SAINTS OF MY HEART
Saint Pharaildis (Pharailde) of Ghent, Belgium
& Bruay-sur-l’Escaut, France (+740)
Saint Pharaildis or Pharailde (Dutch: Veerle) is an 8th-century Belgian saint and patron saint of Ghent. Her dates are imprecise, but she lived to a great age and died on January 5 at ninety.
Pharaildis was married against her will at a young age with a nobleman, even after having made a private vow of virginity. Her husband insisted that she was married to him, and her sexual fidelity was owed to him, not God. She was therefore physically abused for her refusal to submit to him, and for her late night visits to churches. When widowed, she was still a virgin, and dedicated herself to charity.
According to the Vita Gudilae Pharaildis was the sister of Saint Gudula, Saint Reineldis, and Saint Emebert.
Several miracles are attributed to the saint. Saint Pharaildis caused a well to spring up whose waters cured sick children, turned some bread hidden by a miserly woman into stone, and there are accounts of a “goose miracle,” in which Pharaildis resuscitated a cooked bird working only from its skin and bones.
Saint Pharaildis carries a goose as her insignia.
Her feast day is January 5.
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