Saint Wilgefortis

Yes, it's virgin martyr week here on the blog. I like to keep the content eclectic.

While in the Loreto in Prague, Brenden and I came across a third unusual sight.

After spending time in the church, where we encountered St. Apollonia and St. Agatha, Brenden and I investigated all the little chapels off the Loreto cloister. In one of these chapels we found Jesus upon a cross.

But Jesus was wearing a dress.

Obviously, that confused us. But a bit a research revealed our mistake. We weren't looking at Jesus upon a cross, we were looking at a woman upon a cross. St. Wilgefortis.

So, why did we initially think St. Wilgefortis was Jesus? Because St. Wilgefortis has a beard.

Her story goes like this, per the Wikipedia entry:
According to the narrative of the legend, sometimes set in Portugal and Gailcia, a teen-aged noblewoman named Wilgefortis had been promised in marriage by her father to a Muslim king. To thwart the unwanted wedding, she had taken a vow of virginity, and prayed that she would be made repulsive. In answer to her prayers she sprouted a beard, which ended the engagement. In anger, Wilgefortis's father had her crucified. 
So what Brenden and I saw wasn't Jesus in a dress, but a bearded woman.

It was another virgin martyr in the Loreto, St. Wilgefortis. St. Wilgefortis has been venerated by those seeking relief from tribulations, in particular by women who wished to be liberated from abusive husbands.

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