St. Zdislava

Jan 01

Patron Saint of Difficult marriages and People Ridiculed for their Piety

Zdislava was born to a Bohemian noble family. Her mother, born in Sicily, was very devout. Taking after her mother, Zdislava grew to be a precociously pious child, giving money away to charity at a young age. When she was seven years old, she ran away from her home into the forest to pursue a life of prayer, penance, and a solitary life as a hermit. Found shortly thereafter by her family, she was forced back to a life at court, where she continued to practice what austerities she could.

As was the common practice of that time, when she was 15, her family gave her away in marriage, despite her strong objections. Her spouse was a wealthy nobleman, Havel of Markvartice, who owned Lembeck Castle (pictured below), a fortified castle in a frontier area that was occasionally attacked by Mongol invaders. Zdislava and Havel had four children.

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