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«« Saint Ursula

Ursula Web

53 x 47, oil on canvas, 2011        $2,000.00

Saint Ursula (”little female bear” in Latin) is a British Christian saint.  Her legend is that she was a Romano-British princess who, at the request of her father King Donaut of Dumonia in south-west England, set sail to join her future husband, the pagan Governor Conan Meriadoc of Amorica (Brittany), along with 11,000 virginal handmaidens.  However, a miraculous storm brought them over the sea in a single day to a Gaulish port, where Ursula declared that before her marriage she would undertake a pan-European pilgrimage.  She headed to Rome, with her virgins in tow, and persuaded the Pope Cyriacuse and Sulpicius, Bishop of Ravenna, to join them.  After setting out for Cologne, which was being besieged by Huns, all the virgins were beheaded in a dreadful massacre.  The Huns’ leader shot Ursula dead, with a crossbow or boiled her in oil, in 383.

The Basilica of St. Ursula in Cologne contains the alleged relics of Ursula and her 11,000 companions.  It contains what has been described as a “veritable tsunami of ribs, shoulder blades, and femurs…arranged in zigzags and swirls and even in the shapes of Latin words.”