- Columba of Sens
Saint Columba of Sens Born c. 257 Died 273 Honored in Roman Catholicism Feast December 31 Attributes Portrayed as a crowned maiden in chains. At times she may have a dog or bear on a chain, hold a book and a peacock's feather, be with an angel on a funeral pyre, or be beheaded
- See Columba (disambiguation), St Columb and Sainte-Colombe for other uses
Her whole history is somewhat legendary. It is reported that, at the age of 16, she fled Spain for Gaul (modern France) to escape the persecutions of Emperor Aurelian. She was located, and imprisoned. While she was in prison, one of the gaolers tried to rape her. A bear that was being used at a nearby amphitheatre attacked the guard and rescued her. However, she was later martyred at Meaux.
A chapel was built at the grave, followed later by the Abbey of Sens. Other churches in France have borne her name. She is also said to have been patroness of the parish church of Chevilly, in the diocese of Paris.
In art, Saint Columba is portrayed as a crowned maiden in chains. At times she may:
- have a dog or bear on a chain,
- hold a book and a peacock's feather,
- be with an angel on a funeral pyre, or
- be beheaded
Veneration of "Saint Comba" in Galicia dates from the Middle Ages; her cult, according to Allyson M. Poska, was "probably a combination of the cults of two virgin martyrs." These were Columba of Sens and Columba of Spain.
A Galician legend held that before becoming a virtuous virgin martyr, Comba was a witch. This legend relates that one day, the witch Comba, encountering Jesus Christ on a Galician road, changed her life after Christ remarked, “Go ahead and be the witch, but you will not enter my kingdom.” The tale states that Comba converted to Christianity and was martyred for her faith after refusing to deny it, or after refusing the sexual advances of men. She became the patron saint of witches in Galicia, acting both as an intercessor on behalf of witches and as an intercessor against witches.
At Coimbra, according to one 19th century travel guide, there was a small chapel that was said to mark the spot where Comba suffered martyrdom, and that "towards the close of the spring, the young girls of Coimbra deck her shrine with wreaths of roses in remembrance of the rosy crown of martyrdom they believe she won."
- ^ Patron Saints Index: Saint Columba of Sens
- ^ a b c Allyson M. Poska, Women and Authority in Early Modern Spain: The Peasants of Galicia (Oxford University Press, 2005), 224.
- ^ Allyson M. Poska, Women and Authority in Early Modern Spain: The Peasants of Galicia (Oxford University Press, 2005), 224.
- ^ Allyson M. Poska, Women and Authority in Early Modern Spain: The Peasants of Galicia (Oxford University Press, 2005), 224-25.
- ^ A C Smith, A Handbook for Travellers in Portugal (J. Murray, 1875), 101.
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