St. Ursula
removed; old feast day October 21

According to legend, St. Ursula was the daughter of Donaut (or Dianotus in HRB), a British king or chieftain; she was to be married to Conan Meriadoc, duke of Brittany. She was devestated, wishing instead to live as a virign for Christ. While sailing for Brittany with either eleven or eleven thousand other maidens1, they were miraculously brought to Gaul in a single day's journey. Ursula and her followers then decided to make a pilgrimage to Rome, where she convinced the pope, several bishops, and even Conan to follow her to Cologne, which was besieged by Huns; Conan agreed on the condition that she would marry him afterwards. She and her maidens were killed, and a church was erected for them; Conan, apparently, survived.

The story was first widely known by the tenth century, and even made its way in Geoffrey of Monmouth's History of the Kings of Britain.

Likely legendary, she was stricken from the official list of saints in 1969; unlike some saints, like St. Christopher or St. Nicholas, she has been entirely stricken from the calendar, due to her legendary status. Associated with her were the equally-legendary Sts. Kennera, Saula, and Martha.

The Ursuline Order, a teaching order of nuns, was named for her.

NOTES 1. It is thought that the mistake for 11,000 was made by seeing "11M" meaning "eleven martyrs", and confusing it with M, the Roman numeral. Possible, though I don't know--where scribes using Arabic numerals by then?


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Mary Jones 2004