Our Lady of the Forests, Porto, Portugal (12th Century) – 11 March:
The Abbot Orsini wrote: “This image was found again in a forest, where it had been hidden by Queen Matilda, wife of Alphonsus I.”
In searching for information about this title of the Blessed Virgin Mary, I could find no specific reference to Our Lady of the Forests. There are a great number of Catholic Churches and Cathedrals in Porto, Portugal but none of them, seem to speak of an image once known as Our Lady of the Forests.
Porto, Portugal, is a City second only to Lisbon in size. Checking with the Diocese, there does not appear to be a Church by the name of Our Lady of the Forests and I could find no mention of such an image.
Alphonsus I was the first King of Portugal. His wife, Queen Matilda, better known as Mafalda of Savoy (1125-1158), married him in the year 1146. She was the daughter of Amadeus III of Savoy, Count of the Holy Roman German Empire and her sister was Blessed Umberto. Matilda died young, long before Alphonsus was King – yet her life still had great significance.
Alphonsus I was almost constantly at war with the Moors of Andalusia and Portugal did not become formally recognised as an independent Kingdom, until 1179, when Alphonsus I was recognised as King by the Pope. Perhaps there was a crisis during these years of upheaval, when Queen Matilda was forced to hide, in a forest, with a cherished image of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and although this seems not unlikely, I can find no story relating to such an event.
Although little is known of Queen Matilda, it is believed that she built a small Abbey Chapel in honour of the Blessed Virgin on the outskirts of Fatima, in a place called the Rock of Fatima. There was also an attached Monastery at this site, that was built by the Cistercians, although nothing remains of that Monastery now and its foundations have become the floor for the Parish Church at Fatima. Built in the 18th century, it was originally called Our Lady of the Rosary.
One of Queen Matilda’s descendants was Blessed Margaret of Savoy, who founded a Convent for women. On 16 October 1454, Blessed Margaret was present, when her dying cousin, Sister Filipina, spoke aloud the names of the Saints who came to assist her on her way to heaven. Sister Filipina revealed during that last ecstasy, that in the future, there would be terrible wars and that there would be a monster who would rise in the East as a scourge of all mankind. He would eventually be slain by Our Lady of the Holy Rosary of Fatima. She said: “The Most Holy Virgin will speak about very grave future events, for Satan will wage a terrible war. But he will lose because the Most Holy Virgin Mother of God and of the Most Holy Rosary of Fatima, more terrible than an army in battle array, will defeat him forever.” After saying this, Sister Filipina died in the arms of the holy Foundress, Blessed Margaret.
The documents attesting to these events surfaced in the year 2000 but keep in mind. that this revelation was nearly 500 years before the Marian apparitions of Our Lady of Fatima at the Cova da Ira!
St Aengus the Culdee
St Alberta of Agen
St Alexius U Se-Yong
St Aurea of San Millán
St Benedict Crispus of Milan (Died 725)
St Candidus the Martyr
St Constantine II
St Constantine of Carthage
St Ðaminh Cam
St Eulogius of Córdoba (Died 857) Priest and Martyr
St Firmian the Abbot
St Firmus the Martyr
St Gorgonius the Martyr
St Heraclius of Carthage
Bl John Kearney
Bl John Righi of Fabriano
St Marcus Chong Ui-Bae
St Peter the Spaniard
St Piperion the Martyr
St Rosina of Wenglingen
St Sophronius of Jerusalem
St Thalus the Martyr
Bl Thomas Atkinson
St Trophimus the Martyr
St Vigilius of Auxerre
St Vincent of Leon
St Vindician of Cambrai (c 632-c 712) Bishop
St Zosimus of Carthage
Martyrs of Antioch: A group of Christians martyred together by Emperor Maximian Galerius. Martyred in c 300 in Antioch, Syria.