Thursday, April 09, 2015

Saint Casilda: The Muslim Princess who converted to Christianity

The saint of the day for April 9 is St. Casilda of Toledo.

Saint Casilda, the daughter of a Muslim king, was born in Toledo, Spain in the 11th century. Raised Muslim, she embraced her faith, but showed much kindness to Christian prisoners. Against her father's wishes, Casilda often visited the prisoners, smuggling in food for them in the folds of her dress. On one occasion, she was stopped by prison guards, who demanded she disclose what she was hiding in her clothing. When she opened the folds of her skirt, the bread she carried miraculously turned into roses. Thus, St. Casilda is frequently depicted in religious art as carrying a basket or a bunch of roses.

As a young woman, she became ill, most likely from a hemorrhagic fever, common at the time, for which there was no cure. She refused the help of Muslim physicians, but instead, journeyed to northern Spain to the shrine of San Vicenzo de Briviesca, which was renowned for its healing waters and miraculous cures. There, she was cured of her illness. Consequently, she was baptized into Christianity and lived the rest of her life as an anchoress in prayer, penance, and solitude. She lived to be one hundred years old, passing on to eternal life in 1050. St. Casilda is the patron saint of Toledo.

There have been conflicts between Muslims and Christians throughout history, often resulting in bloody conflict. Through her silent, simple life Casilda served God, loving Him and her neighbor.

Dear St. Casilda, compassionate convert and model of faith, hope, and love, pray for us!

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