Saint Devota

saint-devotaSaint Devota (French: Sainte Dévote; died ca. 303 AD) was a Corsican woman born around 283 AD at Mariana. A young virgin, she had decided to devote herself fully to the service of God. Devota was part the household of senator Eutychius.

During the Diocletian persecution began on 303 AD, the prefect Barbarus arrived in Corsica with a fleet and when he learned that the senator was harboring a Christian in his house, demanded that she be given up and compelled to perform the requisite sacrifice to the imperial cult. Eutychius refused, and not wishing to confront him directly, Barbarus arranged to have him poisoned. Devota too was imprisoned and tortured for her faith. Her mouth was crushed, and her body was dragged through rocks and brambles. She was martyred at Mariana by being racked or stoned to death.

After her death, the governor of the province ordered for her body to be burnt to prevent its veneration. However, at night, two Christian men stole the body of the saint. Her body was placed on a boat bound for Africa. Gratianus (Graziano), the boat’s pilot; Benedict (Benenato), a priest; and Apollinaris, his deacon; believed it would receive proper Christian burial there.

They boarded on a ship directed to Africa. But they were caught in a violent storm. Due to the strong winds, the two men couldn’t follow the route. According to legend, a white dove appeared and showed Graziano and Benenato the route to follow.

Following the dove, the boat arrived in Les Gaumates. At the point where the boat landed, an unusual and beautiful rose garden was found. In the same place, a chapel that still exists today was built.

In her honor a chapel was built, which stands in Monaco still. Traditionally, flowers are said to bloom before their season on January 27, the saint’s feast day.