St. Julia

Saint JuliaSt. Julia was a noble virgin of Carthage, who, when the city was taken by Genseric in 439, was sold for a slave to a pagan merchant of Syria named Eusebius. All the time she was not employed in her master’s business was devoted to prayer and reading books of piety. Her master, who was charmed with her fidelity and other virtues, thought proper to carry her with him on one of his voyages to Gaul.

Having 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 b y the superstitious ceremonies which she openly reviled. Felix, the governor of the island, a pagan, asked who this woman was who dared to insult the gods. Eusebius informed him that she was a Christian, and that all his authority over her was too weak to prevail with her to renounce her religion, but that he found her too diligent and faithful he could not part with her.

The governor offered him four of his best female slaves for her. But the merchant replied, “No, all you are worth will no purchase her; for I would freely lose the most valuable thing I have in the world rather than be deprived of her.” However, while Eusebius was drunk and asleep, took upon him to compel her to sacrifice to his gods. He offered to procure her liberty if she would comply. The Saint answered that she was as free as she desired to be as long as she was allowed to serve Jesus Christ. Felix had her beaten and the hair of her head torn off, and, lastly, ordered her to be hanged on a cross till she expired. Certain monks of the isle of Gorgon carried off her body; but in 763 Desiderius, King of Lombardy, removed her relics to Brescia, where her memory is celebrated in great devotion.

(Adapted from Fr. Butler”s Lives of the Saints)

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