Lives of the Saints

Our Models and Protectors

December 9
  

Saint Leocadia of Toledo

Virgin and Martyr
(† 303)

Saint Leocadia of Toledo
Saint Leocadia of Toledo

Saint Leocadia was the fervent daughter of an illustrious Christian family of Toledo, apprehended and martyred in 303 by an order of Dacian, the cruel governor under Diocletian.

When Dacian arrived in Toledo, she was soon denounced. Summoned before his tribunal, she replied to his contemptuous words concerning the true religion that she considered herself infinitely happy to serve God and His Son Jesus Christ, and that nothing whatsoever would be able to make her renounce her religion. She was flogged until covered with blood, then imprisoned with threats. She went to the prison with joy, consoling the Christians along the route who deplored her condition, telling them to rejoice in the grace she received to suffer for her Lord and Spouse. It was in this prison that she heard of the incredibly cruel martyrdom inflicted on her compatriot, Saint Eulalia, and she was so grieved by these cruelties, and by the condition of the true servants of God in those days, that she prayed to be retired from this world. Her prayer was heard, and she expired peacefully there on December 9, 303, kissing a cross which the touch of her hand imprinted on the hard rock of the prison wall.

A church was built over her tomb, in which several archbishops of Toledo chose to be buried. Two other famous churches in Toledo bear her name, one built over the site of the prison, and the other at that of the paternal home. Saint Leocadia is honored as the principal patroness of the city. Her relics were kept in that church with great respect, until during the incursions of the Moors, they were conveyed to Oviedo, and again elsewhere, then they were eventually carried back to Toledo with great pomp, and placed in the great church there on the 26th of April, 1589.

Reflection: If we were not blinded by the world and the enchantment of its follies, and would choose to meditate frequently on the certain prospect of eternity and the uncertainty of the hour of our death, the precepts of Christ would produce in us the same fervent dispositions which they did in the primitive Christians. (Rev. Alban Butler)

Les Petits Bollandistes: Vies des Saints, by Msgr. Paul Guérin (Bloud et Barral: Paris, 1882), Vol. 14; Little Pictorial Lives of the Saints, a compilation based on Butler's Lives of the Saints and other sources, by John Gilmary Shea (Benziger Brothers: New York, 1894).