When the plague hit the Italian town of Este in 1630, its citizens prayed St. Thecla for help
St. Thecla is one of the most important female martyrs from early Christianity. Born to a noble family in Anatolia, modern day Turkey, she joined Paul the Apostle in his voyages around the Holy Land and became a healer. Like many early Christians, Thecla suffered from persecutions and was killed for her faith. But her dedication to a life of asceticism, chastity and healing inspired Catholics for centuries. Lebanon has an estimated 42 churches dedicated to St. Thecla, while the United States currently counts three parishes named after her, in Michigan, Massachusetts and Illinois. But it was in northern Italy that Thecla left an especially profound mark.