(also, Winefride Welsh: Gwenffrewi; in modern English Winifrid and numerous variations) was a legendary 7th century Welsh noblewoman and abbess who was canonized after dying for the sake of her chastity.
Born the daughter of Tyfid ap Eiludd, a Welsh noble, she was raised devout and chaste. She was also very beautiful and was pursude by one potential suitor Caradog, who became obsessed with Winifred.
There were many monastics in her family and Winifred chose to become a nun and with her families wealth and connections she soon founded an abbey at Gwytherin in Denbighshire. During this time Caradog had continued his infatuation with Winifred and when she had moved to the abbey he became very agitated and upset. Caradog went to Winifred one more time to ask her to renounce her vows and marry him and when she refused he few his sword and decapitated her.
According to legend, Winifred's head rolled downhill, and, where it stopped, a healing spring appeared, known as St Winefride's Well, Holywell, Flintshire. Winifred's brother Owain is known to have killed Caradog as revenge for this crime. Winifred was interred at her abbey. In 1138, relics were carried to Shrewsbury to form the basis of an elaborate shrine. The shrine and well became major pilgrimage goals in the Late Middle Ages, but the shrine was destroyed by Henry VIII in 1540.
Propers for Winifred of Flintshire - Virgin, Abbess and Martyr
O Almighty God, who didst give to thy servant Wilifred boldness to confess the Name of our Saviour Jesus Christ before the rulers of this world, and courage to die for this faith: Grant that we may always be ready to give a reason for the hope that is in us, and to suffer gladly for the sake of the same our Lord Jesus Christ; who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
The Epistle - 1 Peter 3:14-18,22
The Holy Gospel - St. Matthew 10:16-22