Friday, October 17, 2014

Saint of the Month: Saint Solina of Chartres

If Ste. Soline is the same person as St. Solina of Chartes, then this might very well
be a stained glass representation of our Saint of the Month, in the Church of
St. Pierre, in Chartres.

Saint Solina of Chartres

AKA: Saint Solina of Gascony
Feast Day: October 17.

Really Existed? Have my doubts.
Timeframe: The third century.
Place: France.

Credentials: Recognized by tradition.
Martyrdom: Beheaded.

Patron Saint of: No known patronage.
Symbolism: No known artistic tradition.

Our Saint of the Month for October 2014 is a very minor saint indeed. Which is not to say that she wasn't as virtuous, kind, or exemplary as any other saint. She's just not very well known. She is neither on Facebook nor the Wiki.

The outline of Saint Solina's story is that she fled her native Gascony, or Aquitaine -- southwestern France, anyway -- for the northern city of Chartres. It seems that she had become an enthusiastic Christian, to the disappointment of her parents, variously described as "pagan," "heathen," and "still clinging to the Roman religion." They pressured her to marry a nice heathen boy, but she would have none of it and headed north. Unfortunately, she does not seem to have fallen in with like-minded co-religionists, as we are told that she was martyred in Chartes by beheading.

That's as much as I could learn about Saint Solina in English or Norwegian. Possibly the French have better intel. The only elaboration I have seen of this basic story is from a Dutch website. The machine translation seems to suggest that she actually did find some fellow Christians in Chartres:
There had , in recent years two disciples of Jesus' apostles and Savinianus Potentianus ( † ca 250; party December 31 ) , the gospel preached to them. Because of them a cave which had hitherto devoted to a Druid - goddess mother , renamed the Mary Cave was.
Unfortunately, "Because the Roman government it had nothing to know , they had just put in the time to make a horrific persecution of Christians in rope." The city prefect, we are told, was especially displeased by young Christian women, including his own daughter, and it was him who had St. Solina put to the block.

I suppose that, on this feast day of St. Solina of Chartres, it would be appropriate to be thankful for the relatively limited power of municipal government in our enlighted times.

BUT WAIT!!  After looking for places named for St. Solina on a map of Chartres, and failing, I discovered the commune of Ste. Soline in the west of France.  I figured it must be named after a Ste. Soline, because I'm smart like that.  And here is what the French Wikipedia has to say about Ste. Soline:

Sainte Soline is a virgin and martyr from Poitou [in western France, north of Aquitaine/Gascony]. Canonized by the Catholic Church, it is celebrated on October 17 .

There is no precise or reliable information on the life of Sainte Soline . Some sources are often the late third century, about 290 Others say that his martyrdom took place in the year 801 .

It gave its name to the Poitevin village, Sainte- Soline, and the parish church there. She would come to Chartres in order to perform a pilgrimage to the Virgin Mary and she died a martyr in this city. A stained glass window in the church of the Holy Father is the Chartres.

1 comment:

mrs.5000 said...

Oh, good multilingual sleuthing! It must be the same saint, because the Norwegian site says she is honored in Chartres, Poitiers, and Angoulemes, and Sainte-Seline is right between those last two cities. In the region of Poitou-Charentes, which is right next to Gascony/the province of Aquitaine, but, you know, less famous. I like that she's known not just in her place of martyrdom, but in the place where people persecuted her and/or packed her bag with bread and cheese when she went off on pilgrimage.