Spirituality for Today – May 2009 – Volume 13, Issue 10

Saint of the Month

St. Julia of Corsica

An painting of Julia of CorsicaSt. Julia of Corsica

St. Julia's life and martyrdom are described in the medieval "Passion". This work has many features of a legend that proves there is little historical data about St. Julia. She was born in the 6th or 7th century to an aristocratic family in Carthage. This ancient city, founded by the Phoenicians, competed with Rome for domination in the western part of the Mediterranean. However, being more exposed to barbarian attacks, the city was collapsing. When the Vandals invaded, Julia was taken as a slave. She was bought by a pagan merchant named Eusebius and taken to Syria. She was beautiful so he wanted to make her his mistress. Julia did not agree, and withstood his compliments and then later, his threats.

Her resistance, diligence and intelligence earned Eusebius's respect. He used her talents at home and also took her along on his trips. During one journey the ship crashed but Julia and her master made it to Corsica.

They were supposed to sacrifice to the gods for their salvation, but Julia refused to join the ceremony. Eusebius respected her decision but the local governor, Felix, demanded she participate in the ceremony. When she refused, he had her tortured. She was beaten and her hair was torn from her head. She did not renounce her faith, however, so she was nailed to a cross and thrown into the sea. The cross with her body drifted to the island of Gorgona where a Benedictine abbey was located. And there her adoration began, later to spread over the northwestern part of the Italian Peninsula. According to historians, Julia was probably martyred in Carthage around 250, and her relics were moved to Corsica. But the crucifixion is common to both histories.

owing to Your death on the cross
and Your resurrection,
the faithful have a hop for eternal life
that lets them boldly counter life hardships.
Let the example of St. Julia be a motivation for us
to stay by You for ever.
You live and reign for ages and ages.

From Ordinary People, Extraordinary Lives