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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Write in the HISTORICAL genre (05/03/07)

TITLE: The Unnamed Nanny
By Julie Arduini


The Roman catacombs are the Christians’ creation. The men designed the passages and galleries for Christian escape. I entered the catacombs in such a way I can not be detected. I lost track of the stairways and passages. With a grief-stricken pause, I reflected on the praises and losses.

My sweet Emerentiana, the mere thought of a pebble touching her ruddy cheeks much less a martyr’s stoning sent me to heaves I was forced to keep silent. Silence kept me alive, my body anyway. My soul died twice with the murder of my girls. Emerentiana refused silence. She would not let what happened to her dear friend Agnes go without protest. I escaped to the city of the dead to bid goodbye to two girls not even fourteen. My sob echoed throughout the catacombs.

Agnes was as her name suggests: pure and lamb. The love for her Lord was so strong I shuddered when I heard Agnes reject her suitor. I was preparing her clothing for evening when I heard her steady voice proclaim,

“I am already the spouse of a Lover much more noble and powerful than you.”

It was her death knell. Her suitor’s heart truly beat for the emperor and his edict. The government’s results always sadistic. Pure Agnes was first thrown into a brothel. The Romans knew they could not execute a virgin. They were sure her own virginal sacrifice would kill her. Her reply?

“Do you believe that now I could bow my head before simple rocks, mute and lifeless?”

Her tormentors, high on evil intent, became blind. She was bold enough to pray for their restored sight. Not only was her prayer granted, she remained a virgin. Our Lord is so good.

The Romans would not stop there. Her family wealth meant nothing. The whole city saw the next spectacle. The government ordered Agnes to be burned at the stake naked in the middle of the city. Emerentiana and I clung hard to each other, unable to watch from afar. All that burned was the pride of Rome. Agnes remained as alive as her faith.

The sword finally ushered her to the Suitor she desired all along. The streets filled with people up in arms. Killing an adult for denying idols, so many let that atrocity pass. But a child? Kill a child for proclaiming Christ? I comforted my own Emerentiana with this encouragement. I couldn’t fathom how much her death would stir a frenzy to insist on change. My regret is the change did not come in time to save my on flesh and blood.

A child as well, Emerentiana went to the tomb to grieve a couple days after Agnes was killed. Perhaps it was Agnes’ rejected suitor who lurked in the shadows to report his findings. Before long a crowd was before my baby. For the Glory of Christ, Emerentiana stood to boldly share the Gospel and admonish the soldiers. Like Stephen, rocks were the dispenser of hate. Except for my sweet Jesus, I was left alone.

I relied on the anger of the citizens to make change in this place. Passion will help me continue to make a difference in the Kingdom. My job was to teach Agnes the way of the Lord. I never thought she’d be tested so soon. I didn’t believe friendship that strong would bind Emerentiana to the same fate. Alone, my job clear, I’m a nanny. I won’t stop sharing the Gospel with the children. I believe in turn they will stand strong and become history for the sake of Christ. You won’t find my name in the history books; and I don’t care.

Idea and quotes from Voice of the Martyrs newsletter, May 2007
Additional information found online at www.newadvent.org/cathen/01214a.htm

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This article has been read 1057 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Edy T Johnson 05/10/07
This is a powerful story, well-written from beginning to end, gripping this reader's heart.
Sara Harricharan 05/10/07
This is GOOD! Very suspenseful and the descriptions of the two girls (Very creative name :Emerentiana!) This is powerful and well written. I noticed a few typos like can not = cannot, etc. But otherwise, I think this is excellent. ^_^
Jan Ackerson 05/14/07

I'm not entirely familiar with customs of this time period; would they really have "suitors" back then? That seems like a much more modern development, but I could easily be wrong.

The bravery written here is very inspiring. Good job.
Terry R A Eissfeldt 05/14/07
Loved it and was taken back in time once more. This subject is very close to my heart as well. Thank you for so eloquently telling their story yet again. I pray the martyr's witness will never lose its impact.
Joanne Sher 05/15/07
Just wonderful - you had me int he heart of your MC - I was aching right along with her. I love the last line of this especially.
Mariane Holbrook 05/15/07
This was so well done and such a good read. I hope you place with it!
Betty Castleberry05/15/07
Very gripping story with good solid writing. I would like to know more about this. Well done.
Rita Garcia05/15/07
Really enjoyed reading this! Creative and well done!
T. F. Chezum05/16/07
Very well written, powerful story. Great job.
Donna Powers 05/16/07
A gripping and well-written testimony. A wonderful story; I was right there through the whole thing. Thanks for sharing it
Rebecca Jones05/19/07
Oh, my goodness! How compelling! May we be as brave as those children if/when we must defend our faith! Good job!
Jacquelyn Horne05/26/07
This is very good. I do wish the nanny had been revealed early on. It would have made it better reading for me. I assumed that a husband was talking,which is okay at times, but this is not "surprise" material. It is too deep. Very well done.
Cheri Hardaway 07/21/07
Wow! Powerful! I would have liked to have understood it was the nanny speaking earlier as well, but the story is just awesome either way. Blessings, Cheri