Saint Quiteria: the Warrior Princess Who Would Not Give Up
“Come on, Liberata! Hurry, Marina, try and keep up,” Quiteria whispered, as she and her eight sisters trudged up the muddy, steep slope of the mountain. It was nightfall, and the dark, squishy mud resembled the black sky around them. Suddenly, a long howl pierced the muggy air.
“They are coming closer,” Quiteria gasped, and picking up the ends of her dress, tried to run faster. “May the Lord who is merciful preserve us…we shall never give up.”
Little is known of the life of Saint Quiteria, and what is known is largely legend and myth that has been passed for ages. Newman Connection writes on the most widely accepted legend of Quitera’s birth, saying:
She was the first daughter to emerge from the womb of her mother who gave birth to eight other daughters in her first pregnancy—nonuplet daughters. The mother was the wife of [a] pagan and elite Roman governor who looked contemptuously upon whom she bore—comparing the nine baby girls to a litter, she concluded others would compare her to a base animal or lowly peasant. Too proud for such a comparison, she ordered the maid to take all the babies and drown them. This bizarre birth was to be kept secret from her husband (Saint Quiteria).
Luckily for the nine babies however, the maid hid the girls away and they were raised in the Catholic faith far from their parents. After some time the governor discovered the young princesses, and proceeded to force them into rich marriages. The girls refused, as the Roman suitors he presented were all pagan. Furious, and in true fairy-tale style, he locked them in a tower. The Newman Connection writes on what happens next:
The resourceful sisters managed to escape, and in doing so, liberated the prison. They themselves, alongside the other escapees fled to the mountainsfrom whence waged a guerrilla war against the Roman Empire. In the end, the campaign was unsuccessful. St. Quiteria was captured and beheaded as a virgin and martyr (Saint Quiteria).
Indeed, this princess was so tough, one lgend continues after Quiteria was beheaded, saying that her dead body was thrown into the sea. Not to be one to go out without a fight, the legend says she later emerged from the sea holding her head. This persistent princess, guerrilla warrior, and faithful sister, is a little-known saint that deserves recognition. Saint Quiteria, patron of those thinking about giving up, pray for us.
“Saint Quiteria.” Newman Connection. Newman Connection, n.d. Web. 27 Apr. 2016.