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Obscure Saint of the Day: Saint Cunera November 2, 2015

Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, Basics, Domestic Church, family, fun, General Catholic, Glory, Grace, history, Saints, sanctity, Tradition, Virtue.

Possibly a new semi-regular post topic: obscure Saints?  We’ll see!

So every year at the Carmel kids from the local FSSP parish get to have a really nice treat on All Saints Day – they get to play “stump the nuns” with the good Carmelites of the Infant Jesus of Prague.  The nuns sit in their parlor behind their heavy duty grill, and the kids go in dressed in as various Saints and give the nuns a few clues as to their identities. Now these nuns pray all day and study quite a bit as well, so they generally guess the Saints very well.  But our kids have taken a bit of pride – possibly a bit perverse – in successfully stumping the nuns.  They do so even though they give quite a few good clues.

There are many, many forgotten Saints. And it is those our kids research to stump the nuns. Secular Saints seem to be particularly obscure, even to these very well formed ladies.  Also, those who are not as well known in the English-speaking milieu (think German/Central European).  So it was that three of my 6 kids managed to stump the nuns.  The one that had them most flabbergasted and unable to guess was Saint Cunera, an Irish woman from antiquity, who was martyred along with what is reputed to be thousands of other virgins with the much more well known St. Ursula.  The most detailed story on her life on the web is here, I excerpt just a bit of this copyrighted post below:

When the celebrated St. Ursula was about to sail from Britain on a pilgrimage to Rome with her eleven thousand virgins, St. Cunera—who is said to have been her kinswoman—joined this company.

The object St. Ursula had in view was to visit the shrines of St. Peter and of St. Paul, with those of other holy persons there resting. She had a00b925afbdf925ee236336b8788ca29previously sent messengers to the Orkney city of Jorc, entreating permission that her parents might allow their daughter Cunera to leave with her.

This permission she obtained, and accordingly Cunera accompanied her to Rome. Having accomplished their pious wishes there, all were on their way home to Britain, and they sailed down the Rhine to Cologne. When the illustrious pilgrims were on their return, the whole party was massacred by the Huns, with the exception of St. Cunera.

The exact time when this martyrdom took place, and its special circumstances, have been greatly contested by historians. Some have thought it referable to the Emperor Maximin, who lived in the third century; others again state, it was in the time of the tyrant Maximus, who flourished about A.D. 385; while most writers treating about this occurrence assign it to the middle of the century succeeding, and in the time of Attila.

In the year 1156, many tombs, with inscriptions, were discovered at Cologne, which were thought to have been those of St. Ursula and her companions. Among these are said to have been found the names of many bishops and of other holy persons, supposed to have been her companions. At the time of that massacre Radbod, King of Frisia, and a great foe to Pepin of Heristal, is assumed to have been at Cologne.

This account, however, is altogether inconsistent with historic indications. Radbod was so struck by the beauty of Cunera, that he saved her from the massacre, and hid her under his mantle, as the Legend states. Thence he carried her off to Rhenen, his capital on the Rhine, and which was in the diocese of Utrecht. This city was formerly on the left bank of the old Rhine, the bed of which is now nearly dried up; but it is on the right bank of the later course of the Rhine, which in those parts is called Lecka.

The city was so called, probably because it was situated between the two Rhines. A probable conjecture has been offered, however, that St. Cunera had been a daughter to one of those chiefs who had been baptized in Frisia, by St. Willibrord; that she had deserved the reverence of a king with whom she lived; and that she had been put to death, owing to the jealousy of his wife.

Afterwards, when miraculous indications had revealed her sanctity, a church was built over her place of sepulture. In reference to her the popular traditions becoming obscure, she is thought to have been regarded as one of St. Ursula’s contemporaries and companions. However, we have only to pursue the narrative regarding her, as we find it in the Legend.

St Ursula companion


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