These are saints for our times!
Ss. Justa and Rufina were sisters born to a poor Christian family in Seville, Spain in the 3rd century. They helped support their family and many of the city’s poor by making pottery.
Remember that this was before Constantine, so Christians were still a persecuted minority and paganism reigned. Which is why it wasn’t particularly strange that they were asked to make pottery for a local pagan festival.
What should they do? The festival was important for their town. But as Christians, they believed the pagan festivals were gravely immoral and they wanted nothing to do with them.
So they refused to make pottery for the festival. (Can you think of any similarities to situations today?)
Their pagan neighbors were furious. A crowd stormed their business and smashed all of their pottery in retaliation. Filled with zeal, Justa and Rufina smashed a local image of the pagan goddess Venus.
The sisters were quickly arrested by the local government and imprisoned. When they refused to renounce Christ, they were tortured and deprived of food and drink.
Justa died from the abuse in prison. The local prefect was hoping that the death of her sister would break Rufina’s resolve, but she stayed true. So they threw her to the lions in an amphitheater, but the lions wouldn’t attack her. Finally, the prefect had Rufina beheaded and her body burned.
The sisters are patrons of Seville to this day.
Ss. Justa and Rufina, please pray for us!
[See also: The Astonishing Fact of the Incorruptible Saints]
[See also: 6 Saints that Just Would Not Die]