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Ss. Maxima, Donatilla & Secunda, Virgin Martyrs, in North Africa

Commemorated on July 30

St. Maxima, Donatilla and Secunda were three holy virgins who suffered martyrs’ deaths around 258 in the persecutions against Christians under Governors Valerian and Gallienus.

St. Maxima was fourteen years old and Donatilla was also very young. They lived in an imperial settlement near Tuburbium Maius (north of present-day Tunisia, in North Africa). When ordered to sacrifice to idols, all the citizens obeyed. However, Maxima and Donatilla fearlessly objected, confessing that they were Christians.

They were condemned and subjected to all imaginable forms of torture. They were forced to drink vinegar and gall, and then were scourged, stretched on the rack, burned on the gridiron, and rubbed with lime.

Secunda was arrested separately from Maxima and Donatilla, but was united with them in prison. She was only twelve years old, but had prepared herself for the promise of the Heavenly Kingdom.

Surviving their earlier tortures, the three maidens were thrown before wild animals, but the beasts meekly retreated. They were eventually beheaded with a sword and received martyrs’ crowns.

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