Years ago, I recall reading a story about people in another country, somewhere in Africa, I believe, that would secretly attend Mass at like 4 am. Not only did they have to sneak around at night to have Mass, many had to walk great distances to attend.
That right there is faith.
I admire people who are so dedicated to their beliefs that they will risk their life for it.
I wanted to bring that bravery, that dedication, that faith to my story.
But, I also wanted characters that people could relate to.
We have it cushy here in the US where we don’t have to worry about being shot or beheaded for practicing our religion, even those with unpopular beliefs have little to fear beyond disapproving harpies.
With this in mind, I began doing research on ages when Catholics were persecuted for their beliefs.
It’s well documented the treatment that many Christians faced during certain times of the Roman Empire. Although, it wasn’t a constant persecution. The degree varied by the Emperor at the time. The people found the catacombs to be an out of the way place to hold meetings in peace. They also came up with symbols that they used to help identify other Christians. The fish symbols is the most well known one.
Elizabethan England was also an interesting time in history, when the government, Protestant at the time, tried to stamp out Catholicism. Priest holes, hiding spots within houses, became popular. A monk became famous for the unique and least discovered hiding spots. One had remained hidden until recently when some kids stumbled across it while playing. Who knows how many more still remain undiscovered.
The stories of secret meetings in the catacombs, the priest holes, the symbols and the dedication of the believers inspired my system of “churches” in Nacerma.
I started by asking questions about where they would meet, how they would identify themselves, how they would go undetected.
It was hard, because I would get caught if I was ever in that situation. I’m just not that good at sneaking around.
Maybe it’s due to growing up when everything I did anywhere was reported back to my mother before I ever got back home.