Wednesday, June 11, 2003

Yesterday

. . . .was kept in honor of St. Olivia, another martyr of the Mohammedans. According to Englebert she is especially honoured at Carthage and at Palermo. Even among the Mohammedans she is held in veneration; the great mosque of Tunis is called the Mosque of Olivia; who speaks ill of the saint, say the Tunisian Moslems, is always punished by God.

Unfortunately, what is known of her seems legendary. It is said that she was a ravishing beauty and was perhaps thirteen when the Saracens seized her at Palermo and carried her off to Tunis. At first she was left in peace there, but when she began to work miracles and to effect conversions, she was abandoned in a forest alone with the wild beasts. Some hunters found her and she succeeded in converting them. The exasperated Moslems then arrested her, and, after having tortured her in every way, they cut her head off. At that moment, Olivia’s soul was seen flying to heaven in the form a of a white dove.