St Rufina and Secunda, St Alexander

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Martyrs. These early Christian saints were the daughters of Asterius, a Roman senator. He arranged for them to marry Armentarius and Verinus and, because all four were Christian, the matches seemed perfect.

However, when the Emperor began persecuting Christians, the two young men renounced their faith. The women refused to do this and ran away. They were captured and scourged at the orders of a prefect named Junus Donatus, before being beheaded.

A pagan lady named Plautilla buried their bodies in a spot called the Black Forest outside Rome. It was renamed the White Forest after the sisters. A church was built in their honour.

and St Alexander

Martyr. He is is among the martyrs named in the Eucharistic prayer of the Mass, but little is known about his life. He was buried in the cemetery of the Jordani on the Salarian Way and is one of the seven martyrs remembered on this day, all said to be sons of St Felicity.