Posted in MARTYRS, SAINT of the DAY

Saint of the Day – 9 December – Saint Leocadia of Toledo (Died c 304) Virgin Martyr

Saint of the Day – 9 December – Saint Leocadia of Toledo (Died c 304) Virgin Martyr – Patronage – Toledo and its Archdiocese.

St Leocadia was a native of Toledo and was apprehended by an order of Dacian, the cruel governor under Diocletian in 304. Hearing of the Martyrdom of St Eulalia, she prayed that God would not prolong her exile but unite her speedily with her beloved Lord in His glory. By order of the governor, Decianus, described in the martyrology as the most furious persecutor of the Christians in Spain, she was seized and cruelly tortured in order to make her apostatise but she remained steadfast. She sent back to prison, where she died from the effects of the torture. Thus her prayer was answered and she went happily to meet her beloved Lord.

Buriel of St Leocadia

A Cathedral was built over her grave and later three famous churches in Toledo also bear her name. She is honoured as the principal Patroness of that city. In the Cathedral of Saint Leocadia most of the councils of Toledo were held.

This painting resides in the Chapel of St Leocadia in the Toledo Cathedral

She was buried in the local cemetery, near the Tagus, where soon a cult sprung up around her grave. It is thought that the Cathedral was built in the fourth century and later improved upon in 618 by St Sisebut. The seventh century saw a flourishing of her cult.

During the reign of Alfonso X of Castile, the prison where she is said to have been incarcerated still carried proof of her habitation. A contemporary witness records: “There still existed and we touched it, a sign of the cross impressed in the stone because the martyr constantly touched the walls with her fingers that sign of our redemption.”

The Exterior of the Holy Chamber of St Leocadia

During the ninth century, her relics were moved during the persecutions of the Moors. They were moved to Oviedo where St Alfonso the Chaste erected a Basilica there in her honour. In the eleventh century, a Count of Hainault arrived in Spain as a pilgrim to Compostela. He fought alongside Alfonso VI of Castile in campaigns of the Reconquista and received, in recompense, the relics of Saint Leocadia and Saint Sulpicius. Thus, her relics were taken out of Spain.

Jose’ Bernardo de la Meana, St. Leocadia, ca. 1753-62 in Oviedo Cathedral

Her relics were known to have been located at the Benedictine Abbey of Saint-Ghislain, in present-day Belgium and were venerated there by Philip the Handsome and Joanna of Castile, who recovered for Toledo a tibia of the saint. The Abbey of Saint-Ghislain suffered depredations in the wars of the 16th century. Fernando Álvarez de Toledo, 3rd Duke of Alba attempted unsuccessfully to rescue the rest of her relics. However, a Jesuit named Miguel Hernández, a native of Toledo Province, found her relics in 1583. After many travels, he brought them to Rome in 1586. They were brought to Valencia by sea and then finally brought to Toledo from Cuenca. Philip II of Spain presided over a solemn ceremony commemorating the final translation of her relics to Toledo, in April 1587.

The small town of Leocadia, near Samaraes, between Braga and Guimarães in Northern Portugal, is named after her.

The Crypt of St Leocadia in Oviedo Cathedral

Author:

Passionate Catholic. Being Catholic is a way of life - a love affair both with God and Father, our Lord Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit, our most Blessed and Beloved Virgin Mother Mary and the Church. "Religion must be like the air we breathe..."- St John Bosco With the Saints, we "serve the Lord with one consent and serve the Lord with one pure language, not indeed to draw them forth from their secure dwelling-places, not superstitiously to honour them, or wilfully to rely on the, ... but silently to contemplate them for edification, thereby encouraging our faith, enlivening our patience..." Blessed John Henry Newman Prayer is what the world needs combined with the example of our lives which testify to the Light of Christ. This site will mainly concentrate on Daily Prayers, Novenas and the Memorials and Feast Days of our friends in Heaven, the Saints who went before us and the great blessings the Church provides in our Catholic Monthly Devotions. "For the saints are sent to us by God as so many sermons. We do not use them, it is they who move us and lead us, to where we had not expected to go.” Charles Cardinal Journet (1891-1975) This site adheres to the Catholic Church and all her teachings but rejects the Second Vatican Council as heretical and, therefore, all that followed it.

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