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Saint Pharaildis.jpg
BornGhent, Belgium
Feast4 January
Attributesshown with a goose at her feet[1]
PatronageBruay, France; childhood diseases; difficult marriages; Ghent, Belgium; victims of abuse; widows[2]

Saint Pharaildis or Pharailde (Dutch: Veerle) is an 8th-century Belgian saint in Roman Catholicism, and patron saint of Ghent. Her dates are imprecise, but she lived to a great age and died on January 5 at ninety.[3]


Pharaildis was born in Ghent, the daughter of Witger, Duke of Lorraine and his wife Amalberga of Maubeuge. Her siblings were: Emebert, Reineldis, Ermelindis and Gudula. Pharaildis was brought up by Gertrude of Nivelles.[4]

Pharaildis was married against her will at a young age with a nobleman, even after having made a private vow of virginity. Her husband insisted that she was married to him, and her sexual fidelity was owed to him, not God. She was therefore physically abused for her refusal to submit to him, and for her late night visits to churches. When widowed, she was still a virgin,[2] and dedicated herself to charity.[3]


The cult of Pharaildis has been documented as early as the ninth century. She carries a goose as her insignia.

Her feast day is January 4, and her feast, Fru Verelde, was a major festival in Ghent in the late 19th century (according to Acte de Pharailde 1882).[3]

Several miracles are attributed to the saint. Legend says that Pharaildis caused a well to spring up whose waters cured sick children,[2] turned some bread hidden by a miserly woman into stone,[5] and there are accounts of a "goose miracle," in which Pharaildis resuscitated a cooked bird working only from its skin and bones.[5][6]


  1. ^ Rabenstein, Katherine (March 1999). "Pharaïldis of Ghent". Saint of the Day, January 4. Retrieved 2012-03-05. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  2. ^ a b c Jones, Terry. "Pharaildis". Patron Saints Index. Archived from the original on 2008-02-12. Retrieved 2007-02-17. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  3. ^ a b c Engelbert, Omer. The Lives of the Saints. Christopher and Anne Fremantle, trans. New York: Barnes & Noble, 1998. Nihil obstat 1954.
  4. ^ Monks of Ramsgate. "Pharaildis". Book of Saints, 1921. CatholicSaints.Info. 21 October 2016 This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
  5. ^ a b Jones, G. R. (22 June 2005). "Pharaildis, virgin (c. 740)". Saints at a Glance. University of Leicester. Archived from the original on 2007-02-06. Retrieved 2007-02-17. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  6. ^ Wolfgang, Behringer (1998). Shaman of Oberstdorf: Chonrad Stoeckhlin and the Phantoms of the Night. H. C. Eric Midelfort (trans.). University of Virginia Press. pp. 42–43.

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