Christ in prayer that this deadly fire may have no power upon me, that thou mayst be put to shame, and that it may dispel all fear of torture from believers, and take away from unbelievers their evil joy." Then was the impious one madly vexed, so that his friends could not assuage his madness; but they bade men kill the pure maid with the sword. Then was she wounded, so that her bowels fell out, nevertheless she died not, but continued in prayer as long as she desired, and said to the people, "I tell you of a verity that peace is granted to God's congregation, and the furious emperor Diocletian is deposed from his empire, and Maximian the evil-doer is dead. Even as the city of Catania within its walls has the powerful intercessions of my sister Agatha, so am I allotted by Almighty God now to this city of Syracuse, to intercede for you, if ye receive the faith."

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Whilst she thus spake, the wicked Paschasius was bound with chains, and led before the virgin. He had previously been accused, for his cruel deeds, to the Roman people, who governed all the land. He was then brought in bonds to Rome, and the senators commanded him to be beheaded, when he could not excuse his evil deeds. The blessed Lucy remained in the same place where she was struck down, until priests came

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and houselled her with the holy mysteries, and she departed to Christ as they were saying "Amen." Then the people reared a church on the spot where she lay, and hallowed it in her name, to the Saviour's glory, who ever reigneth as God throughout eternity. Amen.

A different legend has it that a young man was in love with Lucy, always telling her that her beautiful eyes gave him no rest and made him want her. She recalled the words of Christ, "If thine eye offend thee, pluck it out," and afraid that her eyes would lead him to violence and perdition, she cut her eyes out with a knife and sent them to him in a dish. Filled with remorse and admiration, her lover converted to Christianity and became a model of virtue. Lucy's faith was rewarded by the restoration of her eyes, more beautiful than ever. A third legend of St. Lucy is that she suffered martyrdom by having her eyes gouged out.

Barbara
Barbara was born, raised, and died (c.267) in Nicomedia, Asia Minor (modern Turkey). Because of doubts concerning the historicity of her legend, she was removed from the liturgical calendar of the Catholic Church in 1969. Her feast day was December 4, in the Eastern Orthodox Church December 17. "While she is most commonly depicted holding a tower, she is also one of the few women saints who is sometimes pictured holding the eucharistic elements, a chalice and host. A person in danger of dying without receiving the last rites from a priest may pray for Barbara's intercession, and it's taken care of; she substitutes for the priest and the sacrament itself" (Kathleen Norris, The Cloister Walk, p. 197). From: William Caxton (1483). The Golden Legend, or Lives of the Saints. Transl. F.S. Ellis. London: Constable, 1900. http://www.aug.edu/augusta/iconography/goldenLegend/barbara.htm HERE BEGINNETH THE LIFE OF ST. BARBARA In the time that Maximian reigned there was a rich man, a paynim [pagan], which adored and worshipped the idols, which man was named Dioscorus. This Dioscorus had a young daughter which was named Barbara, for whom he did do make a high and strong tower in which he did do keep and close this Barbara, to the end that no man should see her because of her great beauty. Then came many princes unto the said Dioscorus for to treat with him for the marriage of his daughter, which went anon unto her and said: "My daughter, certain princes be come to me which require me for to have thee in marriage, wherefore tell to me thine entent and what will ye have to do." Then St. Barbara returned all angry towards her father and said: "My father, I pray you that ye will not constrain me to marry, for thereto I have no will ne thought." [Before going on a journey, Dioscorus has a "cistern," a private bathhouse, erected for his daughter. During his absence, Barbara asks the workers to put in three windows rather than the original two, a symbol of the Trinity.] In this same cistern was this holy maid baptized of a holy man, and lived there a certain space of time, in taking only for her refection honeysuckles and locusts, following the holy precursor of our Lord, St. John Baptist. . . . [The father returns to find the three windows in place. He asks his daughter for an explanation .] And St. Barbara answered: "These three fenestres or windows betoken clearly the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, the which be three persons and one very God, on whom we ought to believe and worship." Then he being replenished with furor, incontinent drew his sword to have slain her, but the holy virgin made her prayer and then marvellously she was taken in a stone and borne into a mountain on which two shepherds kept their sheep, the which saw her fly. And then her father, which pursued after her, went unto the shepherds and demanded after her. And that one, which would have preserved her, said that he had not seen her, but that other, which was an evil man, showed and pointed her with his finger, whom the holy St. Barbara cursed, and anon his sheep became locusts, and he consumed into a stone. And then her father took her by the hair and drew her down from the mountain and shut her fast in prison, and made her to be kept there by his servants unto the time that he had sent to the judge for to deliver her to the torments. And when the judge was advertised of the faith and belief of the maid he did her to be brought tofore him. Her father went with her, accompanied with his servants threatening her with his sword, and delivered her unto the judge, and conjured him, by the puissance of his gods that, he should torment her with horrible torments. ST. BARBARA BEFORE THE PAGAN JUDGE Then sat the judge in judgment, and when he saw the great beauty of St. Barbara, he said to her: "Now choose whether ye will spare yourself and offer to the gods, or else die by cruel torments."

