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October 22

Sts Nunilo and Alodia (in the Monastery of San Salvador of Leyre, Spain) - October 22

Saints Nunilo and Alodia

Laywomen, Martyrs

(Unknown – 851)

“With Christ, there is life, and without Him, there is death. To remain at His side and live with Him is a true joy. To be separated from Him is eternal damnation! We consecrate to Him the integrity of our bodies and have firmly resolved never to abandon Him.”.

Saints Nunilo and Alodia

Their Lives

The birth dates of Nunilo and her younger sister, Alodia, are not know. They were both born to a Muslim father and a Christian mother. Both were brought up Christian by their mother, but secretly, to avoid being accused of “apostasy”.  Their father died when they were young.  Their mother remarried another Muslim man. Their new step father persecuted them.

They were orphaned as adolescents, losing both their father and mother, and were left in the care of one of their father’s relatives, who was a staunch adherent to Islam.  However, even in that hostile environment, the sisters persevered in the Faith received at Baptism.

Handed Over

Afraid of being denounced for keeping two young Christians in his house, and coveting the reward promised to anyone who denounced the followers of Jesus, their stepfather handed them over to Jalaf ibn Rasid, governor of Alquézar. He tried to persuade them, with flattery and threats, to abandon the Church, but all his proposals were vehemently rejected by the sisters, who declared to him that they were ready to live or die for Christ.

Admiring their perseverance and moved by their youth, Jalaf ordered them to return home without doing them any harm.

Sisters Summoned

Disgusted with this unexpected outcome, the villainous relative appealed to the authority of Zimael, governor of Huesca. The girls were arrested during the persecutions conducted by Abdur-Rahman II, the Emir of Córdoba.

Once again the girls were summoned for questioning. If they abjured the Faith, they would receive gold, silver, dresses and jewels, as well as rich and noble spouses; if they did not, they would be sentenced to death. But nothing moved the heroic sisters, who responded:

“Do not endeavour to separate two virgins from the worship of God! […] Life is with Christ, and without Him is death. To remain at His side and live with Him is true joy; to separate oneself from Him is eternal perdition! We consecrate to Him the integrity of our bodies and we have the firm resolution never to abandon Him. We despise all the earthly advantages you offer us. […] We will receive with joy the death with which you threaten us, for we know that it will open the gates of Heaven and deliver us into the arms of Christ!”

Separated

When the governor realized that by being together, the two sisters were strengthening one another in their convictions, he had them separated. They were sent to the homes of different families, who treated them very well, while trying to persuade them with promises and threats, saying: “What are you doing? Your sister has already renounced her Faith and wishes to follow our law.”

Met Again with the Governor

Forty days later, Nunilo and Alodia met again before the iniquitous governor. In this final interrogation, the attack was subtler: a proposal to merely feign a renunciation of their Faith. Faced with the resolute refusal of the girls, the sentence of death by decapitation was immediately passed.

Alodia’s Noble Gesture

Being the eldest, it fell to Nunilo to go first.

Uncovering her throat to facilitate the work of the executioner, Nunilo prepared to receive the crown of martyrdom. But as the blow was ill-delivered, she fell to the ground and, as she writhed in the throes of death, her dress become disarranged. Alodia ran to her sister to cover her again. And, as if watching her soul soar heavenward like a dove, she exclaimed full of joy: “Sister, wait a moment! Wait for me!”

Alodia then prepared to receive the fatal blow, but to avoid what had happened to her sister, she first removed the ribbon that held her hair and used it to bind her tunic fast at her ankles.

Their bodies were left where they had fallen in order to become food for animals. But no creature dared to touch the mortal remains of the two sisters, for a divine force watched over them. Seeing this, the infidels dragged their corpses out of the city, where the Christians buried them.

Their relics were revered at the Monastery of San Salvador of Leyre (Spain) in the tenth and eleventh centuries, when a portal (shown in the Saints photo on this page) was fashioned bearing their image, which still survives.

Born :                  Unknown dates in Huesca, Spain

Died:                   851 (Feast Day – Oct 22) in Huesca, Spain

Beatified:           Pre-Congregation

Canonized:        Pre-Congregation

Feast Day:          October 22

Patron Saint:     Child Abuse Victims; Martyrs; People Ridiculed for Piety; Runaways; Unmarried Lay Women

Source:

Reflection 

Saints Nunilo and Alodia became witnesses to the Gospel through their suffering and martyrdom. Their lives exemplify the idea that our actions and choices can serve as a powerful testimony to our faith. They didn’t just talk about their beliefs; they lived them out, even when it meant sacrificing their lives.

What actions can you take today to be a testimony of your faith? You may not become a martyr today like Saints Nunilo and Alodia, but your choices and actions can make a profound impact on the world through your commitment to Christ and your willingness to stand up for what is right.

Prayers

Saints Nunilo and Alodia, You who displayed remarkable courage and unwavering faith in the face of persecution, we turn to you in prayer. Your lives serve as a shining examples of dedication to Christ and the Gospel.

We ask for your intercession and guidance in our own lives. Help us to find the strength to stand firm in our faith, even when faced with challenges and adversity. Like you, may we be willing to bear witness to our beliefs through our actions and choices. Pray for us, that we may live out our faith with the same courage and conviction that you exhibited in your lives.

Saints Nunilo and Alodia, pray for us. Amen.

Saint Links 

Aleteia – Some siblings always get you in trouble, and then there are those who do this …

Bartleby – Rev. Alban Butler Volume X: October. The Lives of the Saints. October 22 SS. Nunilo and Alodia, Virgins and Martyrs, in Spain

Catholic Online – St. Alodia

Father Z’s Blog – 22 October: Sts. Nunilo and Alodia! Virgins and Martyrs

Saint for a Minute – Saint Alodia of Huesca

Video Link

Prayer to Saints Nunilo and Alodia – YouTube (@DivineMercyPrayer)