Here follow the Lives of the Seven Brethren.
The seven brethren were the sons of S. Felicitas, whose
names be Januarius, Felix, Philip, Silvanus, Alexander, Vital, and Marcial. All
these were called by the commandment of the emperor Anthony, tofore Publius the
provost. And then the provost counselled the mother that she should have pity
upon herself and on her sons, who answered and said: Neither for thy flattering
ne thy blandishing words thou mayst not draw me to thy desire, ne with thy
threatenings thou mayst not break me. I am assured of the Holy Ghost, whom I
have, that I shall alive overcome thee, and better shall vanquish thee when I
am dead. And then she turned her to her sons, and said: My sons, see the heaven
and look upward my dearest children, for Christ abideth you there. Fight ye
strongly for Christ, and show you faithful and true in the love of Jesu Christ.
And when the provost heard that, he commanded that she should be smitten and
buffeted. And as the mother and her sons abode most constantly in the faith,
the mother seeing and comforting them, they were slain with divers torments.
And S. Gregory calleth this blessed Felicitas more than a martyr, for she
suffered seven times death in her seven sons, and the eighth time in her proper
body, and he saith in his homily that S. Felicitas in believing was the
handmaid of Christ, and in preaching was made the martyr of Christ. And she
dreaded to leave after her, for to live, her seven sons in prison, like as
worldly friends dread lest they should die in prison. She childed and bare them
by the Holy Ghost, whom she had borne to the world of her flesh; and them whom
she knew well of her own flesh, she might not see die without sorrow. But it
was the force of the love withinforth, that overcame the sorrow of the flesh.
And I have said by right this woman to be more than a martyr, that so oft hath
been extinct in her sons, in which she hath therein multiplied martyrdom. She
overcame the victory of martyrdom, when for the love of God her only death
sufficed her not. And they suffered death about the year of our Lord one
hundred and ten, under Decius the emperor.