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Rev. Alban Butler (1711–73). Volume VII: July. The Lives of the Saints. 1866.

July 20

SS. Justa and Rufina, Martyrs

THESE holy martyrs were two Christian women at Seville in Spain, who maintained both themselves and many poor persons by selling earthen ware. A fervent soul finds in the most ordinary course of life occasions of exercising many heroic acts of virtue, and makes every ordinary action a perfect holocaust by performing it with a most ardent desire of pleasing God with the entire sacrifice of itself. Such were the lives of these two faithful servants of God in the world. So perfect a virtue deserved to be honoured with the crown of martyrdom. Though these saints gave all their substance to the poor, and were desirous to serve every one for the edification of their souls; yet no motives could draw them into any criminal condescension. Not to concur to the idolatrous superstitions, they refused to sell vessels for the use of heathenish sacrifices. The Pagans, offended at their religious scruple, when Dioclesian’s edicts renewed the persecution, broke all the ware in their shop, and impeached them for their faith before the governor. The prefect, after they had boldly confessed Christ, commanded them to be stretched on the rack, and their sides in the mean time to be torn with iron hooks. An idol was placed near the rack with incense, that if they would offer sacrifice, they should be that moment released; but their fidelity was not to be shaken. Justa expired on the rack: which when the judge saw, he ordered Rufina to be strangled, and their bodies to be burnt. They suffered in the year 304. See their acts published by Maldonat; also Ado, Usuard, &c.  1