at prayer

St. Thecla
Saint Thecla.
Feast Day 21 Sept: Bunyola

Very much the stuff of legends, St Thecla heard St Paul preaching and fought off wild beasts, licentious soldiers and lusty suitors to keep her virginity intact and become the most famous female missionary of the early Church. Indeed she was even described as "equal to the Apostles". A local Tecla martyr legend may have inspired her connection with St Paul.

"It is otherwise difficult to account for the very great popularity of the cult of St. Thecla, which spread over East and West, and made her the most famous of virgin martyrs," wrote M. R. James, (1924) the editor of the apocryphal Acts of Paul, when discussing the Paul and Thecla episode in these Acts.

St Thecla is also the patron saint of Tarragona. Her relics were acquired from Armenia in the fourteenth century in exchange for a golden throne, some horses and an indeterminate number of Mallorcan cheeses but ranging from four hundred to four thousand depending on the source.

Whatever their number, ensuring they were edible on arrival at their destination after facing the conditions to be met on such a journey in those days would have been no mean feat!