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Ss. Justa & Rufina, Virgin-Martyrs, at Seville, Spain

Commemorated on July 19

Ss. Justa and Rufina were two Christian sisters from Seville, Spain who made fine earthenware pottery, with which they supported themselves and many of the city’s poor. Justa was born in 268; Rufina in 270, of a poor but pious Christian family.

During a pagan festival, they refused to sell their wares for use in the celebrations. In anger, the townspeople broke all of their dishes and pots. Justa and Rufina retaliated by smashing a statue of the pagan goddess, Venus.

The city’s prefect, Diogenianus, ordered that Justa and Rufina be imprisoned. Failing in his efforts to convince them to renounce their faith, he had them tortured on the rack and with iron hooks. An idol was placed near the rack with incense, and the sisters were told that if they would offer sacrifice, they would be released. However, their faith in Christ was not shaken. They were also ordered to walk barefoot to the Sierra Morena. These methods all having failed, they were again thrown into prison, where they suffered from hunger and thirst.

St. Justa died first. Her body, thrown into a well, was later recovered by Bishop Sabinus. The prefect, Diogenianus, believed that the death of Justa would break Rufina’s resolve. However, she refused to renounce her faith and was thrown to the lions. However, the lion refused to attack her, remaining as docile as a house cat.

Infuriated, Diogenianus had Rufina beheaded and her body burned. Her remains were also recovered by Bishop Sabinus and buried alongside her sister in 287.

La Seo Cathedral contains a chapel dedicated to Ss. Justa and Rufina. Agost, in Valencia province, is the location of a hermitage built in 1821 that is dedicated to these saints. Toledo also has a church dedicated to them.

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