Saint of the Day – 14 March – Blessed Eva of Liège (c 1205-1265) Virgin, Recluse, “Apostle of the Blessed Sacrament” and assistant to St Juliana of Cornillon in the establishment of the Feast of Corpus Christi. Born in c1305 in Liège, Belgium and died on 26 May 1265 in her home City of natural causes. Also known as – Eve of Saint-Martin, Eve of Mount Cornelius, Eva, Evelyne, Heva. Additional Memorial – 5 April with St Juliana 26 May, the date of her death, a date in June (On the Feast of Corpus Christi – which is celebrated 60 days after Easter). Also known as – Heva, Eve of Saint-Martin, Eve of Mount Cornelius, Evelyne, Bleassed Eva was Beatified on 1 May 1902 by Pope Leo XIII.
Eva was born into a wealthy family in Liège, but seeking a life of holiness and communion with God, relinquished any claim on the wealth of her birth and became a Recluse at the Church of St Martin in Liège.
When St Juliana of Cornillon (c 1192-1258) was Prioress of Mount Cornillon, one of her closest friends was the holy Recluse, Eva, of Liege, whom she inspired with her own enthusiastic purpose to obtain the institution of a Feast in honor of the Blessed Sacrament.
It was in Eva’s cell near the Church of St Martin that Juliana found refuge when she was driven for the first time from Cornillon and it was Eva, who took up her mission after St Juliana died.
The accession of Pope Urban IV raised her hopes, for he had formerly shown himself sympathetic when, as Archdeacon James Pantaleon, he had been approached on the subject by St Juliana. Eva’s hopes were fulfilled. Not only did he institute the festival of Corpus Christi but, he sent to her, the Bull of Authorisation, as well as, a special Office for the day by St Thomas Aquinas had compiled at his desire.
Eva died in 1265 and was buried in the Church of Saint Martin in Liège. In 1542, her Relics were enshrined. Her Relics are currently enshrined in the Belgian Cities of Ghent, Antwerp and Liège.
In the Bull of its institution, entitled Transiturus de hoc mundo, (11 Aug. 1264), Pope Urban even referred discreetly to Juliana’s mystical experiences, corroborating their authenticity. He wrote: “Although the Eucharist is celebrated solemnly everyday, we deem it fitting, that at least once a year. it be celebrated with greater honour and a solemn commemoration.
Indeed we grasp the other things we commemorate with our spirit and our mind but this does not mean, that we obtain their real presence. On the contrary, in this sacramental commemoration of Christ, even though in a different form, Jesus Christ is present with us in His own substance. While He was about to ascend into Heaven, He said ‘And lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age’ (Matthew 28:20).”
Saint Juliana of Cornillon (c 1192-1258) Nun, Mystic “Apostle of the Blessed Sacrament.”