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Acts of the Apostles
Nine First Fridays Devotion to the Sacred Heart From the writings of St. Margaret Mary Alacoque
How do I start the Five First Saturdays?
Mary Mother of GOD 15 Promises of the Virgin Mary to those who recite the Rosary

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Joyful Mystery on Monday Saturday   Glorius Mystery on Sunday Wednesday
  
Sorrowful Mystery on Friday Tuesday   Luminous Mystery on Thursday

The patroness of widows 383 January 22:  St. Blaesilla Widow of Rome;
Et álibi aliórum plurimórum sanctórum Mártyrum et Confessórum, atque sanctárum Vírginum.
And elsewhere in divers places, many other holy martyrs, confessors, and holy virgins.
Пресвятая Богородице спаси нас!  (Santíssima Mãe de Deus, salva-nos!)
34 St. Tabitha  good deeds almsgiving Peter raised from dead
3rd v. St. Tryphonia Roman widow and martyr.
Two Mighty and Courageous Widows
 300 July 05 St. Cyrilla of Cyrene M Although aged was martyred
304 Julitta Holy Martyrs
319 Oct. 19 St. Cleopatra -- St. Varus appeared
370 Oct 9 ST PUBLIA,  of good family in Antioch
383 January 22:  St. Blaesilla Widow of Rome;
 384 March 22 St. Lea devout widow nun Superior community of Saint Marcella exchanged rich attire for sackcloth.
387 Saint Monica, [may 04] mother of St Augustine of Hippo  (June 15) {Aug 27}
404 St. Paula patroness of widows children

408 St. Olympias lavish in her almsgiving.
  410 January 31 St. Marcella Roman matron gave to poor
435 St. Juliana of Bologna  Married woman of Bologna                                                          
439 Dec 31  St. Melania Abbess rich Roman
endowed monasteries
in Egypt Syria and Palestine

5th century 492 St. Gwen Widowed martyr at Talgrarth
5th v. Sept 15  Eutropia of Auvergne, Widow first lauded by Saint Sidonius Apollinaris (RM)
6th century 6v Triphina of Brittany Widow  mother of the infant-martyr Saint Tremorus
June 03 545 Clotilda of France Queen Widow At her passing, a dazzling light heavenly incense filled the room
550 St. Galla oct 05  Roman noblewoman caring for sick and poor;
 6th century 6v Triphina of Brittany  Widow  mother of the infant-martyr Saint Tremorus (RM)
6th v. St. Agia Widow also called Aja and Aye
She is reported as being the sainted mother of St. Lupus of Sens.

6th v. St. Benedicta Mystic nun; St. Peter appeared in vision warn her of death
572 Sylvia of Rome mother of Gregory the Great, pope and doctor of the Church; Widow (RM)
7th century July 18 St. Theneva Also called Thenova, the patron saint of Glasgow


652 May 08  Blessed Ida of Nivelles built double monastery at Nivelles OSB
659 St. Gertrude of Nivelles Benedictine abbess mystic gifted with visions

679 Saint Ethedlreda (Audrey) heaven sent seven day high tide founded the great abbey of Ely, austere life body incorrupt
680 Eusebia of Hamay widow OSB, Abbess wise and capable,



680 St. Bathildis Queen and foundress Benedictine convent at Chelles, St. Denis Monastery and Corbie
679 June 23 Saint Ethedlreda (Audrey) heaven sent seven day high tide founded abbey of Ely, where she lived an austere life body was found incorrupt
8th v. ST BERTILIA OF MAREUIL, WIDOW  
688  St. Richrudis Benedictine abbess forty years wed St. Adalbald 4 children  Eusebia, Clotsind, Adalsind, Mauront all became saints
688 April 09  St. Waldetrudis ist Patronin von Mons 7 saints in family became celebrated for the miracles of healing
691 St. Begga daughter of Pepin of Landen mayor of the palace and St. Itta.
 714 St. Agia Benedictine wife of St. Hiduiphus of Hainault


703 Ermengild of Ely wholly devoted to God, OSB, Widow (AC)
723 St. Oda  Widow and servant of the poor
725 July 04 St. Bertha Benedictine widow, abbess convent she founded Blangy
730 Dec 24 St. Adele Widow Abbess ruling with holiness prudence compassion
725 September 03 St Cuthburga, Absess of Wimborne, Widow;  a novice under St Hildelitha
734 St. Kentigerna Widowed hermitess mother St. Coellan daughter of Kelly Jan 07
769 Sigolena of Troclar Daughter and early widow of French noblemen of Aquitaine;
780 May 13 St. Mella Widow abbess

785 St. Werburg Widow abbess
820 St. Anne a widow, born in Constantinople; Also called Euphemianus. Oct 29
860 Athanasia of Constantinople Matron married twice reluctant home convent venerated by Empress Theodora;  celebrated for monastical observance and the gift of miracles. (RM)
864 Oct 19 St. Laura widowed; martyr. Born in Cordova; murdered by Moors
921 Sept 16 St. Ludmila Daughter of a Slavic prince;  as widow, led an austere, pious life and continued to be concerned for the Church during the reign of her son Bratislav, which lasted for 33 years
895 St. Richardis Empress and wife of Emperor Charles the Fat
937 St. Edith of Polesworth Sister of King Athelstan of England; married viking king Sihtric at York in 925, he died next year, she became Benedictine nun at Polesworth, where she was noted.
968 Mar 14 St. Matilda piety charitable works Patron of parents of large families;
986 January 06 St. Wiltrudis Widow Benedictine nun wife of Duke Berthold
999 December 16 ST ADELAIDE, WIDOW; regent generous life
1024 Feb 05 Agatha Hildegard of Carinthia converted husband before his death
  1028 Hilsindis In her widowhood she was the abbess-founder of the convent of Thorn on the Marne River , OSB Abbess (AC)
Hilsindis was born into the family of the dukes of Lorraine (France). In her widowhood she was the abbess-founder of the convent of Thorn on the Marne River
(Benedictines).
1040 St. Cunegundes Empress Patron of Lithuania virgin
1045 ST EMMA, WIDOW founded the abbey of Gurk; devoted her possessions and her life to the service of God
1069 St. Amunia Mother of St. Aurea.  March 11  She joined her daughter in the life of a hermitess after the death of her husband.
1105 Blessed Aleth of Dijon  Mother of Saint Bernard Widow (PC)
April 04 October 04
1113 April 12 Blessed Ida of Boulogne descendent of Blessed Charlemagne
1107 Mar 14 St Paulina of Zell founded the double abbey of Zell.
1175 Blessed Mary de la Cabeza, Widow the irreproachable wife of Saint Isidore the Farmer (AC)
1175 St. Helen of Skovde Widow; gave all her possessions to the poor; Like Jesus, the innocent Lamb, St. Helen was put to death; many miracles were reported at her tomb  April 19

1176 Blessed Clementia of Oehren, OSB Widow (AC)

1213 June 23 Blessed Mary (Marie) d'Oignies turned their house into a leper hospital,
1228 BD JUTTA OF HUY, Jan 13 Widow an extraordinary power of reading the thoughts of others
1247 May 16 St. Margaret of Cortona established a hospital and founded a congregation of tertiary sisters devoted to the Eucharist and the passion of Jesus
1260 May 05 St. Jutta Widowed noblewoman of Thuringia noted for visions and miracles
1268 Bl. Salomea princess became a Franciscan tertiary; did her best to make her court a model of Christian life; founding a convent of Poor Clares; 28 yrs a Poor Clare; abbess

1300 Blessed Ida of Louvain OSB Cist. V (PC)
1300 Bl.  Bonizella Piccolomini Widow devoted herself and all her wealth to the service of the poor (PC)
1299 June 15 BD JOLENTA OF HUNGARY, WIDOW
1305 Blessed Santuccia Terrebotti Benedictine abbess OSB Widow (AC) 1305 Blessed Santuccia Terrebotti Benedictine abbess OSB Widow (AC).
1309 BD ANGELA OF FOLIGNO, WIDOW must always take her place among the great mystics and contemplatives of the middle ages, side by side with Catherine of Siena and Catherine of Genoa.
1309 St. Aldo (Aldobrandesca) Widow she gave away all possessions ministering to sick visions  almsdeeds and mortification and ecstasies Siena (also known as Aldobrandesca, Aude, Blanca, Bruna)
1317 St. Agnes of Montepulciano Nun foundress in Tuscany noted for visions (of Christ Blessed Virgin angels) levitations miracles for the faithful (1435 - incorrupt)
1310 May 22 Humility of Faenza, OSB Vall. Widow
heroic fasting and savagely austere life (AC)

1356 June 20 Blessed Michelina Metelli Franciscan tertiary OFM Tert. Widow (AC)
1336 July 04 St. Elizabeth of Portugal
1391 June 14 Bd Castora Gabrielli, Widow
1394 St. Dorothy of Montau visions and spiritual gifts patroness of Prussia
1395 Margaret the Barefooted, Widow bore abuse with patience for many years (RM)

1419 Blessed Clare Gambacorta both devout and penitential Poor Clares OP Widow (AC)
1435 Blessed Angelina of Marsciano founded convent regular tertiaries Saint Francis Foligno, finished in 1397 with 135 convents,
1431 Blessed Mary of Pisa Widow miraculous favors  saw guardian angel from childhood OP Tertiary
1478 Blessed Seraphina Sforza, Poor Clare V (AC)
1440 St. Frances of Rome  widow, renowned for her noble family, holy life, and the gift of miracles.

1472 Blessed Antonia (Antoinette) of Florence, OFM Widow (AC)
1510 St Catherine (Caterinetta) of Genoa, Widow; blood from her stigmata gave off exceptional heat;
1503 BD LOUISA OF SAVOY, humble nun of the Poor Clares

1520 Bd Helen Of Bologna, Widow
1521 BD MARGARET OF LORRAINE Feast day 11/6
1533  Feb 28 BD LOUISA ALBERTONI
1601 St. Anne Line  English 1/40 martyr from Dunmow, Essex
1618  BD MARY OF THE INCARNATION,
1771 St. Mary Margaret d'Youville Foundress Sisters of Charity directress of Montreal’s General Hospital, operated her community
1865 BD PAULA CERIOLI, WIDOW, Foundress OF THE INSTITUTE OF THE HOLY FAMILY OF BERGAMO


34 St. Tabitha  good deeds and almsgiving raised from dead Peter.
Widow of Joppa (in modern Israel), who was mentioned in the Acts of the Apostles (9:36-42) as one who was completely occupied with good deeds and almsgiving.
MARY THE MOTHER OF GOD a Widow
“Many widows have 'second vocations' of this sort, entering religious orders after the death of their husbands. St. Elizabeth Seton, foundress of the American Sisters of Charity, was, of course, a memorable example.  Cloistered, contemplative orders are perhaps even more attractive to widows who are on in years.  Take for instance, Mrs. Rizer, of Richmond, Virginia.  Around 1930, after the death of her husband and the maturing of her children (one of whom became a priest), she entered the cloistered convent of the Visitation in Richmond.  On important holidays, the family would come to visit her.  According to the existing rules of cloister the mother would sit in the screened-off part of the parlor to chat with her children who sat on the other side of the grill that bisected the room.
Our readers who are widowed might well ask themselves whether they, too, perhaps have a second vocation of this sort.--Father Robert F. McNamara .”  
[ R.I.P. Father McNamara]
3rd century St. Tryphonia Roman widow and martyr.
Dec 19 3rd v. St. Fausta mother of St. Anastasia - Sirmium Serbia
 Romæ sanctæ Faustæ, quæ fuit mater sanctæ Anastásiæ, ac nobilitáte et pietáte éxstitit insígnis.
      At Rome, St. Fausta, mother of St. Anastasia, renowned for her noble birth and her holiness.
The mother of St. Anastasia of Sirmium. Serbia, Yugoslavia. Fausta was a model matron of her era, demonstrating true virtue in raising a saint.
Fausta of Sirmium, Widow (RM) 3rd century. The legend of Saint Anastasia of Sirmium says that Fausta was her mother (Benedictines, Encyclopedia).

