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May 23
The month of Mary: A Marian Month

Saint of the day:

Saint Julia of Corsica 

Patron Saint of torture victims and pathologies of the hand and the feet

St. Julia of Corsica 

St. Julia of Corsica, also known as St. Julia of Carthage or St. Julia of Nonza, was born to noble, aristocratic parents in Carthage. Overtime, Carthage was subject to many barbaric attacks, weakening the city's defenses.

During an attack by Gaiseric, King of the Vandals, Julia was taken from her family and sold into slavery. She was purchased by a pagan merchant of Syria, named Eusebius.

Even during the most daunting chores, Julia never complained or felt sorry for herself. By being patient and cheerful, Julia was able to find comfort in her place in the world. Julia passionately loved God. When she was not working under her master's commands, Julia devoted her time toward praying and reading books of piety.

Eusebius, charmed by Julia's commitment and devotion, felt it was right to bring her along with him during his journey to Gual, where France now stands. Upon reaching the northern part of an island then called Corisca, he anchored his ship to join a pagan idolatrous festival.

Julia was left on her own some distance away from the festival, because she refused to be defiled by the "superstitious ceremonies" she openly hated.

The governor of the island, Felix, was a narrow-minded pagan who needed to have things his way. He noticed Julia outside of the festival and felt she was "insulting the gods." Eusebius informed Felix that Julia was a Christian and that despite his authority over her, she would not renounce her religion. Eusebius explained he could not bare parting with Julia because she was so diligent and faithful in her work for him.

Felix would not accept this. He offered Eusebius four of his best female slaves in exchange for Julia. Eusebius replied, "No; all you are worth will not purchase her; for I would freely lose the most valuable thing I have in the world rather than be deprived of her."

Not content, Felix prepared a banquet and waited until Eusebius became intoxicated and fell into a deep sleep to make his next move.

Felix found Julia alone and unprotected. He tried to get her to sacrifice to his gods. He told her he would grant her freedom if she would obey. Julia refused to deny Christ.

"My freedom is to serve Christ," she said, "whom I love every day in all the purity of my soul."

Enraged by her response, Felix had Julia struck in the face and her hair torn from her head. Still, during her torture, Julia continued to confess her faith. Finally, he had her hanged on a cross until she died.

Her body was carried off by monks of the isle of Gorgon, but in 763, the King of Lombardy, Desiderius, had her relics moved to Brescia, a city in the northern Italian region of Lombardy where the memory of St. Julia is celebrated with great devotion.

St. Julia is often depicted with the palm of martyrdom and the crucifix. She is the patron saint of Corsica, Livorno, torture victims, and pathologies of the hand and the feet. Her feast day is celebrated on May 23.

This article is about the Carthaginian Christian martyred on Corsica. For other saints named Julia, see Saint Julia (disambiguation).

Saint Julia of Corsica (Italian: Santa Giulia da Corsica; French: Sainte Julie; Corsican: Santa Ghjulia; Latin: Sancta Iulia), also known as Saint Julia of Carthage, and more rarely Saint Julia of Nonza, was a virgin martyr who is venerated as a Christian saint. The date of her death is most probably on or after AD 439. She and Saint Devota are the patron saints of Corsica in the Catholic Church. Saint Julia was declared a patroness of Corsica by the Church on August 5, 1809; Saint Devota, on March 14, 1820. Both were martyred in pre-Christian Corsica under Roman rule. Julia's feast day is May 23 in the Western liturgical calendar and July 16 in the East.

Saint Julia is included in most summary lives of the saints. The details of those lives vary, but a few basic accounts emerge, portraying biographical data and events that are not reconcilable. Various theories accounting for the differences have been proposed. The quintessential icon of Saint Julia derives from the testimony of Victor Vitensis, contemporaneous Bishop of Africa. It is supported by physical evidence: the relics, a small collection of human bone fragments, are where historical events subsequent to the story say they ought to be, at the former Church of Santa Giulia in Brescia, Italy, now part of the city museum.

Saint Julia has been a popular representational theme. No physical description of her has survived. She has more recently been put forward as a "black saint" merely because her native city, according to Vitensis, was Carthage (now Tunis), but that view is unsupported. North Africa under the Romans was multi-racial and still is to a large degree. Most representations, created by Europeans, depict a European.









The church of St Julia, Corsica, France




The Crucifixion of St Julia







Corsican Chicken Thighs with Rosemary and Olives 



  • 5 boneless chicken thighs

  • 2 small cloves garlic, chopped

  • 1/4 c black or green olives

  • 2 tbsp. olive oil

  • Kosher salt and black pepper

  • 5 sprigs fresh rosemary 

  • 2 roasted red peppers, cut to strips

  • 1/2 c. oil-cured sun-dried tomatoes, cut to strips

  • 2 tbsp. the herbed oil from the sun-dried tomatoes jar

  • 1/2 c. chicken broth

  • 1/4 c. dry white wine

  • 1 tbsp. cornstarch dissolved in about 1/4 c. water

  • a handful of fresh basil leaves, cut to strips



1. Heat the olive oil in a heavy Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the chicken thighs. Salt and pepper them. Let them begin to brown just a bit.

2. Add the garlic and let it become golden in the oil and meat juices.

3. Add the chicken broth, tomato oil, tomatoes, red peppers, olives and rosemary sprigs. Flip the chicken thighs. Cover the pot, lower the heat to a simmer and cook for about 45 minutes.  Add a bit of water if the juices cook down too much. 

4. Just before serving, remove the stems from the rosemary sprigs. Add the white wine and the cornstarch mixture. Stir to thicken. Correct the seasonings (more black pepper and a bit of salt, maybe). Add the basil and let it wilt into the sauce.

5. Plate the chicken, scrape the pot bottom and spoon the sauce and vegetables over and around the meat. Garnish with a bit more fresh basil. 

6. Slice some crusty bread and serve alongside the chicken with a crisp green salad and a good glass of chilled white wine.

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