Blessed Mafalda of Portugal 

Blessed Mafalda of Portugal

(Matilda), Queen, OSB, Cistercian: Body Found Incorrupt When Exhumed in 1617.
c 1195 – 1257.
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Mafalda, daughter of King Sancho of Portugal and Dulce of Aragon, Sister of Saint Theresa of Portugal and Saint Sancha of Portugal.
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Portugal was involved in a war to reclaim the Iberian peninsula from the Moors, and to seal an alliance with the neighboring kingdom of Castile, a marriage was arranged between Mafalda and King Henry I of Castile. They were married in 1215, however because Henry was only 10 years old, the marriage was never consummated. Pope Innocent III annulled the marriage in 1216 because of consanguinity.
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At once she returned to Portugal, entered the convent of Arouca and, in 1222, professed the Benedictine Rule. At her suggestion, the convent joined the Cistercians. She did not simply enter the monastery as the only alternative, but because she desired to give herself totally to God. She slept on the bare ground or spent the night in prayer. Her fortune was used to restore the beautiful cathedral of Oporto, found a hospice for pilgrims and a hospital for twelve widows, and build a bridge over the Talmeda River.
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Returning from a pilgrimage to the shrine of Our Lady of Silva, she fell ill at Rio Tinto (Gondomar) and died in the monastery there on May 2, 1256. Mafalda died in sackcloth and ashes. When her body was exhumed in 1617, it was found to be flexible and incorrupt (Attwater 2, Benedictines, Coulson, Farmer). Cultus approved in 1793.
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Eternal Father, I wish to honor Blessed Mafalda of Portugal, and I give Thee thanks for all the graces Thou hast bestowed upon her. I ask Thee to please increase grace in my soul through the merits of this saint, and I commit the end of my life to her by this special prayer, so that by virtue of Thy goodness and promise, Blessed Mafalda of Portugal might be my advocate and provide whatever is needed at that hour. Amen.

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