A Garner of Saints – Saint Ursula

stained glass window of Saint UrsulaArticle

The only daughter of Maurus, King of Scotland (or Britanny). To him the King of England sent ambassadors requesting Ursula in marriage for his son Etherius, offering many promises if she should be yielded and many threats should she be withheld. But King Maurus was troubled, for he feared the wrath of the King of England and also the wrath of God if he should give his daughter to a Gentile or indeed marry her at all, since her virginity was vowed to the Lord. While he was in this dilemma Ursula, having been admonished from above, exhorted her father to consent on condition that Etherius should be baptized and instructed in the faith for three years, and that ten fair virgins should be selected by the King of England and his son to be her companions, and eleven thousand more (namely one thousand for each) should be gathered from all countries, and that eleven ships well furnished with everything should be provided for their use, in which they might sail the seas during the three years and dedicate their virginity to the Lord. This Ursula required that she might consecrate the virgins to Christ and bring her husband and his people to the faith. These terms were accepted by the prince and his father, the ships were built, the virgins collected and presented to Ursula, while King Maurus provided a convoy of many bishops and barons, giving them abundance of provisions. And many came from far and near to see the wondrous sight, among them being Panthulus, Bishop of Basle and Saint Gerosima, Queen of Sicily and Ursula’s aunt, with her son and four daughters. And so the ships departed amid great feasting and rejoicing. For three years Ursula and her companions sailed the seas, untroubled by storms, for they were under the protection and guidance of God, spending the time in singing and mutual intercourse. After Ursula had converted all those virgins to Christianity, they came to a port of Gaul called Ceila, and ascended the Rhine to Cologne. Here an angel appeared in a vision to Ursula predicting that thby should all return to that city and receive martyrdom. Proceeding to Basle they left their ships and continued their journey to Rome on foot. Pope Cyriacus received them joyfully, for he too was from Britain and had many kindred among them, and he baptized such as had not yet been purified. And it was revealed to him in a dream that he should resign the pontificate and return with them to receive martyrdom. Accordingly the clerk erased his name from the list of popes, and there went with them Vincent the cardinal and many others. Now Maximian and Africanus, princes of the Roman army, seeing that everyone was flocking to Christ, sent letters to their kinsman Julian, prince of the Huns, asking him to march against Cologne where the virgins would be. Now the virgins were joined by James, Bishop of Antioch, a native of Britain, the Bishop of Lucca and by Etherius, who had succeeded his father and had come to meet his bride at Rome. These all returned to Cologne and found the city beseiged by the Huns. Then the barbarians rushed upon them and slew all those virgins with the sword, but being struck by the beauty of Ursula, they. spared her and brought her before Julian. When she had refused to marry him or to sacrifice to idols he -ordered her to be slain by an arrow. And a certain virgin named Corbula had hidden herself in a ship that night but on the 1norrow she came and offered herself to death, receiving martyrdom like the others. “Thus they all perished about the year 450. 21st October.


  • An arrow; she wears a crown in sign of her royal dignity; sometimes covering a multitude of virgins with her cloak.

MLA Citation

  • Allen Banks Hinds, M.A. “Saint Ursula”. A Garner of Saints, 1900. CatholicSaints.Info. 26 April 2017. Web. 20 September 2018. <>