300 Cyrilla of Cyrene M Although the aged widow of Cyrene, Saint Cyrilla, was condemned to death, she seems to have died in the torture chamber rather than as planned. Several other martyrs suffered with her (Benedictines). (RM)
Two Mighty and Courageous Widows
304 Julitta The Holy Martyred for the faith A certain pagan stole all her property, and when Julitta turned for relief to the courts, her antagonist reported to the judge that she was a Christian, which placed her outside the law's protection.
383 January 22:  St. Blaesilla Widow of RomeSt. Blaesilla  herself began to study Hebrew, and it was at her request that Jerome began his translation of the book of Ecclesiasts.  
Daughter of St. Paula and a disciple of St. Jerome. Blaesilla died at the age of twenty-three from a fever. She and her husband were married only seven months when he predeceased her.
383 ST BLESILLA, WIDOW
BUT for the letters of St Jerome, very little would be known of the youthful widow St Blesilla, daughter of St Paula. On the death of her husband, after seven months of married life, Blesilla was attacked by fever. Yielding to the promptings of grace, she determined to devote herself to practices of devotion. After her sudden recovery she spent the rest of her short life in great austerity. St Jerome, writing to her mother, speaks in very high terms of her.
St. Blaesilla herself began to study Hebrew, and it was at her request that Jerome began his translation of the book of Ecclesiasts. St Blesilla died at Rome in 383 at the early age of twenty.
See the Acta Sanctorum, January 22; and St Jerome’s letters nos. 37, 38 and 39. St Blesilla is of course referred to in the more detailed lives of St Jerome and St Paula.
319 Oct. 19 St. Cleopatra Widow -- St. Varus miraculously came to comfort her
370 Oct 9 ST PUBLIA, WIDOW; a woman of good family in Antioch who was left a widow. She gathered together in her house a number of consecrated virgins and widows who wished to live a common life of devotion and charity.
384 St. Lea devout widow nun Superior community of Saint Marcella exchanged her rich attire for sackcloth
 Romæ sanctæ Leæ Víduæ, cujus virtútes et tránsitum ad Deum sanctus Hierónymus scribit.
       At Rome, the widow St. Lea, whose virtues and happy death are related by St. Jerome.
A letter which St. Jerome wrote to St. Marcella provides the only information we have about St. Lea, a devout fourth century widow.
Upon death of her husband, she retired to a Roman monastery and ultimately became its Superior. Since his correspondence was acquainted with the details of St. Lea's life, St. Jerome omitted these in his letter. He concentrated instead on the fate of St. Lea in comparison with that of a consul who had recently died.
"Who will praise the blessed Lea as she deserves? She renounced painting her face and adorning her head with shining pearls. She exchanged her rich attire for sackcloth, and ceased to command others in order to obey all. She dwelt in a corner with a few bits of furniture; she spent her nights in prayer, and instructed her companions through her example rather than through protests and speeches. And she looked forward to her arrival in heaven in order to receive her recompense for the virtues which she practiced on earth.
"So it is that thence forth she enjoyed perfect happiness. From Abraham's bosom, where she resides with Lazarus, she sees our consul who was once decked out in purple, now vested in a shameful robe, vainly begging for a drop of water to quench his thirst. Although he went up to the capital to the plaudits of the people, and his death occasioned widespread grief, it is futile for the wife to assert that he has gone to heaven and possesses a great mansion there. The fact is that he is plunged into the darkness outside, whereas Lea who was willing to be considered a fool on earth, has been received into the house of the Father, at the wedding feast of the Lamb.
"Hence, I tearfully beg you to refrain from seeking the favors of the world and to renounce all that is carnal. It is impossible to follow both the world and Jesus. Let us live a life of renunciation, for our bodies will soon be dust and nothing else will last any longer."

Lea of Rome, Widow (RM). Roman lady who on becoming a widow entered the community of Saint Marcella, of which she later became the superior. She was noted for the austerity of her life and her extreme penances. Saint Jerome (Ep. 20 to Marcella) wrote a panegyric in her honor (Benedictines, Encyclopedia, Husenbeth).

387 Saint Monica, [may 04]mother of St Augustine of Hippo  (June 15) {Aug 27}
404 St. Paula patroness of widows children Toxotius Blesilla Paulina Eustochium and Rufina
408 St. Olympias lavish in her almsgiving.
 Constantinópoli sanctæ Olympíadis Víduæ.      At Constantinople, St. Olympias, widow.

St Olympias, called by St Gregory Nazianzen “the glory of the widows in the Eastern church”, was to St John Chrysostom something of what St Paula was to St Jerome. Her family belonged to Constantinople, and was one of distinction and wealth. She was born about the year 361, and left an orphan under the care of the prefect Procopius, her uncle; it was her happiness to be entrusted by him to Theodosia, sister to St Amphilochius, a woman who, St Gregory told her, was a pattern of goodness in whose life she might see as in a glass all excellences.

   Olympias had inherited a large fortune and was attractive in person and character, so that her uncle had no difficulty in arranging a marriage that was acceptable to him and to her, namely with Nebridius, for some time prefect of Constantinople. St Gregory wrote apologizing because age and bad health kept him from attending the wedding, and enclosing a poem of good advice for the bride. The husband appears to have been an exacting man, but within a very short time Nebridius was dead, and the hand of Olympias was being sought by several of the most consider­able men of the court. The Emperor Theodosius was very pressing with her to accept Elpidius, a Spaniard and his near relation. She declared her resolution of remaining single the rest of her days: “ Had God wished me to remain a wife”, she said, “ He would not have taken Nebridius away.”

   Theodosius persisted, and as her refusal continued, he put her fortune in the hands of the urban prefect with orders to act as her guardian till she was thirty years old. The prefect even hindered her from seeing the bishop or going to church. She wrote to the emperor, somewhat acidly perhaps, that she was obliged to him for easing her of the burden of managing and disposing of her money, and that the favour would be complete if he would order it all to be divided between the poor and the Church. Theodosius, struck with her letter, made an inquiry into her manner of living, and restored to her the administration of her estate in 391.

St Olympias thereupon offered herself to St Nectarius, Bishop of Constantinople, for consecration as a deaconess, and established herself in a large house with a number of maidens who wished to devote themselves to the service of God. Her dress was plain, her furniture simple, her prayers assiduous, and her charities without bounds, so that St John Chrysostom found it necessary to tell her some­times to moderate her alms, or rather to be more cautious in bestowing them, that she might be able to succour those whose distress deserved preference “ You must not encourage the laziness of those who live upon you without necessity. It is like throwing your money into the sea.”

   In 398 Chrysostom succeeded Nec­tarius in the see of Constantinople, and he took St Olympias and her disciples under his protection, and guided by him her benefactions were spread abroad; an orphanage and a hospital were attached to their house, and when the expelled monks came from Nitria to appeal against Theophilus of Alexandria they were fed andsheltered at the expense of Olympias, St Amphilochius, St Epiphanius, St Peter of Sebaste and St Gregory of Nyssa were among her friends, and Palladius of Helenopolis refers to her as “a wonderful woman...like a precious vase filled with the Holy Spirit” but it was with her own bishop that friendship was most mutually affectionate and trusting, and she was one of the last persons whom Chrysostom took leave of when he went into banishment in 404. It was necessary to tear her from his feet by violence.
After his departure, Olympias shared the persecution in which all his friends were involved. She was brought before Optatus, the prefect of the city, who was a heathen, on a charge of having set fire to the cathedral, but really that she might be persuaded to hold communion with Arsacius, the usurper of the bishopric. But Olympias was more than a match for Optatus, and was dismissed for that time. She was very ill all the winter, and in the spring was exiled, and wandered from place to place. About midsummer in 405 she was brought back to Constantinople and again presented before Optatus, who sentenced her to pay a heavy fine because she refused to communicate with Arsacius.
Atticus, successor of Arsacius, dispersed the community of widows and maidens which she directed, and put an end to all their charitable works. Frequent sicknesses, outrageous slanders and persecutions succeeded one another. St John Chrysostom comforted and encouraged her from his places of exile by letters, of which seventeen have come down to us and give an idea not only of his misfortunes but of hers as well. “As you are well acquainted with suffering you have reason to rejoice, inasmuch as by having lived constantly in tribulation you have walked in the road of crowns and laurels. All manner of corporal diseases have been yours, often more cruel and harder to be endured than many deaths; you have never been free from sickness.* You have been overwhelmed with slanders, insults, and injuries and never been free from some new tribulation; tears have always been familiar to you. Among all these, one single affliction is enough to fill your soul with spiritual riches.” In another letter he. writes: “I cannot cease to call you blessed. The patience and dignity with which you have borne your sorrows, the prudence and wisdom with which you have managed delicate affairs, and the charity which has made you throw a veil over the malice of your persecutors have won a glory and reward which hereafter will make all your sufferings seem light and passing in the presence of eternal joy.” We know also from these letters that St John entrusted Olympias with the execution of important commissions for him.
It is not known where St Olympias was when she heard of St John Chrysostom’s death in Pontus on September 14, 407; she herself died at Nicomedia on July 25 in the following year, not much more than forty years old. Her body was taken to Constantinople, where “she had become so celebrated for her great goodness that her very name was considered worthy of imitation, parents hoping that their children would be built on a like model.”

Our knowledge of this holy widow is derived partly from Palladius, the letters of Chrysostom and the writings of other contemporaries, but also from a Greek Life which was printed for the first time in the Analecta Bollandiana, vol. xv (1896), pp. 400—483, together with an account of the translation of her remains (ibid., vol. xvi, pp. 44—51) written much later by the superioress (Ama) Sergia. See also the article of J. Bousquet, "Vie d’Olympias Ia diaconesse", contributed to the Revue de l’Orient chrétien, second series, vol. i (1906), pp. 225—250, and vol. ii (1907), pp. 255—268. The life seems to have been composed in the middle of the fifth century and is clearly posterior to Palladius, as is proved by quotations made from this source. One chapter, the eleventh, seems to be a later interpolation by another hand. The letters of St John Chrysostom to St Olympias have been translated into French by P. Legrand, Exhortations â Theodore; Lettres â Olympias (1933). See also H. Leclercq in DAC., vol. xii, cc. 2064—2071.

