Simplicius, Faustinus and Beatrix
|Saints Simplicius, Faustinus and Beatrix|
The Martyrdom of Saints Simplicius and Faustinus. From a 14th-century manuscript.
|Died||302 or 303|
|Venerated in||Roman Catholic Church|
|Major shrine||Santa Maria Maggiore|
|Attributes||Saint Simplicius is represented with a pennant, on the shield of which are three lilies, called the crest of Simplicius; the lilies are a symbol of purity of heart. Saint Beatrix has a cord in her hand, because she was strangled.|
The legend about them is that the brothers Simplicius and Faustinus were cruelly tortured on account of their Christian faith, beaten with clubs, and finally beheaded; their bodies were thrown into the Tiber (according to another version a stone was tied to them and they were drowned). Their sister Beatrix had the bodies drawn out of the water and buried.
Then for seven months she lived with a pious woman named Lucina and together they secretly helped persecuted Christians. Finally she was discovered and arrested. Her accuser was her neighbor Lucretius who desired to obtain possession of her lands. She asserted before the judge that she would never sacrifice to demons, because she was a Christian. As punishment, she was strangled in prison. Her friend Lucina buried her with her brothers in the cemetery ad Ursum Pileatum on the Via Portuensis.
Divine punishment soon overtook the accuser Lucretius, who at a feast was mocking the folly of the martyrs. A small child cried out, "Thou hast committed murder and hast taken unjust possession of land. Thou art a slave of the devil", who at once took possession of him and tortured him three hours and drew him down into the bottomless pit. The terror of those present was so great that they became Christians.
Of these martyrs, apart from their names, nothing is known except that they were buried on a July 29 in the Cemetery of Generosa on the Via Portuensis. Their feast day is thus July 29. Because of the extremely limited knowledge about them, they are no longer included in the General Roman Calendar, but, since they are included in the Roman Martyrology, they continue to be officially venerated worldwide and may be included in local liturgical calendars. From the time of the Tridentine Calendar until 1969, the General Roman Calendar included a commemoration of them within the liturgy of Saint Martha on July 29.
Pope Leo II (682-683) translated their relics to a church which he had built in Rome in honor of Saint Paul. Later the greater part of the relics of the martyrs were taken to the Church of Santa Maria Maggiore.
Saint Simplicius is represented in art with a pennant, on the shield of which are three lilies, called the crest of Simplicius; the lilies are a symbol of purity of heart. Saint Beatrix is portrayed with a cord in her hand, because she was strangled. Their feast day is July 29.
Venerating the body of the martyr St. Beatrice at the Benedictine Convent of Perpetual Adoration, Clyde, Missouri in 1940: "There, under the altar, enclosed in glass, lay the body of the Roman martyr, Beatrice. We bent our heads eagerly and peered under the glass, where, on silken pillows lay the glittering doll-like body of Saint Beatrice (which we later learned was not her real body but a wax figure encasing her bones). We gazed, fascinated by the rosy cheeked young girl lying there, wearing a richly brocaded and embroidered dress, looking as if she had just breathed her last breath. We stared at her head. Her brown curls were encircled by a filigree band; her pretty mouth was open. We could see her little white teeth and pink tongue. Her glassy eyes had rolled back into her head and were fixed as though staring into heaven. Her pretty head had fallen back onto a silken pillow. Above the gold brocaded collar band, her long, prettily arched neck revealed the bloody spot our eyes always sought in fearful anticipation. It was eternally there--the blood encrusted stab wound that had taken her life. Drops of her blood appeared still fresh on her neck and were caught in a gold chalice beside the pillow.
"We were enraptured at her dress--a prettier dress than any we had ever or would ever know, prettier than our first communion dresses, prettier even than any doll dress, trimmed in gold, with seed pearls and precious stones. Gold trim ran around her sleeves and down the panels of her skirt and around her hem. Her dress was caught in with a golden belt. Her tiny feet were hidden in two little shoes also trimmed in gold and jewels, resting on a small satin pillow."
- "Martyrologium Romanum" (Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 2001 ISBN 88-209-7210-7)
- "Calendarium Romanum" (Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 1969), p. 132
- This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Herbermann, Charles, ed. (1913). "article name needed". Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton.