January 14, 2019

Marcella of Rome

January 14, 2019


Ephesians 6:10-17
This weekend’s reading: Revelation 2:8-11

I pray that you will be inspired, challenged and given hope by the stories and words of faithful Christians I share throughout the week.  These Christians were ordinary humans just like you and me, loved and cherished by Christ and confronted by every day real challenges to living faithful lives.
What does it look like “to be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his power?”  To put on the “armor of God”?  Hear this story of Marcella of Rome (325-410):
Marcella had an enviable life as the daughter of a prominent Roman family who married a wealthy man.  But less than a year after her wedding, her husband died.  She was given a chance to continue living in wealth when she was proposed to by the wealthy consul Cerealis.  She chose instead to convert her mansion into one of the earliest communities of women, where she and other noblewomen used their riches to help the poor.  Marcella said she preferred to “store her money in the stomachs of the needy than hide it in a purse.”  In 410, when the Goths invaded Rome, they broke into Marcella’s home.  When they demanded money, she calmly responded that she had no riches because she had given all to the poor.  Though she was an elderly woman, they beat and tortured her mercilessly.  Her attackers were eventually shamed by her piety and she was released, but she died within a short time.
Marcella of Rome wrote, “By heaven’s grace, captivity has found me a poor woman, not made me one.  Now I shall go in want of daily bread, but I shall not feel hunger since I am full of Christ.”


  • How does Marcella of Rome’s story challenge you?
  • How does Marcella of Rome’s story inspire you?


Lord, may we feel the depth of passion, faith, and commitment that Marcella of Rome felt for you.  May we feel the same fullness in Christ that she felt and may we be challenged to so selflessly serve you. 
(In part from “Common Prayer: A Liturgy for Ordinary Radicals”)