*    Elsewhere he writes to her: “Much patience is needed to see oneself unjustly deprived of wealth, driven from home and country to exile in an unhealthy climate, chained and imprisoned, loaded with insults, railing and contempt. Even the calmness of Jeremias could not resist such trials. Yet not even these or the loss of children dear as our very heart’s blood or death itself, the most terrible of evils in human estimation, are so trying to bear as bad health.”

Olympias born into a wealthy noble Constantinople family. She was orphaned when a child and was given over to the care of Theodosia by her uncle, the prefect Procopius. She married Nebridius, also a prefect, was widowed soon after, refused several offers of marriage, and had her fortune put in trust until she was thirty by Emperor Theodosius when she also refused his choice for a husband. When he restored her estate in 391, she was consecrated deaconess and with several other ladies founded a community. She was so lavish in her almsgiving that her good friend St. John Chrysostom remonstrated with her and when he became Patriarch of Constantinople in 398, he took her under his direction. She established a hospital and an orphanage, gave shelter to the expelled monks of Nitria, and was a firm supporter of Chrysostom when he was expelled in 404 from Constantinople and refused to accept the usurper Arsacius as Patriarch. She was fined by the prefect, Optatus, for refusing to accept Arsacius, and Arsacius' successor, Atticus, disbanded her community and ended her charitable works. She spent the last years of her life beset by illness and persecution but comforted by Chrysostom from his place of exile. She died in exile in Nicomedia on July 25, less than a year after the death of Chrysostom.

410 January 31 St. Marcella Roman matron gave to the poor
435 St. Juliana of Bologna  Married woman of Bologn
439 Dec 31  St. Melania Abbess rich Roman endowed monasteries in Egypt Syria and Palestine
5th century 492 St. Gwen Widowed martyr at Talgrarth
6th century 6v Triphina of Brittany Widow  mother of the infant-martyr Saint Tremorus (RM), feast may be July 5.
Saint Triphina was the mother of the infant-martyr Saint Tremorus. She passed the later years of her life in a convent in Brittany (Benedictines).

June 03 545 Clotilda of France Queen Widow At her passing, a dazzling light and heavenly incense filled the room Clothilde built the Church of the Apostles, later called Saint Geneviève, in Paris, where Clothilde was later buried. (Amazingly, her relics survived the French Revolution and can now be found at the church of Saint-Leu, Paris.) (RM)
Lutétiæ Parisiórum sanctæ Clotíldis Regínæ, cujus précibus vir ejus Clodovéus, Rex Francórum, Christi fidem suscépit.
    At Paris, St. Clotilde, queen, by whose prayers her husband, King Clovis, was converted to the faith of Christ.

(also known as Clotilde, Clothilde) Born at Lyons, France, c. 474; died at Tours in 545.
545 ST CLOTILDA, WIDOW
550 St. Galla oct 05 Widowed Roman noblewoman caring for sick and poor; Her church in Rome, near the Piazza Montanara, once held a picture of Our Lady, which according to tradition represents a vision vouchsafed to St. Galla. It is considered miraculous and was carried in recession in times of pestilence, now over high altar Santa Maria in Campitelli.  The letter of St Fulgentius, Bishop of Ruspe, “Concerning the State of Widowhood, is supposed to have been addressed to St Galla; her relics are said to rest in the church of Santa Maria in Portico.
 6th century 6v Triphina of Brittany  Widow  mother of the infant-martyr Saint Tremorus (RM)
feast may be July 5. Saint Triphina was the mother of the infant-martyr Saint Tremorus. She passed the later years of her life in a convent in Brittany (Benedictines).

