St. Leocadia, Virgin and Martyr
THE NAME of St. Leocadia is highly reverenced in Spain. This holy virgin was a native of Toledo, and was apprehended by an order of Dacian, the cruel governor under Dioclesian, in 304. Her constancy was tried by torments, and she died in prison. For, hearing of the martyrdom of St. Eulalia, she prayed that God would not prolong her exile, but unite herspeedily with her holy friend in his glory; in which prayer she happily expired in prison. Three famous churches in Toledo bear her name, and she is honoured as principal patroness of that city. In one of those churches most of the councils of Toledo were held; in the fourth of these she is honourably mentioned. Her relics were kept in that church with great respect, till, in the incursions of the Moors, they were conveyed to Oviedo, and some years afterwards to the abbey of St. Guislain, near Mons in Haynault. By the procurement of King Philip II. they were translated back to Toledo with great pomp, that king, his son Prince Philip, his daughter Elizabeth, and the empress Mary his sister, being present at their solemn reception in the great church there on the 26th of April, 1589. 1
St. Leocadia, being called to the trial, exerted all heroic Christian virtues, because she had made her whole life an apprenticeship of them, and their practice had been familiar to her. Some people say it was easy for Christians to be totally disengaged from the world, and to give themselves up to prayer and penance when they daily and hourly expected to be called upon to lay down their lives for Christ. But were we not blinded by the world, and if the enchantment of its follies, the near prospect of eternity, the uncertainty of the hour of our death, and the repeated precepts of Christ were equally the subjects of our meditation, these motives would produce in us the same fervent dispositions which they did in the primitive Christians. How much soever men now-a-days are strangers to these gospel truths, for want of giving themselves leisure to consider them, Christians are bound to be totally disentangled from worldly affections in order to unite their hearts closely to God, that they may receive the abundant graces and favours which He communicates to souls which open themselves to him. They are bound to renounce sensuality, and the disorders and vanities of the world, and to be animated with a spirit of meekness, peace, patience, charity, and affectionate good-will towards all men, zeal, piety, and devotion. They are bound to be prepared in the disposition of their hearts to leave all things, and to suffer all things for his love.
Rev. Alban Butler (1711–73). Volume XII: December.
The Lives of the Saints. 1866.