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Monday, 5 January 2015

Saints Who Were Converts

..from Islam are rare. I found a few and want to share there stories with you.

Three were brother and sisters, SS. Bernard, Mary and Zayda.

Bernard was called Achmed. He was born in Spain and after his conversion, he entered the Cistercian monastery at Poblet, at Tarragona.

Bernard, his sister Zayda and sister Zoraida, who also converted, were children of the Moslem Caliph Almazor of Lerida in Catalonia. Bernard also had another brother, Almanzor, who he tried to convert.

Zoraida became a Catholic changing her name to Mary on converting. The saints traced their lineage back to Mohammed, all the way back to Ishmael, Abraham and Hagar's son. The brother Almanzor betrayed the two and had them beheaded for converting. The other sister, Gracia Zayda, who was the princess of Seville, became a saint as well.

The two martyrs died in 1180. and the current royal family in Spain claim them as descendants, as well as another family descendant, Saint Ferdnando, who died in 1252. Some say St. Fernando, patron of engineers, was a descendant of Joseph of Arimathea. He is related to a slew of other saints: SS. Ethelbert, Arnulf, Itta, Sigebert, Dagobert, Beggue, Liuthwin, another Beggue, Sexburga, Pepin (Blessed), Cloduf, Matilda, Elgiva, Edgar, Henry II, Cunegunda, Stephen and Margaret. St. Fernando is also supposed to be related to Mohammed, which would make St. Joseph Arimathea related to Mohammed.

As to the saints who converted, I think we can pray to them today.

They are patrons of Alcira, Valencia, Spain, present day Alzira.

More saint stories later....