Justa and Rufina
Feast Day: July 19
Justa and Rufina were sisters who lived in Seville, Spain, about 200 years after Jesus’ life, death, Resurrection and Ascension into heaven. We believe that they became Christians after hearing missionaries preach about Christ. They were devout members of the Church and tried to live as faithful disciples of Jesus.
The sisters supported themselves by making and selling beautiful clay pots (they are today the patron saints of potters). They always gave some of their earnings to people in need. Like many other merchants, they sold their pottery from booths set up out of doors in the village where people could see them.
People who were celebrating a pagan festival honoring the Roman gods came to the sisters’ booth. They wanted to buy pots to use in their worship services. Justa and Rufina refused, explaining that they were followers of Christ and did not believe in false gods. The worshippers became angry. They broke all of the Justa’s and Rufina’s pottery, smashing everything to the ground. The sisters responded to this by breaking an image of Venus, one of the pagan gods. They were arrested immediately.
The sisters were brought before the governor, Diogenianus. He demanded that they give up their faith. They refused. He ordered the women to be jailed. The governor gave Justa and Rufina one last chance to speak out against Christ. They refused again. He ordered Rufina to be thrown to lions, but the lions are said to have refused to attack her. So he had both women killed in other ways.
Justa and Rufina died as martyrs for our faith. Their lives teach us what it means to follow the First Commandment: “I am the Lord your God. You shall not have other gods besides me.”
Connecting to Blest Are We® Parish and School
Grade 4, unit 1