Saint Ulphia

Those who know me, know I have an interest in female saints (and, of course, Egyptian female goddesses). As I sit here on vacation, I have had time to reflect on them once again. Here is the first in a series of brief vignettes of my favourites.

St. Ulphia was a noble maiden in Amiens in northern France, who desired to consecrate herself to God as a virgin. Although she was beautiful and had many suitors, her mind was made up. At the age of 25, her parents allowed her to take a vow of perpetual chastity and she received the veil from the Bishop of Amiens.

Desiring solitude, she left Amiens for a secluded place. Here she lived in a simple little hut, and helped an aged hermit who also lived there, St. Domitius. He in turn used to pass her hut on the way to the first church service of the new day, matins, and knock on the door to wake her. She would then rise and follow him to church.

One night, Ulphia had a great deal of trouble sleeping. The cause? The area where she lived was quite marshy and was inhabited by many frogs. It was the noise of these frogs that kept her awake. After what seemed like an eternity, she managed to fall asleep. The next morning, Domitius, as usual, knocked on her door. Receiving no answer, and assuming the young woman had left before him, he continued on to church. When he arrived at the church, he discovered his mistake, and after matins, he hurried back to her hut, afraid of what might have happened to Ulphia. But there she stood, in her doorway, and actually chastised Domitius for failing to wake her up that morning. After the old man had explained himself, Ulphia surmised that the fault lay with the frogs and promptly fell to the ground, begging God himself to quiet them. Domitius added his prayer for the same with a hearty “Amen.”

From that day forward, the frogs were quiet, as they are to this day according to the locals.

I think what this reminds us to do is to be kind to ourselves if sleep overtakes us once in awhile. In our fast-paced lives, our bodies sometimes need more sleep than we think. Take a nap today - and blame it on the frogs.


Sarah Elaine said…
I must say, I find it hard to believe stories like this... I mean... don't you think they would have had more of a connection than just door knocking?? Come ON! (No pun intended!)

I agree with you about naps though. Naps are very civilized. Frogs or no frogs.

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