Feast Day: September 23
Born: (a few decades after Christ) :: Died: (when she was 80 years old)
Thecla was born in the first century at Iconium in Greece (which is now in Turkey). She was beautiful, well-educated and came from a very rich family.
At the age of 18, her father got her engaged to a rich and generous pagan prince named Thamyris.
When St. Paul the apostle came to preach the Gospel of Jesus in Iconium, Thecla's prayer to know the one, true God was answered.
She immediately gave up all her dreams of marriage, forgot her beauty, converted to Christianity and became a true follower of Jesus. She was the first woman evangelist in the Church.
When her parents and Thamyris found out what she had done, they tried to make her change her mind, with no success. Then they reported her to the governor who decided to have her burned at the stake.
When the fire was lit, Thecla bravely went making the Sign of the Cross. Suddenly, a strong wind blew and heavy rain poured down putting out the fire.
She was then thrown to the lions and making the Sign of the Cross she offered her spirit to the Lord. At once, the lions lay down at her side, and licked her feet, like pet kittens.
The next day each of her arms were tied to a bull and the soldiers began burning the bulls with red-hot irons trying to make them angry so they would eat her. But the bulls remained calm and did not move.
Finally she was thrown into a valley with poisonous snakes but a fire began and destroyed the snakes.
The shocked judge asked Thecla "Who are you, that you are always saved?" She answered "I am a daughter of Christ, Son of the living God. He alone is the Way, the Truth and the Life; He is the one who protects me. To Him be glory and power for ever and ever." The judge immediately set her free.
Then many people began to believe in Jesus including her mother and people in her town. The queen gave her money to care for the poor and the sick and St. Paul encouraged her to continue her mission. She finally died at the age of 80.
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