St Wilgefortis in keeping with any decent legend also went by various aliases: Liberata, Kummernis, Uncumber, Ontkommer, Debarras and Livrade. None of these have made the list of "popular name choices for your new baby" in ancient or contemporary sources.
She gets a decent coverage in a google search and her story can be told in contemporary genre using easy read dot points:
- A happy virgin is promised in a traditional marriage transaction by her father to some equally patriarchal character.
- Being a good Catholic girl she prays for a non violent bit of divine intervention.
- Her prayers are answered and she wakes up one day sporting enough facial hair to scare off any suitor.
- Her dad does the only thing any honourable a chap could do in the circumstances and had her strung up on a cross.
The Brisbane Exhibition is not so much a hagiography as a reflection on the themes and images that this story tells of the human condition The Church has eliminated devotion to Wilgefortis along with other legendary characters as part of its quality control in the Second Vatican Council. However, it cannot eliminate the stories of exploitation, abuse and the control of women's live and bodies that it has endorsed and supported for generations.
To really explore the creative vision that our local artists have brought o this exhibition I suggest you visit the album I have created and read the bio notes. At the launch of the exhibition the costs of refreshments were donated to the Ozcare Womens Refuge. This gesture speaks volumes of the artists commitment to their role as agents of social change.
I am particularly thrilled to note that this exhibtion is on show as we celebrate another great medieval story, Christina The Astonishing, Virgin.