Saint Rosalia is one of a smaller group of saints who were not also martyrs. Born in the early 12th century of royal lineage, Rosalia was known as one of the most beautiful women in Palermo. One day a visiting nobleman asked the king for her hand in marriage and the next day Rosalia appeared in the royal court as a new woman. She had cut off of all of her hair and announced that she was going to become a nun.
Rosalia stayed in the convent for a few months but found that even there her family and suitors distracted her. She moved to a remote cave in a mountain, where she spent the rest of her life in prayer, devoted to God. She died at the age of 30 of natural causes and her bones remained in the cave for three centuries. Continue reading Saint Rosalia
In 828 CE, the Muslim ruler of Alexandria, Egypt supposedly planned to destroy all the Christian relics in the city. Two monks from Venice who happened to be in Alexandria at the time decided that they had to save the most important Christian relic in the city. The body of Saint Mark, author of the earliest New Testament Gospel, was kept in the Church of Saint Mark. The monks convinced the local priests that the only way to save Saint Mark’s holy relics was by stealing them away to Venice.
The monks hid the relics buried under a layer of pork and cabbage. The Muslim officials could not touch the pork, and so the relics were carried out of Alexandria to Venice, where they reside today in San Marco (Och 2011). Today, Saint Mark’s holy remains and his church in the center of Venice are defining features of the city. The legend of the monks hiding the relics in pork is a story told with pride and as a factual piece of the city’s history (“The Annunciation” 2012). Continue reading Saint Mark