Blessed Olivia of Palermo (ninth century), holy Virgin and martyr of the Church. While it is commonly believed that Blessed Olivia is a fictitious character, whose story reached prominence in the early Church when it was mistaken as biography, she has been venerated as Blessed since that time. As with many of the early Church saints, lessons may be learned from their virtuous lives—lessons which strengthen our faith today and remind us of the importance of Christian virtue.
Not much is known specifically about the life of Blessed Olivia. Her legend states that she was a beautiful young woman of approximately thirteen years old, who had been born and piously raised in Palermo, Sicily. When she reached her thirteenth year, invading Muslims from Tunisia, Africa, kidnapped her from her noble home, and took her with them back to Africa. There, she was made to serve as a slave, which she did with cheerfulness, obedience, and diligence.
She was observed to go about her duties—some the most undesirable and menial—with a song in her heart. She was frequently heard singing and writing songs, which is why today she is considered the patroness of music by some.
Blessed Olivia continues to be venerated today, especially in Carthage and Palermo (where she is one of four patrons, alongside Saint Agatha, Saint Christina, and Saint Nympha). She continues to be held in great esteem in Tunisia, where the great mosque is named for her. Tunisian Muslims, to this day, assert that any who speaks ill of Blessed Olivia is always punished by the Lord.
Holy Virgin of the Lord, Olivia, pray that after we are gone from this life that the memory of our purity remains. Amen.
Year 2: Day 161 of 365
Prayer Intentions: For the ability to live virtuously.
Requested Intentions: Restoration of health (D); Successful employment for couple (N); For employment for children (K); For health of friend, for successful relationships for children, for safe pregnancy for daughter (C); For the health of a mother (J); Virtue for daughter (V); Successful acceptance to college for nephew (M); For the health of a cousin (T); Freedom from legal difficulties for husband (S); Husband’s freedom from illness (L); Personal intentions (S); Successful passing of dental board examination (P); Blessings on a family (Z); Successful permanent employment (C); Healing of a son with autism (J); Son’s successful employment (L); For the intentions of family and relatives, for the Carthusian community (T); For personal intentions (A); Restoration of lost hearing (C); Resolution of relational and financial challenges (S); Comfort following loss of husband, security for family, assistance with housing (B); Healing and return of brother (O); Successful hermitage foundation (S); Support from family, permission to marry (H); Recovery of wife following surgery, freedom from depression (W); Protection and recovery of mentally ill daughter (J); Successful resolution to legal proceedings (N); Freedom from worry and successful employment (M); For successful sale of home and freedom from debt (J); Freedom from pain and illness (E).
Why pray the Rosary every day for a year?
Each time the Blessed Virgin has appeared-- whether it be to Saint Bernadette Soubirous at Lourdes; to Lucia, Jacinta, and Francisco at Fatima; or to Mariette Beco at Banneux-- she has asserted the importance, saving grace, and power of praying the Holy Rosary on a daily basis. Based upon her words, the Rosary is penance and conversion for sinners, a pathway to peace, an end to war, and a powerful act of faith in Jesus Christ. Pope Paul VI presented the Rosary as a powerful means to reach Christ "not merely with Mary but indeed, insofar as this is possible to us, in the same way as Mary, who is certainly the one who thought about Him more than anyone else has ever done."
To show us how this is done, perhaps no one has been more eloquent than the great Cardinal Newman, who wrote: "The great power of the Rosary consists in the fact that it translates the Creed into Prayer. Of course, the Creed is already in a certain sense a prayer and a great act of homage towards God, but the Rosary brings us to meditate again on the great truth of His life and death, and brings this truth close to our hearts. Even Christians, although they know God, usually fear rather than love Him. The strength of the Rosary lies in the particular manner in which it considers these mysteries, since all our thinking about Christ is intertwined with the thought of His Mother, in the relations between Mother and Son; the Holy Family is presented to us, the home in which God lived His infinite love."
As Mary said at Fatima, "Jesus wants to use you to make Me known and loved. He wishes to establish the devotion to My Immaculate Heart throughout the world. I promise salvation to whoever embraces it; these souls will be dear to God, like flowers put by Me to adorn his throne."