The Life of a Saint: Nuno Álvares Pereira

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.

Canonization of Saint Nuno in Saint Peter's Square, Vatican City

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.

Portuguese Saint, Saint Nuno

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!

2 Responses
  1. I was raised Methodist. Reading about saints is very interesting to me.

    How many saints are there? And do Catholics need to know all of them?
    I’m not sure how many there are-TONS, for sure. And no, we don’t know them all. I know some Catholics who know a lot of what the saint is “for,” like “so in so is the Patron Saint for travelers,” for example … but I’m not so good with it.
    nyc/caribbean ragazza’s last blog post..Barcelona Wins…A Major Upset!

  2. Anon

    Being an occasional reader of your other blog, I particularly like that he waited until after he (presumably) financed his daughter’s wedding before giving away his wealth. Lucky girl! Maybe she got to splurge on pyrotechnics or good wine if he already had it in his mind that he wasn’t keeping anything afterward anyway…
    Hey Anon. Thanks for coming over. I thought he was thoughtful for waiting, as well. Good people, those saints. 🙂

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