Oil dedicated to Martyr St Alena da Forest on prayer cloth
St Alena da Forest was born in Dilbeek, just outside Brussels, Belgium, in the seventh century. She was baptized without the knowledge of her pagan parents.
Alena secretly attended mass, giving varying excuses to her parents. One night her father told his guards to follow her and, after tracking her for quite some time, they witnessed Alena entering a chapel in Vorst. Her father came to the conclusion that Christians had bewitched her into conversion, and ordered that she be arrested. When her father’s guards attempted to arrest her she resisted. During the struggle, her arm was severed, and she offered her soul up to God. The arm was taken by an angel and placed before the altar in the chapel where she regularly worshiped.
After witnessing these miracles, her parents converted to Christianity. In traditional art she is seen with one arm severed, healing a blind man, or with an angel helping her. When her father discovered that she was worshipping as a Christian, he came to the conclusion that Christians had bewitched her into conversion. He sent guards to bring her home; she resisted, and during the fighting she lost one arm. She subsequently died in prison due to her injuries
The chapel in Forest, Belgium, a municipality of Brussels, holds her relics and is a popular pilgrimage site.
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