Benedicta of Bjelbo

Benedicta of Bjelbo (Swedish: Bengta Sunesdotter; died 1261), was a Swedish noble and a central figure in the incident known as the Maiden Abduction from Vreta, wherein she, like her mother, Helena Sverkersdotter of Sweden before her, and her daughter, Ingrid Svantepolksdotter after her, was abducted from Vreta Abbey by the man she later married. Her abduction was the subject of the folksong "Junker Lars klosterrov" (The Bridal Abduction of Young Lars).

Benedicta was the daughter of princess Helena Sverkersdotter of Sweden and Sune Folkesson and thereby sister of Queen Catherine of Sweden. Benedicta was placed in the Vreta Abbey for her education. In 1244, she was abducted by Lars Petersson or Laurens Pedersson, Justiciar of Östergötland, with whom she traveled to Norway. One theory is that Pedersson was a grandson of a king of the St. Eric dynasty and wished to unite that dynasty with Benedicta's Sverker dynasty. He may also have had designs on the throne. Benedicta lived with Lars in Norway for several years. After his death, she returned to Sweden and married high noble Svantepolk Knutsson, Lord of Viby, with whom she had several daughters, among them Ingrid Svantepolksdotter, and a son, Knut, who died childless.


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