the left of each picture is the saint's
name followed by the words ora pro nobis, "pray for us." The first two saints,
Anastasia and Petronilla, were martyrs.
Petronilla holds the palm branch signifying
martyrdom; as is customary,
Anastasia does not. Unlike the
other three, they are seated and dressed as
matrons rather than nuns.
next three saints — "Benedicta,"
Brigid, and Gertrude — are
portrayed as abbesses in their
and carrying croziers.
and Gertrude were indeed abbesses. "Benedicta"
is the name of several saints who were
martyrs in the early centuries and of one other, who
seems to be remembered merely as a virgin
and is probably the Benedicta intended
here (feast day May 6).
Gertrude was a Benedictine, and the name
certainly makes her sound like
one, so we may
assume that their gray habits
order and distinguish them from Brigid, who is not remembered
as a Benedictine.
cow in Brigid's
(I, 226) quotes
from the Breviarium
Aberdonense a story in which the young
Brigid was sent to milk the cows
and bring home the butter but
gave the butter to
the poor instead. Another story reported in her Wikipedia page
has it that a cow was sent
to sustain her during the
time that she
was the young slave of a