Modern readers know the legend of St. Ursula primarily from The Golden Legend of James of Voragine, but several versions exist. St. Ursula was a British (or Cornish) princess betrothed to a pagan prince. She asked her father, a Christian, to grant her three years before her wedding. Having attained that, she set sail with her ten companions, each of whom had 1,000 attendants, on a ship that was blown eventually to Cologne. From there, they took a pilgrimage to Rome. On their return to Germany, they were martyred. James of Voragine says they were killed when Ursula refused to marry the chief of the Huns. Other sources say the virgins died during the persecution of Maximian or of Diocletian.
The Ursulines take their name from St. Ursula, whose name was dropped from the Roman Catholic mass in the XVIII Century. In the XX Century, Rome has stopped universal observation of her feast but allows local observations.
Karen Rae Keck
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