Saint Euphrasia was born in Constantinople in 382, the offspring of noble and devout parents who enjoyed the esteem of Emperor Theodosius and his empress. Following her father Antigonus’s premature demise, Euphrasia and her mother, embracing a life dedicated to the divine, settled in Egypt, close to a nunnery housing 130 nuns. This region was notable for its devout communities, with one city alone home to over twenty thousand women consecrated to Christ.

At seven, Euphrasia expressed a wish to join the monastery, a request that filled her mother with joy. In a solemn moment, her mother entrusted her to Christ’s care, leaving her in the abbey’s custody with tears of joy and sorrow.

The years that followed were marked by devout living until her mother’s death, which brought peace to her soul. News of this event prompted Theodosius to summon Euphrasia, hoping to fulfil a promise of marriage to a young senator. However, Euphrasia’s resolve was firm; in a letter, she declared her life devoted to Christ, requesting her wealth be distributed among the poor and her slaves freed, a wish Theodosius honoured.

Euphrasia’s life exemplified humility, meekness, and compassion. She faced temptation with grace, often accepting penitential tasks that showcased her humility. Her most notable act of penance involved moving a large pile of rocks over a month, a task that, according to legend, eventually led to the devil conceding defeat.

Her faith granted her power over demons, healing abilities, and the performance of miracles. Notably, she healed a child of paralysis and muteness with a simple blessing. Euphrasia’s death in 412, at thirty, marked the end of a life filled with acts of piety and miracles, leaving a legacy of devotion and humility.

Photo credit: Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons

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