Posted by: anna | May 5, 2010

St Opportuna

Today the calendar of British saints is blank. I could have looked at some of the Russian and other saints commemorated today in the Russian calendar, e.g. St Theodore the Sykeote, but I thought I would see if I could find a female western saint (pre-schism) for this day, and I did. In fact I found several thanks to Miss Dunbar and the wonders of pdf search: one of the very early matryrs named Basilia, St Blatta, St Lucy of Lyons, St Senorina and St Tarbula. And St. Opportuna, April 22, patron of Paris and Almenèches. From Miss Dunbar, then:

St. Opportuna, abbess of Montreuil, near Almenèches, was never known to be angry, and corrected the faults of her nuns with words instead of blows. Her brother, St. Chrodegand or Godegrand, bishop of Séez, went to Rome and Palestine for seven years, entrusting his diocese and property meanwhile to his kinsman Chrodobert, who enriched himself at the expense of the people and their absent pastor. Opportuna prayed fervently for her brother s return. As soon as he arrived in his native land, Chrodegand hastened to visit Opportuna, and was proceeding from Montreuil to Almenèches, where their aunt ST. LANTILDIS was abbess, when he was murdered halfway between the two monasteries, at the instigation of his rival. Lantildis prayed that she might succeed in burying the saint in her own church ; Opportuna, when she heard of the murder, prayed that the body might remain where it was until she came to take it. The murdered saint proved immovable until Opportuna arrived, when he at once allowed her to carry him with her own hands to her church, and bury him. She survived him one year, and died about A.D. 770.

Her Life, written in the following century by St. Aldhelm, is given by Mabillion, AA.SS. O.S.B. She is praised in the Acts of St. Chrodegand, Sept. 3. AA.SS. Butler. Baillet. Cahier.

Represented (1) appearing to a drowning man whom she saves ; (2) an angel standing beside her, in allusion to a tradition that when she entered the convent for the first time, the other nuns saw her guardian angel walking beside her.


According to the French Wikipedia article, Opportuna is invoked by couples hoping for a baby; it also provides a little weather proverb about her feast: “Pluie à la sainte Opportune, n’y a ni cerises, ni prunes” (‘Rain on St Opportuna’s day, there will be no cherries or plums’).

Holy St Opportuna, pray to God for us.



  1. Having Miss Dunbar online is wonderful, isn't it? I used to make long journeys to the reference room in the central public library when I needed to check something.

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