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St. Barbara answered to him: "I offer myself to my God, Jesu Christ, the which hath created heaven and earth and all other things, and fie on your devils, which have mouths and cannot speak, they have eyes, and cannot see, they have ears, and hear not, they have noses, and smell not, they have hands, and may not feel, and they have feet, and may not go, they that make them, be they made semblable to them, and all they that have fiance [faith] and belief in them." Then became the judge all wood and angry, and commanded to unclothe her and beat her with sinews of bulls, and frot her flesh with salt, and when she had long endured this, that her body was all bloody, the judge did do close her in a prison unto the time that he had deliberated of what torments he might make her die. And then at midnight descended a great light and clearness into the prison in which our Lord showed him to her, saying: "Barbara, have confidence, and be firm and steadfast, for in heaven and in the earth thou shalt have great joy for thy passion, therefore, doubt not the judge, for I shall be with thee, and I shall deliver thee from all thy pains that any shall make thee suffer." And incontinent she was all whole. And then, when our Lord had said thus, he blessed her and remounted into heaven. [The following morning,] the judge, replenished of ire, commanded that she should be hanged between two forked trees, and that they should break her reins with staves, and burn her sides with burning lamps, and after he made her strongly to be beaten, and hurted her head with a mallet. Then St. Barbara beheld and looked upward to heaven, saying: "Jesu Christ, that knowest the hearts of men, and knowest my thought, I beseech thee to leave me not." Then commanded the judge to the hangman that he should cut off with his sword her paps, and when they were cut off, the holy saint looked again towards heaven, saying: "Jesu Christ, turn not thy visage from me." And when she had long endured this pain, the judge commanded that she should be led with beating through the streets, and the holy virgin the

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third time beheld the heaven, and said: "Lord God, that coverest heaven with clouds, I pray thee to cover my body, to the end that it be not seen of the evil people." And when she had made her prayer, our Lord came over her, and sent to her an angel which clad her with a white vestment, and the knights led her unto a town called Dallasion, and there the judge commanded to slay her with the sword. And then her father all araged took her out of the hands of the judge and led her up on a mountain, and St. Barbara rejoiced her in hasting to receive the salary of her victory. HER HOLY DEATH And then when she was drawn thither she made her orison, saying: "Lord Jesu Christ, which hast formed heaven and earth, I beseech thee to grant me thy grace and hear my prayer, that all they that have memory of thy name and my passion, I pray thee that thou wilt not remember their sins, for thou knowest our fragility." Then came there a voice down from heaven saying unto her: Come, my spouse Barbara, and rest in the chamber of God my Father, which is in heaven, and I grant to thee that thou hast required of me. And when this was said, she came to her father and received the end of her martyrdom with St. Julian. But when her father descended from the mountain, a fire from heaven descended on him, and consumed him in such wise that there could not be found only ashes of all his body. This blessed virgin St. Barbara received martyrdom with St. Julian the second nones of December. A noble man called Valentine buried the bodies of these two martyrs, and laid them in a little town in which many miracles were showed in the louing [praise] and glory of God Almighty. And St. Barbara, the holy martyr suffered passion in the time of Maximian, emperor of Rome, and Marcian the judge. Whom we pray and beseech to be our advocatrix unto Almighty God, that by her merits he bring us after this short and transitory life into his glory perdurable. Amen.