6th v. St. Benedicta Mystic nun; St. Peter appeared in vision warn her of death
Romæ sanctæ Benedíctæ Vírginis.    At Rome, the virgin St. Benedícta.
Benedicta lived in a convent founded by St. Galla in Rome. Pope St. Gregory the Great states that St. Peter appeared in a vision to warn her of her approaching death.
    Benedicta of Rome V (RM). Benedicta a nun of the convent founded in Rome by Saint Galla (A Roman widow of the sixth century; feast, 5 October. According to St. Gregory the Great (Dial. IV, ch. xiii) she was the daughter of the younger Symmachus, a learned and virtuous patrician of Rome, whom Theodoric had unjustly condemned to death (525). Becoming a widow before the end of the first year of her married life, she, still very young, founded a convent and hospital near St. Peter's, there spent the remainder of her days in austerities and works of mercy, and ended her life with an edifying death. The letter of St. Fulgentius of Ruspe, "De statu viduarum", is supposed to have been addressed to her. Her church in Rome, near the Piazza Montanara, once held a picture of Our Lady, which according to tradition represents a vision vouchsafed to St. Galla. It is considered miraculous and was carried in recession in times of pestilence. It is now over the high altar of Santa Maria in Campitelli, of whom Saint Gregory the Great narrates her death was foretold to her by Saint Peter in a vision
(Benedictines).
572 Sylvia of Rome mother of Gregory the Great, pope and doctor of the Church; Widow (RM)
7th century July 18 St. Theneva Also called Thenova, the patron saint of Glasgow, Scotland, with her son St. Kentigern.
Theneva of Glasgow, Widow (AC) (also known as Dwynwen, Thaney, Thenaw, Thenog, Thenova). Saint Theneva was a British princess. When it was discovered that she had conceived out of wedlock, she was thrown from a cliff. Unharmed at the bottom, she was then set adrift in a boat on the Firth of Forth. It was expected that she would die at sea, but apparently God had other plans for the young woman. She landed at Culross, where she was sheltered by Saint Serf and gave birth to Saint Kentigern, named Mongo ("darling") by his foster-father, Serf.
She gave her name to Saint Enoch's Square and Railway Station in Glasgow, Scotland, where she is co- patron together with her son (Benedictines, Delaney).
680 Eusebia of Hamay widow, OSB, Abbess wise and capable, re-establishing discipline as in the days of St Gertrude, (AC)
680 ST EUSEBIA, ABBESS
ST EUSEBIA was the eldest daughter of St Adalbald of Ostrevant and of St Rictrudis. After the murder of her husband, Rictrudis retired to the convent of Marchiennes with her two younger daughters, and sent Eusebia to the abbey of Hamage, of which her great-grandmother St Gertrude was abbess. Eusebia was only twelve years old when St Gertrude died, but she was elected her successor, in compliance with her dying wishes and in accordance with the custom of the times, which required that the head of a religious house should, when possible, be of noble birth, so that the community should have the protection of a powerful family in times of disturbance. St Rictrudis, who was now abbess of Marchiennes, not unnaturally considered Eusebia far too young to have charge of a community, and bade her come to Marchiennes with all her nuns. The little abbess was loath to comply, but she obeyed, and arrived with her community and with the body of St Gertrude, when the two communities were merged into one and all settled down happily, except Eusebia. The memory of Hamage haunted her, until one night she and some of her nuns stole out and made their way to the abandoned buildings, where they said office and lamented over the non-fulfilment of St Gertrude’s last in­junctions. Though this escapade did not go unpunished, St Rictrudis, finding that her daughter was still longing for Hamage, consulted the bishop and other devout men, who advised her to yield to Eusebia’s wishes. She therefore consented to her return and despatched her back with all her nuns. She had no reason to regret her action for the young abbess proved herself wise and capable, re-establishing discipline as in the days of St Gertrude, whom she strove to imitate in all things. No special incidents appear to have marked Eusebia’s afterlife. She was only in her fortieth year when she had a premonition of her impending end, and gathering her nuns round her, gave them her parting instructions and blessing. As she finished speaking a great light spread throughout her room and almost immediately her soul ascended to Heaven.

See the Acta Sanctorum, March, vol. ii; Destombes, Vies des Saints de Cambrai, i, pp. 349-343 and Analecta Bollandiana, vol. xx (1901), pp 461—463.
The eldest daughter of Saints Adalbald and Rictrudis, Saint Eusebia was placed by her mother in the abbey of Hamage (Hamay) which had been founded by her grandmother Saint Gertrude. When Saint Eusebia succeeded as abbess at the age of 12, her mother objected and summoned her daughter to Marchiennes. Eusebia and her entire community answered her mother and moved to Marchiennes. Later they were allowed to return to Hamage, where Eusebia continued to rule her convent in peace (Attwater2, Benedictines, Encyclopedia).

8th v. ST BERTILIA OF MAREUIL, WIDOW  

THE life of St Bertilia was an uneventful one. Born of noble parents, she spent her youth in exercises of charity. In due time she married a noble youth, and they spent their lives helping the poor and sick. On the death of her husband she lived the life of a solitary at Mareuil in the diocese of Arras, where she built a church that adjoined her cell. She died early in the eighth century, and must be distinguished from her contemporary St Bertila of Chelles.

