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St. Solange of Berry

Dan Graves, MSL

St. Solange of Berry

Dring much of church history, legend and fact intermingle making it hard to ascertain what really happened. The story of St. Solange is one such tale. Apparently she was a beautiful shepherdess who vowed as a child to become the bride of Christ alone. Unfortunately for her, her beauty attracted the notice of Bernard, the son of the Count of Poitiers who pressed her to yield to him. When she refused, he forced her onto his horse, but in twisting to escape, she fell off, injuring herself.

Enaged by her resistance, Bernard slew her on the spot, either by driving a sword through her heart or by lopping off her head. (In one version, she herself picked up her head and carried it to the village named after her). A church was built for her three centuries later and her story was retold in tapestries in the eighteenth century.

A field near Bourges is still known as Le Champ de St. Solange. This story is worth including because it is representative of the far-fetched legends that took possession of the Medieval church and encrusted upon the memories of saintly--or not so saintly--men and women.

Originally published April 28, 2010.

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