We celebrate today the memory of a group of seven monks of North Africa who were martyred during the Christian persecutions of the late 5th Century. They had each chosen to live monastic life under the inspiration of Saint Augustine's early communities and chose, as well, to meet death together rather than deny their faith. They are the Liberatus, Boniface and Companions
In 484, some 34 years after the death of Saint Augustine, the Vandal king, Hunneric, issued a decree ordering the closure of all Christian monasteries and the consignment of all monks and nuns to the Moors. The seven members of the monastery of Gafsa, Tunisia, founded under Augustinian inspiration, were taken prisoners. They were the Abbot Liberatus, Deacon Boniface, Subdeacons Servus and Rusticus and the lay monks Rogatus, Septimus and Maximus. They were taken to Carthage where efforts were made, in vain, to have them renounce the faith. The youngest, Maximus who was only 15 years old was particularly pressured to abandon his confreres and his Christian way of life, but refused, preferring to accept the same fate as the rest. They were then ordered to be burned alive. When it proved impossible to set the wood of their funeral pyre afire, they were clubbed to death.
Constant in their Christian resolve and fidelity to one another, these seven monks offered wonderful witness to the faith as well as to their fraternal communion. Our Order was granted the right to celebrate their liturgical memorial on June 6, 1671.