Escrava Anastacia: The Legend of the Enslaved Saint With Blue Eyes and Healing Powers

3 Posted by - October 13, 2018 - BLACK WOMEN, SLAVERY

was a popular saint honored in Brazil. She was an enslaved woman of African descent, and known for possessing great beauty; it is told that her eyes were piercing blue. was a well-respected  and influential figure in Catholic devotion throughout Brazil. She is also considered one of the most important women in history within the culture of Rio de Janeiro. No one knows the official history of Anastacia and the stories of her life vary. Some historians place her birth in Africa to a royal family and others emphasize her Brazilian roots. Anastacia’s mother was taken by force by her white owner for his physical pleasure, and Escrava Anastacia was born the first Black female slave with blue eyes. The owner sent her far away, and never to disclose his discretion to his wife.

As Anastacia grew older the versions of her life depict her as an enslaved woman who was treated horribly by her slave owner. She was said to have possessed tremendous healing powers and performed many miracles. She was punished by her owners and forced to wear a muzzle facemask with a heavy collar to keep her from talking. The tales as to why she was punished so harshly vary; some claim she aided in the escape of other slaves, others say she resisted the advances of her Master, and others say that her Mistress and other women around her were jealous of her beauty. Anastacia was condemned to wear the iron mask for the rest of her life, only removing it once a day to eat. She lived for some years before the metal from the mask became poisonous, and she died of tetanus.

Some people say she forgave her Master and Mistress on her death bed and healed their ailing son. Seen as a symbol of racial harmony, her popularity expanded rapidly, especially among nurses, black women and prisoners. There have been  radio and television dramatizations on her life and investigative reports were produced; however there are still some people question and dispute her existence.




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  • […] with most folklore, the story of Anastacia depends on who you talk to. Black Then tells of a beautiful slave woman with piercing blue eyes whose owner sent her away to hide from his […]

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