July 20. librada, whose lush beard beat off suitors
Patron of relief from tribulations, in particular who wish to be liberated from abusive husbands, prostitutes, and women in labor
Librada was born to a Portuguese, Spanish, or Panamanian queen, who desperately wanted a boy for an heir. Unfortunately for her, she suffered through nine childbirths in delivering a litter of girls. Her mother, disgusted that she delivered female nonuplets like a “common peasant or animal,” ordered her servant to drown them all in a river. Their father, allegedly, was unaware of the girls’ birth. The servant disobeyed her mistress, leaving the girls in the hands of a local woman (or, by other accounts, a monk) who baptized and reared them. When they were old enough to understand, the girls were told of their fancy lineage, but none of them wished to return to the palace.
Eventually, led by her sister Quiteria, Librada and her sisters formed a girl gang of warriors who travelled the countryside, smashing pagan idols, proclaiming the gospel, and freeing Christian prisoners.
When eventually they were caught, their father saw at once that the girls were his daughters, and he invited them to live in the castle. Against their father’s will, they turned a room in the castle into a chapel. Their father ordered them to give up their faith and instead marry pagans.
Having chosen a virgin career path, she resisted the unwelcome marriage by praying for disfigurement. God gave her deliverance when, through a miracle, he blessed Librada with a lush beard that repulsed her fiance. Enraged, her father had her crucified, stating that she "could die in the same disgraceful manner as her heavenly bridegroom."
A destitute fiddler came to play music before Librada’s crucified body, and she gave him one of her golden boots. Mistaken for a thief, the fiddler was sentenced to death. A crowd assembled to watch the fiddler play for her corpse one last time, and Librada kicked off her other boot, thereby proving his innocence.
INVOKED DURING LABOR
In Spain, pregnant people invoke Librada during labor, repeating:
May the way out
Be as sweet
As the way in!