The name Beatrix has been borne by a certain number of holy persons, but no one of them has attained to any very eminent renown of sanctity.
I. Saint Beatrix
A Roman virgin and martyr, inscribed in the Roman Martyrologium on 29 July. She is believed to have been the sister of the martyrs Simplicius and Faustinus whom she buried in the Via Portuensi. The legend says that she was then denounced as a Christian by Lucretius to whom she was betrothed, and was strangled by her own servants. Lucretius shortly afterwards died suddenly by the visitation of God.
II. Saint Beatrix d'Este
Died 1262. Custom seems to warrant the giving the title Saint to one of the two holy nuns named Beatrix d'Este. She belonged to the family of the Norman Dukes of Apulia and was herself the daughter of the Marques of Ferrara. She was betrothed to Galeazzo Manfredi of Vicenza, but he died of his wounds, after a battle, just before the wedding day, and his bride refused to return home, but attended by some of her maidens, devoted herself to the service of God, following the Benedictine rule, at San Lazzaro just outside Ferrara. Her cultus was approved by Clement XIV, and Pius VI allowed her festival to be kept on 19 January.
Beatrix seems also to have been accepted as the Latin name of a noble lady of Bohemia, called in Bohemian Bozena, who lived at the end of the twelfth century and became a nun. Her brother was the famous St. Hrosnata, one of the patrons of the Kingdom of Bohemia. From the Bollandist life of Hrosnata (Acta SS., 4 July) it would seem that his sister Beatrix was honoured on 13 November.
IV. Beatrix d'Este
Aunt of the saint of that name, who is generally known as Blessed Beatrix, seems to have died in 1226 or perhaps in 1246. She was born in the castle of d'Este, became a nun in the convent of Santa Margherita at Solarolo, but not finding herself sufficiently secluded from the world, she founded another religious house in a deserted monastery at Gemmola. Her body after death was translated to the church of Santa Sophia at Padua and it was a tradition that when anything important was about to befall the family of Este, she turned in her grave so that the noise was audible throughout the church. An account of her is given in the Acta SS. under 10 May.
V. Blessed Beatrix
A Cistercian nun, first prioress of the convent called Nazareth near Lier in
Brabant; d. 1269. She came of a wealthy family, but wishing to consecrate
herself to God, at the age of seven she went to live with the Béguines. She
afterwards joined the Cistercian nuns at Valle Florida whence she was sent to
commence the new foundation at Nazareth. She practised very severe austerities,
wearing a girdle of thorns and compressing her body with cords. Our Lord is said
to have appeared to her and to have pierced her heart with a fiery dart. After
Nazareth was abandoned in a time of disturbance, the body of Blessed Beatrix is
believed to have been translated by angels to Lier. Her day is 29 July, and a
short life of her is included by Henriquez in his
VI. Blessed Beatrix of Ornacieux
Died about 1306, a Carthusian nun who founded a settlement of the order at
Eymieux in the department of Drome. She was specially devout to the Passion of
Christ and is said to have driven a nail through her left hand to help herself
to realize the sufferings of the Crucifixion. Her cultus was confirmed by Pius
IX in 1869. (See
Anal. jur. pont., 1869, XI, 264.) There are modern lives by
Bellanger and Chapuis and a full account in Lecoulteux,
Ann. Ord. Cath. (V, 5).
Her feast is on 13 February.
VII. Blessed Beatrix da Silva
A Portuguese nun, d. 1 September, 1490. In Portuguese she is known as Blessed
Brites. She was a member of the house of Portalegre and descended from the royal
family of Portugal. She accompanied the Portuguese Princess Isabel to Spain,
when she married John II of Castile. There Beatrix seems to have aroused the
jealousy of her royal mistress and was imprisoned for three days without food.
After a vision of Our Blessed Lady, whom she saw attired in the blue mantle and
white dress of the Conception Order which she was afterwards to found, Beatrix
was allowed to retire to Toledo where she entered the Dominican Order. There she
lived forty years, being specially honoured and frequently visited by Queen
Isabel the Catholic. The latter aided her to found an order in honour of the
Immaculate Conception, which adopted the Franciscan Rule. It was approved by
Innocent VIII in 1480 and with some modifications by Julius II in 1511. Beatrix
died ten days before the solemn inauguration of her new order. She is much
honoured in Spain, and there is a life of her by Bivar. (See also the
pont., III, 549.)
A fuller notice of all the above will be found in DUNBAR, Dictionary of Saintly Women (London, 1904), I, 107-110. Several of them also are noticed with more or less fullness in the Acta SS. on their respective days. Cf. CHEVALIER, Rép. des sources hist., Bio-Bibl. (2d ed., 1905).
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