January 25

From the Prologue

As a Christian, Felicitas was condemned to death along with her seven sons during the reign of Emperor Antoninus in the year 164 A.D. She implored God only that she not to be killed before her sons, so that she might be able to encourage them during their torture and death in order that they would not deny Christ. According to God's Providence, it so happened. With joy, this superb mother accompanied her sons one by one until she had witnessed the death of all seven sons. Then, she herself, with gratitude to God, received a martyr's death. She and her sons suffered in Rome where their relics repose.



Felicitas prayed to God;

"I have a crown of seven pearls,

I wish to wrap them in purple,

And, in purple, to present them to You;

O dear Lord, receive these gifts!"

Seven sons; seven pearls,

And purplish-red, the blood of the martyrs,

The prayer of the mother ascended

And as incense reached before God.

The Roman emperor sentenced her sons

To bitter death and bitter tortures;

The mother willingly; all were amazed at her!

Felicitas encouraged her sons:

"This is why I gave birth to you, my children,

This is why I nursed you, my children,

So that I can make a gift of you to God.

For God gave (gifted) you to me."

This, having been said, the executioner began his work:

The first fell, the mother bowed;

The second fell, the mother bowed twice;

The third fell, the mother bowed thrice;

With the fourth, four times she bowed;

The fifth fell, five times she bowed;

The sixth fell, six times she bowed;

The seventh fell, seven times she bowed;

The mother bowing, gave thanks to God;

The eighth time she bowed for herself,

And, on the block, she rested her head,

The sword glistened; her head decapitated -

The mother kissed her children in Paradise.

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