Saint Pharaildis
Born c. 650, Ghent, Belgium
Died c. 740
Feast 4 January
Attributes shown with a goose at her feet[1]
Patronage Bruay, France; childhood diseases; difficult marriages; Ghent, Belgium; victims of abuse; widows[2]

Saint Pharaildis (Dutch: Veerle), patron saint of Ghent, 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]

According the Vita Gudilae Pharaildis was the sister of Saint Gudula, Saint Reineldis, and Saint Emebert, but this is not confirmed in her own biography, the Vita Pharaildis. [2]


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

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,[3] and there are accounts of a "goose miracle," in which Pharaildis resuscitated a cooked bird working only from its skin and bones.[4][3]


  1. Rabenstein, Katherine (March 1999). "Pharaïldis of Ghent V (AC)". Saints O' the Day for January 4. Retrieved 2007-02-17. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Jones, Terry. "Pharaildis". Patron Saints Index. Retrieved 2007-02-17. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 Jones, G. R. (22 June 2005). "Pharaildis, virgin (c. 740)". Saints at a Glance. University of Leicester. Retrieved 2007-02-17. 
  4. Wolfgang, Behringer; (Trans. by H. C. Eric Midelfort) (1998). Shaman of Oberstdorf: Chonrad Stoeckhlin and the Phantoms of the Night. University of Virginia Press. pp. 42–43. 

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