Today is the feast day of Saint Euphrasia. Ora pro nobis.
Saint Euphrasia was born in 380; she died after 410. She was the daughter of Antigonus, a senator of Constantinople, and a relation of Emperor Theodosius. Her father died shortly after her birth, and her mother, also Euphrasia, devoted her life thenceforth exclusively to the service of God. (2)
In those days there were many monasteries of nuns as well as of holy cenobites; in one single city there were twenty thousand such holy women, consecrated to Jesus Christ. Euphrasia’s mother chose to reside near a monastery of one hundred and thirty nuns, which she often visited, accompanied by Euphrasia. When the little girl, seven years of age, begged that she might be permitted to serve God in this monastery, the pious mother wept for joy.
After her mother’s death she declined an offer of marriage made, by the Emperor Theodosius, on behalf of a senator’s son, transferred to the emperor her entire fortune, to be used for charitable purposes, and took up, with a holy ardour, the rigorous practices of Christian perfection.
Saint Euphrasia was a perfect pattern of humility, meekness, and charity. If she found herself assaulted by any temptation, she immediately sought the advice of the abbess, who often on such occasions assigned to her some humbling and painful penitential labor, which she would execute to perfection. Once she moved a pile of great rocks from one place to another, continuing for thirty days with wonderful simplicity, until the devil, vanquished by her humble obedience, left her in peace. She became powerful over the demons, and delivered many possessed persons. She cured a child who was paralyzed, deaf and dumb, making the sign of the cross over him and saying, May He who created you, heal you! She was favored with other miracles also, both before and after her death, which occurred in the year 412, the thirtieth of her age. (1)
Her feast is celebrated in the Greek Church on 25 July, and in the Latin Church on 13 March. She is mentioned by St. John Damascene, in his third “Oratio de imaginibus”.
Image: A cropped image of Saint Euphrasia, Scanned by uploader from page 164 of Little Pictorial Lives of the Saints, Benzinger Brothers. Circa 1878. (5)
Research by Ed Masters, REGINA Staff