Masterpiece Monday: St. Flavia

Sometime shortly before Christmas, I was watching an old flick on Turner Classic Movies station called "Tenth Avenue Angel." It stars the child actress Margaret O'Brian as Flavia Mills. Here's the movie synopsis: "A child of the tenements helps an ex-con find a new life." It's a sweet movie. As I was watching it I was thinking, "Flavia, Flavia....Where have I heard that name?" 

Later that day it came to me. Flavia is the name of the company that makes the coffee machine my husband was getting for Christmas! I'd ordered it online just a day or two prior to watching that old movie. 

So right away I had to do a Google search to see if there was actually a St. Flavia. Yep, there is! And I had it in mind to name a veil for her. Or in this case, I renamed a veil for her. I finally got around to it just this month. To see the Flavia veil, just check out the blog entry that's directly below this one. 

In his High Renaissance painting (above), Perugino depicts St. Flavia (the younger) wearing a crown, because she was the niece of the Emperor Domitian. She was later banished by her uncle to the island of Pontia along with other Christians whom St. Jerome describes as experiencing a "slow martyrdom" there alone on the island. St. Flavia is wearing the red robes of a martyr here, as she was later burnt to death under the Emperor Trajan for not sacrificing food to idols. As in so many of Perugino's works, the saint's hands are held in prayer, and the head is tilted back as she gazes up towards the heavens. She appears to be listening and receiving instruction more than petitioning. Perhaps Our Lord was preparing her for the trials that lay ahead. St. Flavia was buried in the catacomb on the Via Delle Sette Chiese which was originally the vault of Saint Flavius Clemens and his family.

I dearly love the virgin martyr saints. St. Anges, St. Cecilia, St. Lucy, St Joan and so many more.... Does our modern world desire strong women? We do well to look to the past for role models. These girls were determined and virtuous little mights. Would that there more girls like that today!

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