This calendar of saints is drawn from several denominations, sects, and traditions. Although it will no longer be updated daily, the index on the right will guide visitors to a saint celebrated on any day they choose. Additional saints will be added as they present themselves to Major.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

October 20 -- Feast of Saint Irene of Portugal

A beautiful young girl became the object of a sterling young nobleman's love, but she's got this Christian thing going on.  This is a pretty standard saint's story, and there are three standard ways it turns out. 

St. Irene per zerochan,net
1.  They marry, have a noble, pious family, and eventually live in adjoining monastic communities. 

2.  She tells him she's committed to God; he grudgingly accepts it and drops out of the story while she becomes a pious nun.   

3.  She tells him she's committed to God; in his jealously he kills her, either on the spot or with slow torture, depending on whether the tale is medieval or classical. 

This story is a variation of the second and third versions, which makes it a little more interesting.  Gotta switch it up sometimes. 

Irene told the handsome youth named Britald that she had pledged her virginity.  At the time, he was sick abed with love for her, and she visited his bedside and carefully explained her faith.  Her kindness helped him recover, and of course he accepted her decision.  So far, so good. 

Hagiography has not passed down the name of the mendacious monk who was appointed to instruct Irene in the life religious.  Besotted by her in spite of his vows and his mission, he sought to seduce her.  She resisted resolutely, and in response, the monk spread the rumor that she was pregnant.

Re-enter Britald whose vanity and honor could accept God as a rival, but not some scoundrel who would knock her up and abandon her.  I'd like to say that Britald sought out Irene, asked her to name the father so that her honor could be avenged, and then learned the truth.  In my version, he'd drag the monk before his abbot, or perhaps all the way to the cardinal, giving him a good thumping along the way.

Sadly, Britald fell into a fury and killed Irene on sight.  Guys, no more of that, okay?  George Wither had it right: "For if she be not for me, what care I for whom she be?"  

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