St Paula Barbada

Paula was a young girl of extreme beauty, born in the nearby village of Cardeñosa in the dark early years of the Middle Ages. Besides her graceful appearance, she was laden with virtues and worked very hard to help others. To earn a living, she went to the town every day to sell the vegetables she grew in her garden. And, as the road she walked along passed by the Church of San Segundo, she would stop off and pray, for she was deeply religious.

Her presence was known by many of those who use the bridge across the River Adaja and she was liked and respected by everyone. However, there are always people whose intentions are questionable: a young knight had taken a liking to Paula and insisted on trying to approach her, calling her and saying lascivious words to her that were not proper for a knight to say and even less so for a maiden to hear. The girl's response was negative and she tried to turn the assailant away.

However, some parts of the road Paula walked along were lonely and, one day, the rogue, who could not really be called a knight, stopped her with his horse. She started to run and hid in the nearby Chapel of San Lázaro. Desperately realising that the man was approaching, she asked God "to make her face ugly"and, from then on, she started to grow a thick beard that was "as thick and as solid as that of a man".

The criminal entered the chapel and found only a hermit, whom he asked if he had seen the young girl. Paula replied that she hadn't and, despite his insistent manner, the man left the chapel empty-handed. After the miracle, Paula moved her home to the Chapel of San Segundo, where she lived for the rest of her life (dying shortly afterwards), devoted to prayer and to helping others. She was buried there under one of the side altars to the right of the main altar, protected by a grille under the inscription, "This altarpiece grille was ordered by the excellent Isabel de Ribera, daughter of the Lord of Valderrabano, in honour of St Paula Barbada, made in the year 1547. It is said that she died at the age of 17 years on 20th February".

After her canonisation, she became the patron saint of her hometown.