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St. Juthwara of England

Commemorated on July 1

St. Juthwara was a virgin-martyr from Dorset, England, who lived in the sixth century.

She was a pious girl who was the victim of a jealous stepmother. St. Juthwara prayed and fasted often, and frequently gave alms. Upon the death of her father, she began to suffer from pains in her chest. Its source was ascribed to her sorrow. As a remedy, her stepmother recommended two soft cheeses be applied, but the stepmother told her own son, Bana, that Juthwara was pregnant. Bana felt Juthwara’s undergarments and found them moist, whereupon he immediately struck off her head. A spring of water appeared at the spot. Juthwara then miraculously picked up her head and carried it back to the church. Bana repented of his deed and became a monk, founding a monastery at Gerber (later known as Le Relecq) on a battlefield.

Juthwara’s death took place at Halyngstoka, generally accepted as Halstock in Dorset, where a field is still called by her name, modernized to “Judith.” There is also a church in North Cornwall named for St. Julitta, which originally bore Juthwara’s name.

Her relics were translated to Sherborne Abbey in the early 11th century and her shrine remained a place for pilgrimages.

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