Saint Julia of Corsica, Virgin, Martyr

May 23

Today is the feast day of Saint Julia.  Ora pro nobis.

Julia (also known as Saint Julia of Carthage or Saint Julia of Nonza) was born of noble aristocratic parents in Carthage (South Africa). This ancient city, founded by the Phoenicians, competed with Rome for domination in the western part of the Mediterranean. Given the high-profile nature of the city, it was also subject to numerous barbarian attacks, and the city’s defenses had crumbled. During one attack by the Vandals, Julia was taken from her family, and sold into slavery. Despite her dire circumstances, she did not complain or feel sorry for herself. Rather, Julia accepted everything as a gift of the Lord, and performed the most humble tasks with wonderful cheerfulness. In her spare time, she read holy books and prayed fervently, so ardent was her love of God.

Her master, Eusebius,  who was charmed with her fidelity and other virtues, thought proper to take her with him on one of his voyages to Gaul. When he reached the northern part of Corsica, he cast anchor and went ashore to join the pagans of the place in an idolatrous festival. Julia was left at some distance, because she would not be defiled by the superstitious ceremonies, which she openly spurned. The governor of the island, Felix, a bigoted pagan, asked who this woman was who dared to insult the gods. The merchant informed him that she was a Christian, and that all his authority over her was too weak to prevail upon her to renounce her religion; nonetheless, he found her so diligent and faithful he could not part with her. The governor offered him four of his best slaves in exchange for her. But the merchant replied, No; all you are worth will not purchase her; for I would lose the most valuable thing I have in the world rather than be deprived of her.

So, Felix prepared a banquet, and waited until good Eusebius became intoxicated and fell asleep. Finding Julia alone and undefended, he governor tried to make Julia sacrifice to the gods. He promised to have her set free if she would comply, but she refused.

The pagan, offended by her undaunted and resolute air, in a transport of rage caused her to be struck on the face, and the hair of her head to be torn off. Finally he ordered her to be hanged on a cross until she expired. Certain monks from the isle of Gorgon transported her relics there, but in 763 the king of Lombardy transferred them to Brescia, where her memory is celebrated with great devotion.

Image: Détail d’un vitrail néogothique de la cathédrale de Meaux, daté de 1867: Sainte Julie. (4)

Research by Ed Masters, REGINA Staff


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