NauenThen

Bearded lady

July 20, 2016

Tags: Wilgefortis, beards

Today is the feast day of Saint Wilgefortis, also known as Uncumber, Kummernis, Komina, Comera, Cumerana, Hulfe, Ontcommene, Ontcommer, Oncommer, Dignefortis, Eutropia, Reginfledis, Livrade, Liberata, and so on.

Her legend arose because people no longer recognized a crucified long-haired man as Jesus and thought the pictures were of a martyred woman. The story was that she was a Christian with a pagan father (the king of Portugal, no less). He tried to marry her off to a pagan, and she prayed to be disfigured so no one would marry her. Lo and behold, she woke up with a beard, so her father nailed her up.

The name Wilgefortis could be from the Old German "heilige Vartez" ("holy face") or from the Latin "virgo fortis" ("strong virgin").

She's the patron saint of women with bad husbands.

Also, Bosch painted her (very lightly bearded, if at all) in the Saint Wilgefortis Triptych, which has Saint Anthony on the left, her in the middle, and a monk leading a soldier in the right panel.