Irene of Portugal, St.

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Date and place of birth and death unknown; listed in the Antiphonary of León (10th? century) as virgo in Scallabi Castro. In vitae (all after 1100), notably in Breviaries of Braga and Évora, she is described as a beautiful nun of noble birth in thomar (?). After dissuading a noble from his desire, she had to reject her spiritual director, who, in revenge, gave her a potion that made her appear pregnant. The jealous noble had her murdered. Her body floated down the Nabão and the Zêzere to be miraculously entombed in a pool at Scallabis on the Tagus in 653. The town of Scallabis, it is said, then changed its name to Santarem (Santa Irene, Ira, Eriã). Irene was added to the Roman martyrology in 1586.

Feast: Oct. 20.

Bibliography: h. flÓrez et al., España sagrada, 54 v. (Madrid 17471957) 14:389391. b. de gaiffier, Analecta Bollandiana 57 (1939) 440; 58 (1940) 85; 66 (1948) 307.

[e. p. colbert]