Other Forms FormsVilgefortis, Vilgifortis, Vilgofortis, Wilfordis, Wilgifortis, Wilgofortis
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Meaning & History
This name is best known for being the name of a late medieval saint, who was discovered to be fictional in the late 16th century but continued to be venerated in some places until 1969, when the Church finally removed her from the liturgical calendar and supressed her cult. Her feast day used to be on July 20th. In addition to her own name, the saint is also known under an epithet in several countries, such as UNCUMBER in England, KÜMMERNIS in Germany and LIVRADE in France.Saint Wilgefortis was a young girl who had taken a vow of chastity. When later her father arranged for her to be married, she prayed to God and asked him to make her so unsightly that her prospective husband would refuse to marry her, thus enabling her to stay true to her vow. God heard her prayer and answered it by giving her a beard and a moustache, which ended up successfully repelling her betrothed. However, this turn of events angered her father so much that he subsequently had his daughter crucified.The etymology of her name is uncertain. It is often said to be derived from Latin virgo fortis meaning "strong maiden", which in turn is derived from the Latin words virgo meaning "maiden, virgin, young woman" (see VIRGO) and fortis meaning "strong" as well as "brave, courageous". However, an equally plausible possibility is that the name is actually a corruption of medieval German hilge vartz (also fratz) meaning "holy (deformed) face". Compare the modern German adjective heilig meaning "holy, sacred" and the noun Fratze meaning "deformed face" as well as "grimace".