december 11. eulalia of merida, patron of snow days and torture victims
Patron saint of snow days / inclement weather, runaways, torture victims, widows
Lived 290 to 304
"Noble of stock, and nobler still in the quality of her death, the holy maid Eulalia honors with her bones and tends with her love her own Emerita, the town that gave her birth." - Prudentius, Spanish-Roman Poet
As a twelve-to-fourteen-year-old girl, Eulalia was determined to defy a decree to worship non-Christian gods. Her frightened mother sequestered her in the countryside, but Eulalia slipped off in the night and tried to remonstrate with Judge Dacian of Merida. She professed herself a Christian, insulted the pagan gods, and dared the authorities to martyr her. The judge and his soldiers tried to level with her and/or flatter her, but as one chronicler says, Eulalia "tramped on the offering cake."
Here are three variations on her death scene:
LORCA, LORCA, LORCA
Prudentius is not the only dark poet who got down with Eulalia. If you're partial to torture porn about ill-fated little girls (insert sad face here), you'll love this three-part poem by Federico Garcia Lorca (who, admittedly, I know nothing about). I attribute his poem to this Eulalia (see Double Eulalias below) because he titles a section "Panorama of Merida." However, it was that other Eulalia, the one from Barcelona, whose torture included breast dismemberment.
Behold this tragic chunk from his poem's mid-section:
Naked, Flora goes / up the little stairs of water, / For the breasts of Eulalia / the Consul demands a platter. / A jet of green veins / bursts from her throat. / Her sex trembles, disarrayed / like a bird in a thicket. / On the ground, unruly, / her severed hands writhe, / still crossed in a feeble / decapitated prayer. / And through the red holes / where once were her breasts, / tiny skies are now seen / and rivulets of white milk. / A thousand little trees of blood / cover all her back, / and oppose their moist trunks / to the scalpel of the fire. /
There is some dispute over whether or not she is the same saint as Eulalia of Barcelona, who lived from 290 to 303 and withstood a similar bloodbath. Stay tuned for this other Eulalia, who I'll profile on February 12.
There are three entries for eulalia in the urban dictionary. #1. "the really beautiful exotic looking young woman with a personality like angel." #2. "woodland creature battle cry." #3. "A pretty girl I once new. But not in a biblical sense (worse luck!)"
I prefer #2!