St. Beatriz da Silva Meneses- September 1

Not gonna lie, I first decided to look up this saint because she was listed as “St. Beatrix” on a calendar I found. What I found in her, though, was a patient woman, a good confidant, and a devotion to living in virtue.

In Portuguese, her name is Beatriz de Meneses da Silva, which is just as cool, if not cooler than Beatrix. In English, she’s known as Beatrice of Silva Meneses, which is, meh. But that’s English for ya! (I’ll be using Beatriz).

Beatriz was born in 1424 in Portugal. She was one of eleven children. Her father was the first governor of Campo Maior, Portugal, after its reconquest from Arab rule. Her mother was the Countess of Portalegre. One of her brothers, Amedeus of Portugal, O.F.M., became a saint, also. She was born a noble, although her family was also pious.

Being a noble, Beatriz was raised in the household of Princess Isabel, and then went to with her when Isable married John II of Castile. Beatriz and Isabel were incredibly close friends. However, court life and nobility got the better of both of them sometimes. Queen Isabel, one time, became extremely jealous of Beatriz’s beauty and the attention she received because of it. To get back at her, Isabel had Beatriz imprisoned in a tiny cell. After a while, Beatriz escaped her prison and took refuge in the Dominican Second Order Monastery of nuns in Toledo. Beatriz and Isabel later reconciled, but vanity and jealousy really do a lot of damage.

During her imprisonment, Beatriz had a vision the Blessed Virgin Mary who instructed her to found a new Order in Mary’s honor. But first, Beatriz lived with the nuns of Toledo thirty-seven years, without becoming a member of that Order! Finally, in 1484 Beatriz, with some companions, took possession of a palace in Toledo set apart for them by Queen Isabel (who had given Beatriz her full support) for the new community, named the Monastery of Santa Fe, which was to be dedicated to honoring the Immaculate Conception of Mary.

Eventually, the nuns adopted the Cistercian Rule, bound themselves to the daily recitation of the Office of the Immaculate Conception, and were placed under obedience to the ordinary of the archdiocese. The foundress, Beatriz, determined the religious habit to be white with a white scapular and blue mantle, and a medallion of Mary under her title of the Immaculate Conception.

Only a few years later, on August 16, 1492, Beatriz died in the monastery she founded. Her remains are still venerated in the chapel of that monastery.

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