« Felicissimus, deacon of Carthage Felicitas (1), martyr at Rome Felicitas (2), martyr at Carthage »

Felicitas (1), martyr at Rome

Felicitas (1), commemorated on Nov. 23; martyr at Rome with her seven sons, under Antoninus Pius, and, according to their Acts, at his personal command, Publius being prefect of the city, c. a.d. 150. It is almost certain that there was no authorized persecution under Antonius Pius, but public calamities stirred up the mob to seek for the favour of the gods by shedding Christian blood ( Julii Capitolini, Vita Antonini Pii, c. 9). Doubtless, in some such way, Felicitas and her children suffered. In her Acts Publius the Prefect is represented as commanded by Antoninus to compel her to sacrifice, but in vain, though he appeals to her maternal affection as well as her fears. He then calls upon each of her sons, Januarius, Felix, Philippus, Sylvanus, Alexander, Vitalis, Martialis, with a similar want of success, the mother exhorting them, "Behold, my sons, heaven, and look upwards, whence you expect Christ with His saints." The prefect, having tortured some of them, reported to the emperor, at whose command they were beheaded. Their martyrdom is commemorated by Gregory the Great, in Hom. 3 super Evang. where, preaching in a church dedicated to her, he lauds Felicitas as "Plus quam martyr quae septem pignoribus ad regnum praemissis, toties ante se mortua est. Ad poenas prima venit sed pervenit octava" (Mart. Vet. Rom. Hieron., Bedae, Adonis, Usuardi).

[G.T.S.]

« Felicissimus, deacon of Carthage Felicitas (1), martyr at Rome Felicitas (2), martyr at Carthage »
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