Cistercian nun; b. Coimbra, c. 1180; d. Cellas, March 13, 1229. Sancia, daughter of King Sancho I (1185–1211) of Portugal, after refusing several marriage proposals, dedicated herself entirely to works of piety. She sponsored the first Franciscan and Dominican settlements in Portugal and in 1216 founded Sta. Maria de Cellas, a convent for Cistercian nuns. She herself entered there in 1223. After six years spent in the practice of heroic asceticism she died among her nuns, but her body was taken for burial to the convent of Lorvão, where her sister, St. Theresa, lived as a nun. The immemorial cult of both sisters in Portugal was approved by Pope Clement XI in 1705.
Feast: March 17 (formerly March 13).
Bibliography: Acta Sanctorum June 4:385–435. m. gloning, "Zwei selige Cistercienserinnen aus königlichem Hause," Cistercienser-Chronik 19 (1907). s. lenssen, Hagiologium cisterciense 1:143–144.
[l. j. lekai]