Oil Dedicated to St Felicity and her seven sons
St Felicity, a wealthy widow, had dedicated herself to raising her sons, praying and charity. When her example convinced friends and neighbors to become Christians and stop honoring the Roman gods. The priests of the Roman Forum complained to Emperor Antonius Pius (138-161).
Although Antonius disliked Christians and did order the deaths of St. Polycarp and 11 followers in Smyrna. Felicity and her sons survived until Marcus Aurelius (161-180) was in power.
Eventually, they brought before the magistrate Publius. Who warned Felicity of serious consequences for her sons unless she made the sacrifices.
They given another chance the next day. They again refused and Felicity said, “Children, look up to heaven where Jesus Christ with his saints awaits you.” Publius had her beaten and taken away. He then promised each son freedom if he made the sacrifice. When all refused he had them imprisoned.
The next day, as Felicity watched, they killed. Starting with the eldest. Januarius whipped. Felix and Phillip beaten to death. Silvanus was drowned in the Tiber. Then Alexander, Vitalis, Martial and Felicity herself beheaded.
While this account accepted for years recent scholarship has raised questions. It’s thought that six of the seven men murdered in three locations all away from Felicity. And that only one related to her, Silvanus. And that’s only because the two buried near each other. In addition, the church for centuries has celebrated the martyrdom of the seven men on July 10. While Felicity remembered in November.