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(? - ?) Portugal

Santa Liberata

Saint - Feast day: July 20th


Santa LiberataShe was the twelve year old daughter of a pagan Visigoth king in Portugal. Promised as wife to the pagan king of Sicily, to avoid marriage she prayed until she grow a beard; his father, furious with her, crucified the girl, so that she is now represented as a bearded woman nailed on a cross. She is the patron saint of women who want to free ("uncumber") themselves from their husbands.

Connected with this legend is the story of a destitute fiddler to whom, when he played before her image (or before her crucified body), she gave one of her golden boots. Being condemned to death for the theft of the boot, he was granted his request to play before her a second time, and, in presence of all, she kicked off her other boot, thus establishing his innocence.

She is usually represented nailed to a cross: as a girl of ten or twelve years, frequently with a beard, or as throwing her golden boot to a musician playing before her, sometimes also with one foot bare.


St. Uncumber is also known as St. Wilgefortis [virgo fortis], Liverade [freed] (France), Liberata (Italy), Liberada (Spain), Dèbarras (Beauvais), Ohnkummer (Germany), and Ontcommere (Flanders), and Kummernis. She was never an official saint of the Catholic Church, and her legend does not appear to trace further back than the fifteenth century.


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