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Juthwara
Juthwara: virgin (and martyr?), was British, perhaps from Cornwall. Her brother was said to be Paul Aurelian and her sisters Sidwell of Exeter and Wulvela of Cornwall. Her relics were translated to Sherborne under lfwald II (104558). These seem to be the most certain facts about her: her Legend in N.L.A. is a farrago of impossibilities. According to this story, as in the Legend of Sidwell, she was the victim of a jealous stepmother. Juthwara, a pious girl who practised much prayer, fasting, and almsgiving, suffered after her father's death from a pain in the chest, brought on perhaps by her sorrow and austerities. The stepmother recommended as a remedy two cheeses applied to her breasts; meanwhile, she told her own wicked son called Bana that Juthwara was pregnant. He accused her, found her underclothes were moist, and struck off her head there and then. The usual spring of water then appeared; Juthwara carried her head back to the church; Bana repented, became a monk, and founded a monastery of Gerber (later called Le Relecq) on a British battlefield. The place of Juthwara's death may have been Lanteglos by Camelford (Cornwall), where the church, now St Julitta's, may originally have been Juthwara's. The neighbouring parish of Lancast is dedicated to her sisters. She is depicted with her sister Sidwell on the screens of Hennock and Ashton (Devon); her usual emblem is a cream-cheese or a sword. A late medieval statue at Guizeny (Brittany) shows her holding her head in her hand. Feast: 28 November, translation, 13 July.

Wilgefortis
The curious legend of Wilgefortis [also called Uncumber, Liberata, or Kummernis] has its roots in a story recounted by Gregory the Great. In its developed form, Wilgefortis was a septuplet of a pagan king of Portugal; together with her brothers and sisters she became a Christian and suffered martyrdom. Her father wanted her to marry the king of Sicily, but she had taken a vow of virginity. So she prayed to become unattractive: the result was that a moustache and beard grew on her face and her suitor withdrew. Her father accordingly had her crucified: while on the cross she prayed that all who remembered her passion should be liberated from all encumbrances and troubles. . . . The English custom of offering oats at her statue was rightly derided by Thomas More: "Whereof I cannot perceive the reason, but if it be because she should provide a horse for an evil husband to ride to the devil upon, for that is the thing that she is so sought for, as they say. Insomuch that women have therefore changed her name and instead of Saint Wilgeforte call her Saint Uncumber, because that they reckon that for a peck of oats she will not fail to uncumber them of their husbands." . . . A statue of Wilgefortis survives in Henry VII Chapel, Westminster Abbey. It seems that the cult originated in 14th-century Flanders, with feast on 20 July. The legend of Wilgefortis is sometimes explained as an attempt to account for the clothed and bearded figure of Christ on the Cross. In our own day some doctors have speculated on the connection between anorexia nervosa in adolescent girls and the growth of hair in unusual parts of the body.

From: David Hugh Farmer (2011). The Oxford Dictionary of Saints, 5th rev. ed. Oxford: Oxford UP.

Maria Goretti
Goretti was an Italian peasant girl from a village near Ancona. Her father died when she was ten. At age twelve she was assaulted by a neighboring teenager. She was canonized in 1950, the first virgin martyr declared such by the church for defending her chastity rather than her faith. Her mother was present at her canonization, the first time a parent was present for a child's canonization. St. Maria Goretti's feast is on July 6. From: http://www.catholicculture.org/culture/liturgicalyear/calendar/day.cfm?date=2012-07-06 St. Maria Goretti was born of a poor family in Corinaldi, Italy, in 1890. Near Nettuno she spent a difficult childhood assisting her mother in domestic duties. She was of a pious nature and often at prayer. In 1902 she was stabbed to death, preferring to die rather than be raped. (Office of Readings) The following is an excerpt from a homily at the canonization of Saint Maria Goretti by Pope Pius XII: "It is well known how this young girl had to face a bitter struggle with no way to defend herself. Without warning a vicious stranger [actually Alessandro Serenelli who lived with his father in the same house as the Gorettis] burst upon her, bent on raping her and destroying her childlike purity. In that moment of crisis she could have spoken to her Redeemer in the words of that classic, The Imitation of Christ: 'Though tested and plagued by a host of misfortunes, I have no fear so long as your grace is with me. It is my strength, stronger than any adversary; it helps me and gives me guidance.' With splendid courage she surrendered herself to God and his grace and so gave her life to protect her virginity. "The life of this simple girlI shall concern myself only with highlightswe can see as worthy of heaven. Even today people can look upon it with admiration and respect. Parents can learn from her story how to raise their God-given children in virtue, courage and holiness; they can learn to train them in the Catholic faith so that, when put to the test, God's grace will support them and they will come through undefeated, unscathed and untarnished. "From Maria's story carefree children and young people with their zest for life can learn not to be led astray by attractive pleasures which are not only ephemeral and empty but also sinful. Instead they can fix their sights on achieving Christian moral perfection, however difficult and hazardous that course may prove. With determination and God's help all of us can attain that goal by persistent effort and prayer. "Not all of us are expected to die a martyr's death, but we are all called to the pursuit of Christian virtue. This demands strength of character though it may not match that of this innocent girl. Still, a constant, persistent and relentless effort is asked of us right up to the moment of our death. This may be conceived as a slow steady martyrdom which Christ urged upon us when he said: The kingdom of heaven is set upon and laid waste by violent forces. "So let us all, with God's grace, strive to reach the goal that the example of the virgin martyr, Saint Maria Goretti, sets before us. Through her prayers to the Redeemer may all of us, each in his own way, joyfully try to follow the inspiring example of Maria Goretti who now enjoys eternal happiness in heaven." Imprisoned for murder she appeared to him in his cell and forgave him, and he was subsequently converted. Most importantly, he sat next to her mother at the beatification, who also forgave him. Patron: Against impoverishment; against poverty; children; children of Mary; girls; loss of parents; martyrs; rape victims; young people in general.

