Saint of the Day – 27 September – Saint Delphina TOSF (1283-1360) Virgin Laywoman, Married in Chastity to St Elzear (below) Widow, Recluse, Apostle of the Poor and needy. Born in 1283 at the Chateau-Puimichel in Languedoc (modern Puy-en-Velay, France) and died on 26 November 1360 of natural cause, having lived as a Franciscan tertiary for most of her life. Patronages – • Brides, Tertiaries, Diocese of Ariano Irpino-Lacedonia, Italy. Also known as – Delphine, Delphine of Glandèves, Delphina/e of Sabran.
Delphine was the daughter and heiress of the Count of Puy-Michel. Left an orphan in her infancy, she was placed under the guardianship of her uncles and was brought up under the direction of her Aunt, who was the Abbess of the Convent of St Catherine of Sorps, at Bauduen. As a young girl, she took a vow of virginity which she kept to the end of her life.
Despite her vow, at the age of twelve she was espoused to the ten-year-old Elzéar, Count of Sabran. They were married three years later at the Castle of Puy-Michel. Having grown up together, they regarded each other as brother and sister, rather than husband and wife. Inspired by her example, her husband also took a vow of celibacy, which both honoured throughout their married life.
The couple, having both received the habit of the Third Order of St Francis, lived together at their Castle in Ansouis, in the practice of prayer, penance andgood works towards the poor. After seven years, they moved to Puy-Michel. When Elzéar had to go to Naples to see to some inherited property, they kept up a regular correspondence. Elzéar died in 1323.
After the death of her husband, Delphina sold all her possessions for the benefit of the poor and retired first to Naples and then to Cabrières, which was the location of the Castle where her husband had been born. She finally returned to Apt where her husband had been buried. Upon her death, she was buried with him in the church of the Friars Minor there, wearing the habit of the Order.
The veneration that had begun to be given to Delphina was confirmed by Pope Urban V, godson of Elzéar, who Canonised Elzéar and Delphina in 1694. Her feast day is not the date of her death, 26 November but today, 26 September, sharing this day with the remembrance of her husband.