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Solange
Virgin and Martyr
Born 9th century, near Bourges, France
Died c. 880
Venerated in Roman Catholic Church
Feast 10 May
Attributes shepherdess in prayer
Patronage Berry, France, Bourges, France, for rain, rape victims, shepherds

Solange[1] (died 10 May, c. 880[2]) was a Frankish shepherdess and a locally-venerated Christian saint, whose cult is restricted to Sainte Solange, Cher. Saint Solange was the patron of the traditional Province of Berry, of which Cher is a part.

Solange was born to a poor but devout family in the town of Villemont, near Bourges, and consecrated her virginity at the age of seven; according to some, her mere presence cured the sick and exorcised devils. The son of the count of Poitiers[3] was highly taken with the beauty and popularity of Solange and approached her when she was working on tending to her sheep, but she rejected his suit. He argued with her to no avail, and so he decided to abduct her.

At night, he came and took Solange by force, but she struggled so violently that she fell from his horse while he was crossing a stream. Her abductor grew enraged and beheaded her with his sword; Solange's severed head invoked three times the Holy Name of Jesus, according to the fully developed legend. Like Saint Denis and other saints in Gaulish territories, Solange picked up her head in her own hands and walked with it as far as the church of Saint-Martin in the village of Saint-Martin-du-Crot (which now bears the name of Sainte Solange, Cher, the only commune in France to bear this name), only dropping truly dead there.

Veneration

Church of St. Solange. Sainte-Solange, Cher, France.

A cultus surrounding her grew up nearly immediately. Many miraculous cures were attributed to her intercession. In 1281, an altar was erected in her honor at that church, and it preserved her severed head as a relic and began to call itself the church of St. Solange, while a nearby field where she had prayed began to be referred to as the "Field of St. Solange." It was a habit of the locals, in times of great stress, to form a procession through Bourges with the reliquary head before them and to invoke her against drought.

Solange's feast day in the Roman Catholic Church is May 10.

Notes

  1. ^ A French version of Solemnia, according to J.-M. Barbé, Tous les prénoms
  2. ^ The tenth of May is the day she is venerated; the year is an approximation.
  3. ^ A name for him, Bernard de la Gothie, or Bernard of Gothia, refers to a Carolingian name for Septimania.

References


Wiktionary

Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary

Contents

French

Etymology

Name of a 9th century French saint, Late Latin Sollemnia, from sollemnis "solemn".

Proper noun

Solange

  1. A female given name.

Related terms

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