The Basics: Born in the late third century in Portugal; died about 303 in Spain; canonized pre-congregation; feast day, April 16. Martyr.
The Story: The 700-mile journey must have started with joy, and perhaps a little apprehension. After all, Engracia was leaving her home in Braga, Portugal, to marry a Spanish nobleman. The match was significant enough that her entourage consisted of eighteen companions, an uncle. The group had made it nearly two-thirds of the way there when in Zaragoza, Spain, they encountered anti-Christian authorities. The group refused to renounce their faith and according to a nearly contemporaneous account, Engracia in particular defended Christ. The others were killed; Engracia was tortured but survived. The poet who told of the ordeal less than 100 years later called Engracia’s house “the shrine of a living martyr.” A church was built on the site where the group was persecuted; it was destroyed in the Spanish civil war, but since has been rebuilt.
What We Can Learn from Engracia: We may be called to testify for Christ in situations that initially appear to be far from dangerous. That’s not to say we can’t enjoy ourselves, but we must always keep him in the forefront.
To Learn More About Engracia: Visit the site for the basilica in Zaragoza that is named for her.
To Learn More About Other Women Saints and Blesseds: Come back next week, or consider buying my book, Sisterhood of Saints: Daily Guidance and Inspiration.