Welcome to the 2nd edition of “The Life of a Saint.” This week we’re honoring, Saint Nuno Álvares Pereira, the Portuguese saint who-although his followers had to travel more than 2,000 kilometers-had the loudest, if not the largest, cheering section at the Canonization.
This group was fascinating. They cheered and chanted and sang songs whose words were incomprehensible, but whose love and devotion to their hometown Saint illuminated the square.
Truth be known … I was a little jealous. I wanted to feign Portuguese, hop in the circle and join in with their singing and dancing … but my husband held me back.
So who was this saint they were cheering for? None other than Saint Nuno Álvares Pereira, also called Saint Nuno of Santa Maria, the 14th century general who helped Portugal secure independence from Castile.
Saint Nuno descended from Portuguese nobility and had-get this!-32 siblings. He married at 17 and had one daughter but was later widowed. He is described as a war hero and a knight although he was often referred to as “the Peacemaker.” After his daughter married, he renounced his nobility and gave one-third of his wealth to the poor. He later relinquished all of his money and entered the monestary he had established.
At one point he was so famished, he traded his horse for six loaves of bread, then gave them to hungry English knights who were searching for food. But his blood line and sacrifice weren’t in vain.
According to BlessedNuno.Org,
“His direct descendants included Isabella the Catholic, supporter of Christopher Columbus, Emperor Charles V, who ruled over more territory than any other European monarch (including most of the Americans), and Archduke Ferdinand, whose death triggered the World War which was tearing Europe apart at the time of Our Lady’s Fatima apparitions.
Also descended from Blessed Nuno were the members of the Royal House of Braganca, monarchs of Portugal and Brazil, including England’s Queen Catherine, for whom the Borough of Queens, New York was named.”
November 6 was established as the Saint Day to celebrate Saint Nuno, although many people still recognize his life on the anniversary of his death which is April 1.
Did you miss last week’s “The Life of a Saint?” If so, click here to read about Saint Geltrude “Caterina” Comensoli or click here to read about Calabria’s own, Saint Gaetano Catanoso.
Happy Love Thursday!