St. Thecla was from Iconium, was 18 years old and engaged to be married when she heard an itinerant preacher named Paul in a house near her window. She was so moved, she left everything, became a Christian, and vowed to always remain a virgin. Her mother, when unable to change her mind, beat her, starved her, and then handed her over to the judges asking that she be burned. St. Thecla passed through the flames, but was unhurt. She then went with St. Paul to Antioch, where she was fed to wild beasts but was unharmed, and so the amazed governor let her go.
She then preached the Gospel openly, bringing many to the Faith, lived for years in solitude near Seleucia, and was known for healing all sorts of ailments. Jealous doctors sent young ruffians to deflower her, thinking that her healing power came from her virginity. She ran from them, but when they drew closer, she prayed to God, Who opened a rock to receive her. She entered the cleft and then the rock closed upon her, with just the corner of her garment left out to mark where this virgin was brought purely before Him. She is considered the first female martyr.