Spirituality for Today – June 2016 – Volume 20, Issue 11

Saint of the Month
St. Julitta – June 16

A illustration of Saint JulittaSaint Julitta

The legend of Julitta and her son Cyricus is a dramatic story about courage and martyrdom in the early Church.

At the beginning of the fourth century, the emperor Diocletian renewed the persecution of Christians. Julitta was a wealthy Christian noblewoman and a widow with a three-year-old son. Fearing for her life, she fled from her home with her young child.

The fugitives were able to reach Tarsus in Cilicia before they were seized and arrested. With her small son at her side, Julitta was forced to stand trial before Alexander, the governor of Tarsus. She was presented with fire and incense and told to make sacrifices to pagan gods. But Julitta would not renounce her beliefs and replied to all questions by repeating that she was a Christian.

As punishment, Julitta was to be stretched on the rack and beaten. But when the guards tried to wrest Cyricus from his mother, the boy began to cry uncontrollably. The governor lifted the terrified child to his lap in an effort to quiet him. Just then, Julitta cried out, "I am a Christian!" Cyricus, who was trying to kick and scratch himself free, screamed, "I am a Christian, too!" In a rage, Alexander threw the boy down, fracturing his skull and killing him.

Julitta went to her execution thanking God for her son's martyrdom. According to legend, Julitta's maids buried mother and child in a nearby field. The burial site later became a place of healing and vernation.

Almighty, ever-living God,
lover of holy purity,
Who has called this woman's child
into Your heavenly kingdom,
Lord let her also experience Your merciful kindness.
Comfort her with Your love,
help her bravely accept Your holy will,
and so find sweetness in her sorrow.
Comforted by the merits of Your passion,
and aided by the intercession of Mary ever virgin
and of all Saints,
may she be united at last with her child
for all eternity in the kingdom of heaven.

From Ordinary People, Extraordinary Lives