Thursday, 21 October 2021

saint ursula and companions

Though little reliable contemporary details of her hagiography and that of her eleven-thousand handmaidens and the virginal princess went unnamed for centuries, they are venerated on this day (see previously) and are the namesake of both the Ursuline order (the name Latin for little she-bear) and the Virgin Islands, marking the occasion of their mass-martyrdom in 383 at Kรถln on the banks of the Rhine. The Daughter of legendary King Dionotus of Dumnonia (Devon, Cornwall) was betrothed to pagan governor of the province of Armorica, whom after a miraculous storm transported her and her retinue across the sea in just the space of a day resolved that they should all undertake a pan-European pilgrimage, heading first to Ravenna and Rome and persuading the pope to join them. Their encampment was besieged by the Huns at the frontier city with a basilica dedicated to them on the spot of the massacre. Officially stricken from the calendar of saints in 1969 as fantastical, scholarship suggest that the large number of companions may be due to a misreading of the Latin numerals or a single virgin martyr with the name Unidecimilla, the error transmitted through the ages.