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Feastday: July 20

Also known as Wilgefortis, Liberata, Eutropia, Kümmernis (Germany), Uncumber (England), and Livrade (France).

Wilgeforte was a princess, one of the nine daughters of the King of Portugal. She had vowed to remain chaste, but her pagan father had other plans, and arranged to marry her off to the (also pagan) King of Sicily against her will. She prayed that she might become so ugly that her suitor would cancel their union. She miraculously grew a full beard and moustache (successfully repelling the suitor) and devoted the rest of her life to God. However, the rest of her life was fairly short, since her father was so furious that he had her crucified.

As with so many hagiographies, however, this story is of dubious veracity. It is more than likely derived from devotion to the crucifixion statue at Lucca (the 'Volto Santo'), which was fully dressed and crowned (as was the style at the time). The statue's long dress gave rise to the idea that it depicted a woman, who, on account of the beard, was named 'Vierge-forte' or 'Virgo-fortis'. The statue was also shod with silver, to prevent pilgrims kissing its feet from wearing the wood away. Consequently, another legend surrounding Wilgeforte was that a poor minstrel playing an air before her statue was rewarded by her giving him one of her precious shoes.

The cult of St. Wilgeforte was at its height in the early 15th century, but was suppressed in 1969, and her feastday removed from the calendar.

A statue of St. Wilgefort stands in Westminster Abbey.

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