The legend of the miracle of the roses

The legend of the miracle of the roses

The Miracle of the Roses, André Gonçalves, c. 1735-40, Church of the Child Jesus

The most popular story of Queen Saint Elizabeth is undoubtedly that of the rose miracle. According to legend Portuguese, the queen left Leiria Castle on a morning of Winter to distribute breads to the most deprived. Surprised by the sovereign, who asked her where she was going and what she was carrying in her lap, the queen exclaimed: They're roses, Lord!. Suspicious, D. Dinis inquired: Roses in January?. D. Isabel then exposed the contents of the lap of her dress and in it there were rosesinstead of the loaves of bread he had hidden.

The exact time of the appearance of this legend in Portuguese tradition is not determined. It does not appear in an anonymous biography of the queen written in the fourteenth centurybut would circulate orally throughout the country in the last decades of that century. The earliest known record is a altarpiece preserved in the National Art Museum of Catalonia.

The first written record of the miracle of the roses is found in the Chronicle of the Friars Minor:

the holy Queen once carried coins in her lap to give to the poor(...) When the King found her he asked her what she was carrying,(...) she said, I am carrying roses. And roses the King saw that it was not their time.

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The legend of the miracle of the roses