El Mozote Massacre
"The El Mozote Massacre took place in and around the village of El Mozote, in Morazn department, El Salvador, on December 11, 1981, when the Salvadorean Army killed more than 800 civilians in an anti-guerrilla campaign during the Salvadoran Civil War. The massacre was first reported in the US by New York Times and Washington Post reporters who had independently reached the scene, and came during a congressional debate over whether to continue military aid to the Salvadoran armed forces. Following a "certification" by the administration of US President Ronald Reagan that no massacre had taken place and that Salvadoran forces were working to respect human rights, the Democratic-controlled Congress agreed to continue aid. In December 2011, the El Salvador government apologized for the massacre. . . . US journalist Mark Danner compiled various reports to reconstruct an account of the massacre." (Wikipedia) From: Mark Danner (1993). "The Truth of El Mozote," The New Yorker, 6 December 1993. http://www.markdanner.com/articles/show/the_truth_of_el_mozote Rufina [Rufina Amaya, a thirty-eight-year-old woman, one of the few survivors of the massacre] could not see the children; she could only hear their cries as the soldiers waded into them, slashing some with their machetes, crushing the skulls of others with the butts of their rifles. Many othersthe youngest children, most below the age of twelve the soldiers herded from the house of Alfredo Mrquez across the street to the sacristy, pushing them, crying and screaming, into the dark tiny room. There the soldiers raised their M16s and emptied their magazines into the roomful of children. Not all the children of El Mozote died at the sacristy. A young man now known as Chepe Mozote told me that when the townspeople were forced to assemble on the plaza that evening he and his little brother had been left behind in their house, on the outskirts of the hamlet, near the school. By the next morning, Chepe had heard plenty of shooting; his mother had not returned. [Soldiers found him and ordered him to carry his brother to the playground near the school.] When they reached the playing field, there were maybe thirty children, he says. The soldiers were putting ropes on the trees. I was seven years old, and I didnt really understand what was happening until I saw one of the soldiers take a kid he had been carryingthe kid was maybe three years oldthrow him in the air, and stab him with a bayonet. "They slit some of the kids' throats, and many they hanged from the tree. All of us were crying now, but we were their prisonersthere was nothing we could do. The soldiers kept telling us, 'You are guerrillas and this is justice. This is justice.' Finally, there were only three of us left. I watched them hang my brother. He was two years old. I could see I was going to be killed soon, and I thought it would be better to die running, so I ran. I slipped through the soldiers and dived into the bushes. They fired into the bushes, but none of their bullets hit me." . . . Soon the only sounds were those which trickled down from the hillslaughter, intermittent screams, a few shots. On La Cruz, soldiers were raping the young girls who were left. . . . There was one in particular the soldiers talked about that evening (she is mentioned in the Tutela Legal report as well): a girl on La Cruz whom they had raped many times during the course of the afternoon, and through it all, while the other women of El Mozote had screamed and cried [during the rapes], this girl had sung hymns, strange evangelical songs, and she had kept right on singing, too, even after they had done what had to be done, and shot her in the chest. She had lain there on La Cruz with the blood flowing from her chest, and had kept on singinga bit weaker than before, but still singing. And the soldiers, stupefied, had watched and pointed. Then they had grown tired of the game and shot her again, and she sang still, and their wonder began to turn to fearuntil finally they had unsheathed their machetes and hacked through her neck, and at last the singing had stopped.