Butler’s Lives of the Saints – Saints Nunilo and Alodia, Virgins and Martyrs in Spain

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Among the numberless martyrs who in those days sealed their fidelity to the law of God with their blood, two holy virgins were most illustrious. They were sisters, of noble extraction, and their names were Nunilo and Alodia. Their father was a Mahometan, and their mother a Christian, and after the death of her first husband, she was so unhappy as to take a second husband who was also a Mahometan. Her two daughters, who had been brought up in the Christian faith, had much to suffer in the exercise of their religion from the brutality of this step-father, who was a person of high rank in Castile. They were also solicited by many suitors to marry, but resolving to serve God in the state of holy virginity, they obtained leave to go to the house of a devout Christian aunt, where, enjoying an entire liberty as to their devotions, they strove to render themselves every day more agreeable to their divine Spouse. Their fasts were severe, and almost daily, and their devotions were only interrupted by necessary duties or other good works. The town where they lived, named Barbite, or Vervete, (which seems to be that which is now called Castro Viejo, near Najara in Castile, upon the borders of Navarre), being subject to the Saracens, when the laws of king Abderamene were published against the Christians, they were too remarkable by their birth and the reputation of their zeal and piety not to be soon apprehended by the king’s officers. They appeared before the judge not only undaunted, but with a holy joy painted on their countenances. He employed the most flattering caresses and promises to work them into a compliance, and at length proceeded to threats. When these artifices failed him, he put them into the hands of impious women, hoping these instruments of the devil would be able by their crafty address to insinuate themselves into the hearts of the virgins. But Christ enlightened and protected his spouses, and those wicked women after many trials were obliged to declare to the judge that nothing could conquer their resolution. He therefore condemned them to be beheaded in their prison; which was executed on the 22d of October, 851, or, according to Morales, in 840. Their bodies were buried in the same place: the greatest part of their relics is now kept in the abbey of Saint Saviour of Leger, in Navarre. Their festival is celebrated with an extraordinary concourse of people at Huesca in Aragon, and at Bosca, where a portion of their relics is preserved.

MLA Citation

  • Father Alban Butler. “Saints Nunilo and Alodia, Virgins and Martyrs in Spain”. Lives of the Fathers, Martyrs, and Principal Saints, 1866. Saints.SQPN.com. 30 July 2012. Web. 2 October 2014. <http://saints.sqpn.com/butlers-lives-of-the-saints-nunilo-and-alodia-virgins-and-martyrs-in-spain/>