Saint Januarius was one of the seven sons of the Holy Martyr Felicitas. She boldly confessed before the emperor and civil authorities that she was a Christian. The pagan priests said that she was insulting the gods by spreading Christianity. St Felicitas and her sons Januarius, Felix, Philip, Silvanus, Alexander, Vitalius and Marcial were turned over to the Prefect Publius for torture.
St Felicitas witnessed the suffering of her sons, and prayed to God that they would stand firm and enter the heavenly Kingdom before her. All the sons died as martyrs before the eyes of their mother, who was also tortured herself.
These holy martyrs of Christ suffered at Rome around the year 164. St Gregory Dialogus mentions St Felicitas in his Commentary on the Gospel of St Matthew (Matthew 12:47).