Some Awesome People

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

St. Casilda

(11th century)

Feastday: April 09

St. Casilda was the daughter of a Muslim leader in Toledo, Spain, in the 10th century. St. Casilda's father was Al-Mamun, the Muslim ruler of the taifa of Toledo from 1043-1075.

Toledo had been the capital of the Christian Visigothic kingdom of the Iberian peninsula until the Muslim invasion and conquest in 711. The Muslim "Moors", who conquered most of the Iberian peninsula in 711 and ruled there to one extent or another until Queen Isabella completed the reconquest in 1492, were comprised of Arabs and Berbers.  Al-Mamum was part of the Banu Dil-Nun family, from the Berber tribe Hawwara.  The Banu Dil-Nun had been in the Iberian peninsula since the conquest.

Casilda was raised as a Muslim, but showed special kindness to Christians imprisoned by her father by taking them food hidden in her clothing. Her father, the king, became aware of strange behavior on the part of his daughter, began to spy on her, and surprised her one day on her way to visit the prisoners.

Sternly, the king demanded to know what she was carrying. "Roses," replied Casilda, as she unfolded her overskirt. It was not that the food actually changed into roses. Rather, by a miracle, the food was made to look to the king like roses. He then gave Casilda free passage and she went on her way with her gifts for the prisoners.

Casilda learned about Christianity during her encounters with the prisoners and was drawn to the Faith but conversion was impossible under the circumstances.

After a time, she fell ill with a blood flow that none of the local doctors could cure. At the suggestion of the Christians, she traveled north to the province of Burgos, a brilliant retinue escorting her.

She sought baptism at Burgos and bathed in the miraculous waters of San Vicente near Briviesca. She prayed fervently and was cured.

In response, she became a Christian and lived a life of solitude and penance not far from the miraculous spring. It’s said that she lived to be 100 years old. Her death likely occurred around the year 1050.

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