Weninger’s Lives of the Saints – Saint Leocadia, Virgin and Martyr

engraving of Saint Leocadia of Toledo, date and artist unknown; Wellcome Museum, London, England; swiped from Wikimedia CommonsArticle

Saint Leocadia was born in the celebrated City of Toledo, of pious and respectable parents. Her conduct from her early youth was in such harmony with the divine laws, that she served all others of her age and station as a model of true piety. When Dacian, the enemy of the Christians, came to Toledo, to exterminate Christianity, Leocadia was the first who was accused to him. To induce her to forsake the true faith, he used the usual means, flatteries, promises and menaces: all, however, without effect. He then sentenced her to be tortured, and the tender virgin was so terribly beaten with clubs and scourges that the blood flowed from her whole body. During this martyrdom, she kept her eyes immovably fixed upon heaven, and praised the Almighty for whose sake she suffered. The tyrant, after this, threw her into a dungeon, the air of which was poisoned, and threatened to proceed still more cruelly with her in a few days. Leocadia was not terrified at this menace; she even consoled those of her friends who wept, pitying her for what she had already suffered, and what she had still to suffer. “Why do you weep,” said she,”you have no reason to pity me. Rather congratulate me, and rejoice that God has found me worthy to suffer for His name.” She prepared herself in the dungeon for new sufferings, and called on God for aid. When, however, she was informed how cruelly the tyrant maltreated the Christians, and that only lately he had most barbarously tormented a well-known and delicate virgin, named Eulalia, her heart grew sad, and she begged the Almighty to take her soul to Him in peace, that she might hear and see nothing more of such cruelties. Making the sign of the holy cross upon a rock, she kissed it devoutly, and calmly expired; in 305, or as others say, in 303. In Toledo there are three churches, built in honor of this holy virgin and martyr, and in one of them lies her holy body.

Practical Considerations

Saint Leocadia would not permit herself to be pitied on account of her martyrdom, but desired to be congratulated because she had been considered worthy to suffer for the sake of Christ. To suffer for Christ is a grace awarded by the Almighty. Hence it is written of the holy Apostles: “And they indeed went from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were accounted worthy to suffer reproach for the name of Jesus.” They regarded such suffering as a grace; but there are few who recognize and believe this truth. Surely there are many who imagine that it is a special grace not to suffer. Because everything goes as they wish it, they think that they stand high in favor with the Lord. But those who live in sin deceive themselves greatly; for, Saint Bernard says rightly: “God condemns those in the other world, whom He does not reform by chastisement here below.” Saint Augustine writes: “It is a sign of God’s wrath if you live in sin and He spares you. Hence, it is no sign of God s love towards you, if you have nothing to suffer in this world; it is much rather an evil sign, if you do not live piously. Christ gives to His dearest friends a taste of the bitter cup of His suffering. The example of the Apostles, of numberless martyrs and confessors serves as a proof of this truth. God scourges, chastises by crosses and trials, each son whom He receives. Do you perhaps wish to be an exception? If you are excepted from the scourging, if you have nothing to suffer, you will also be excepted from the number of the sons, or children of God.” Thus writes Saint Augustine, who founds his words upon Holy Writ where it is said, as I have already remarked elsewhere: “Whom the Lord loveth, he chastens; and he scourges every son whom he receives.” (Hebrews 12)

MLA Citation

  • Father Francis Xavier Weninger, DD, SJ. “Saint Leocadia, Virgin and Martyr”. Lives of the Saints, 1876. CatholicSaints.Info. 2 June 2018. Web. 17 January 2020. <>