Chapter 12 The Saints March In

I hear women’s voices in my brain. One, the oldest sounding voice says, “In my day I prayed five times a day and went to confession twice. I confessed to Senior Nuno when I got up and before I retired to bed.” The three women shrouded in white robes and black veils arrive from the ceiling in a hazy cloud on this day the seventeenth of June.

St. Teresa St. Sanchia St. Mafalda
Saint Mafalda with her sisters, Saints Teresa and Sancha of Portugal. 1735 painting by André Gonçalves

The oldest, presumably, St. Teresa, says, “We want him to confess to his sins. We’re praying for him and his wife to confess to their sins so they will be released from purgatory and elevated to a state of heaven.”

Afonso III, his wife Queen Biatrix, their daughter Princess Sanchia, the Sisters and I are standing in front of the tomb of Afonso II. St. Teresa, the former mother superior of Lorvão monastery, spoke again, “We, your family, are here for you to achieve atonement and be elevated to a state of heaven. Please meet with us.”

They chant, “Come out and be free, come out and be free.”

I chant too.

Afonso II emerges and looks right at me as I continue chanting. He steps in front of me. Everyone is staring at me and not him. My stomach is churning and my palms are wet. He says, “Do you see me?”

I nod.

He asks, “You can understand me?”

I nod again.

“Can you speak?” he asks.

I hold up my iPhone, tap on Google Translate icon and type “I speak English.”.. “Eu falo ingles,” comes out of my phone.

He snaps his head back while everyone else gasps. This exploration of Alcobaça is more than I expected. Can I cope with this? I’m developing a headache and my right eye is twitching. Where is my dad?

Everyone is silent. The Saints look toward me and shuffle their robes. The King looks at me straight into my eyes and asks, “Are you an angel?”

I type my answer. “I am a time explorer”.. “Sou explorado do tempo,” my iPhone announces.

Sanchia looks at my iPhone with wide eyes and floats forward. I step back being polite. My dad walks up next to me and says in my right ear, “What’s going on?”

“I believe Afonso II’s sisters will accuse him of the murder of his wife,” I say.

“Why are they going to do that?” Dad asks.

“Because I will tell them something.”

I type, “I have something to announce.” They turn toward me.

I type, “Someone may have murdered Queen Urraca.”

King Afonso II steps forward through me.

St. Teresa says, “How could you say such a thing?”

I type, “I read a King found her uncorrupted.”

Queen Urraca says, “When was that?”

I type, “Do you remember when King Sebastião opened your tomb in 1569.”

“I remember. He violated my privacy. How dare he do that.” says Urraca.

I notice King Afonso II is shrinking back into his coffin.

St. Teresa rises above everyone. “This is a grave accusation that someone has murdered my poor sister-in-law. She is a devout Christian and a supporter of St. Francis and his followers.”

St. Sancha, I guess, rises beside St. Teresa. “We must put aside our original intention to chastise King Afonso II for his greedy lust for our wealth and prey for his salvation. If you agree, St. Teresa will re-direct our efforts towards finding the villain who perpetrated this terrible crime. We must find justice.”

St. Mafalda, the third sister, speaks, “We need an impartial judge, advisors and a lawyer to uncover and introduce the evidence.”

“I recommend Afonso III, our nephew, as the judge. He as the son of Afonso II and Queen Urraca should be impartial in finding the truth,” says St. Teresa.

“He introduced many laws during his reign. His only fault is, he replaced his brother as King but he did it in a way that saved the face of his brother,” says St. Mafalda.

“There was the affair of his bigamy and excommunication,” says St. Sancha.

“The bigamy was only on paper and forgiven by The Holy See[1]. The excommunication was mistrust by the Church caused by Portugal being at the western extreme of Europe and so the end of lines of communication,” says St. Teresa.

Footnote

[1] The Holy See – The Pope as ruler of the Vatican.

Read Chapter 13 Here Comes the Judge