Sunday, 10 June 2018

# Saints

Saint Olivia of Palermo

Image:
Icon of the thirteenth century with S. Olivia, also S. Elia, S. Venera and S. Rosalia. Diocesan Museum, Palermo

The 10th of June is the feast day of Saint Olivia of Palermo (448 – 10 June 463). She was a virgin martyr and is the patron saint of the Sicilian towns of Palermo; Monte San Giuliano; Termini Imerese; Alcamo; Pettineo; Cefal├╣, and Olesa de Montserrat (Catalonia).

Saint Olivia was born of a noble family living near Palermo on the island of Sicily. She wanted to be consecrated virgin and gave her wealth to the poor. The King of the Vandals invaded Italy and came to Palermo, martyring many Christians. Olivia would visit the Christians who have been imprisoned, encouraging them. Because of her piety, the local authorities sent her to Tunis to face the governor. At Tunis, she converted many to Christianity and was punished by being sent to the wilderness to starve to death or to be devoured by the wild beast. She was found by hunters and brought back to civilisation where she continued to convert many of the pagans. She was sent to the governor and tortured by being dipped in a vat of hot oil. She miraculously did not suffer any harm and was beheaded. There was an ancient Christian basilica dedicated to her in Tunisia that was built on the site of her tomb. A mosque is now at her site but still retains her name and relics. She is especially venerated in Sicily and Tunisia.

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