Sts. Rufina and Secunda were sisters, the daughters of a Roman senator. Their parents had betrothed them to Armentarius and Verinus, but they refused to marry because they had consecrated their virginity to Jesus Christ.
They were arrested by the emperor Valerian. When Junius, the prefect, saw he could not change their minds by promises or by threats, he had Rufina beaten. While she was being tortured, Secunda asked the judge: “Why do you treat my sister thus honorably, but me dishonorably? Order us both to be scourged, since we both confess Christ to be God.”
The judge became so angry he ordered them to be thrown into a miserable dungeon, but upon their entry a bright light and a sweet odor filled the place. They were then put in a bath house and the floor was heated to an extreme temperature; but the girls exited unhurt. Then, they were thrown into the Tiber River with weights around their necks, but they were saved by an angel.
Finally, they were beheaded 10 miles outside of Rome on the Aurelian Way. Their bodies were buried by a matron named Plautilla, on her estate, and were later transferred to Rome, where they now lie in the Basilica of Constantine.
Adapted by A.J. Valentini from Ed Masters and Regina Staff. (n.d.). St. Rufina and St. Secunda, Virgins, Martyrs. In Regina. Retrieved from