Saint Felix of Nola:
3rd Century Spiderman
Catholic saints can take on amazing skills in their pursuit of holiness. One such example is Saint Felix of Nola. After his father died, Felix gave most of his inheritance to the poor and was ordained as a priest by Saint Maximus, bishop of Nola.
During this time, Christians were being persecuted, tortured, and killed by the Romans. Bishop Maximus successfully fled to find safety in the mountains. Felix, on the other hand, was caught, chained, and beaten for his faith.
In the meantime, the older Maximus who was hiding in a cave, fell ill. One night an angel appeared to Felix in his prison cell. According to legend, his chains fell off, the prison doors mysteriously opened, and the angel directed him to go attend to the ailing Maximus. Felix was able to provide comfort to his bishop, who was so sick and cold that he was unable to speak.
Saint Felix and the Spider
The two men set about, trying to hide and prevent capture. An amazing thing happened when the Roman soldiers were about to discover their hiding place. Felix and Maximus hid themselves in an abandoned building. As they took their place in a hole in the wall, a spider came and quickly wove a dense web. When the soldiers saw the thick web, they assumed no one was there and went away. Escaping from the authorities, they managed to hide until the persecution of Christians ended, after the death of Decius in 251.
Although he was offered the position of bishop, Saint Felix continued to live as a simple priest. The persecution had left him with no earthly goods so he obtained a small plot of land. With this property, he fed many poor souls and gave anything he could to the needy. Felix died on January 14, the date on which he is now commemorated.
God and the Amazing
With God, nothing is impossible. Although Felix came from humble beginnings, his firm faith and desire to help others gave him an amazing life. His miraculous escapes, with the help of an angel and a spider, give witness to the power of faith in our living God.
“But Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” Matthew 19:26