See Acta Sanctorum, January 3; Parenty, Histoire de Ste Bertilie (1847); Destombes, Vies des saints des dioceses de Cambrai et d’Arras, vol. i, pp. 37 seq.; and P. Bertin, Ste Bertille de Mareuil (1943). W. Levison has produced a critical edition of the text of the life, with a valuable introduction, in MGH., Scriptores Merov., vol. vi, pp. 95—109.

 687 St. Bertilia Foundress noble virgin
She and her bridegroom took vows of chastity and remained virgins. When her husband died, Bertilia lived as a hermitess near the church that she had founded at Maroeuil, France.

688  St. Richrudis Benedictine abbess forty years wed St. Adalbald 4 children Eusebia, Clotsind, Adalsind, and Mauront all became saints
688 ST RICTRUDIS, WIDOW
THE family of St Rictrudis was one of the most illustrious in Gascony, and her parents were devout as well as wealthy.

In her father’s house when she was a young girl Rictrudis met one who was to be her director for a great part of her life. This was St Amandus, then an exile from the territory of King Dagobert, whose licentious conduct he had condemned; the prelate was evangelizing the Gascons, many of whom were still pagans. Later on there arrived another distinguished visitor in the person of St Adalbald, a young French nobleman in great favour with King Clovis. He obtained from his hosts the hand of Rictrudis in spite of the opposition of relations who viewed with disfavour any alliance with a Frank. The home to which Adalbald took his bride was Ostrevant in Flanders, and there four children were born to them— Mauront, Eusebia, Clotsind and Adalsind, all of whom, like their parents, were destined to be honoured in later times as saints.

After his return from exile St Amandus would come now and then to stay with this remarkable family, whose holy and happy life is described in glowing terms by the tenth-century compiler of the life of St Rictrudis. She had been married sixteen years when Adalbald, on a visit to Gascony, was murdered by some of her relations who had never forgiven him for his successful wooing. The blow was a terrible one to St Rictrudis. She told St Amandus that she wished to retire into a convent, but he advised her to wait until her son was old enough to take up his residence at court. This delay entailed on her a severe trial in later years, when King Clovis II suddenly made up his mind to give her in marriage to one of his favourites, for she was still attractive and very wealthy. The king’s commands in such cases were law, and Rictrudis pleaded with him in vain. Eventually, however, St Amandus persuaded the monarch to allow her to follow her vocation, and Rictrudis joyfully set out for Marchiennes, where she had founded a double monastery, for men and women. There she received the veil from St Amandus. Her two younger daughters, Adalsind and Clotsind, accompanied her, but Eusebia remained with her paternal grandmother, St Gertrude, at Hamage. After a few years at court Mauront decided that he too wished to abandon the world and it was at Marchiennes, in his mother’s presence, that he received the tonsure. Adalsind died young, but Clotsind lived to become abbess of Marchiennes when St Rictrudis passed to her reward at the age of seventy-six.
The life of St Rictrudis, which was written by Hucbald of Elnone in 907, seems to represent a sincere attempt to arrive at historical truth, however greatly the biographer was hampered by the lack of materials, most of which are said to have perished when Marchiennes was raided and burnt by the Normans in 881. See the admirable discussion of the subject by L. Van der Essen in the Revue d’Histoire ecclésiastique, vol. xix (1923), especially pp. 543—550; and in the same author’s Etude critique . . . des Saints mérovingiens (1907), pp. 260—267. Hucbald’s life, with other materials, may be read in the Acta Sanctorum, May, vol. iii. W. Levison, in MGH., Scriptores Merov., vol. vi, has only re-edited the prologue. St Rictrudis is sometimes confused with St Rotrudis, a saint venerated at Saint-Bertin and Saint-Omer, about whose life nothing at all is known.
A member of a noble family from Gascony, France, she wed the Frankish nobleman St. Adalbald despite family objections, and the couple had four children — Eusebia, Clotsind, Adalsind, and Mauront — all of whom became saints.

After Adalbald was murdered by relatives in Gascony, she refused royal pressure to remarry and instead, with the help of St. Amandus, she became a nun at Marchiennes, Flanders, Belgium, a double monastery that she had founded. Rictrudis served as abbess for some forty years until her death. Adalsind and Clotsind joined her, and Mauront became a monk there too.

Rictrudis of Marchiennes, OSB Widow (AC) Born in Gascony; died 688. Saint Rictrudis was born into a noble Gascon family. She married Saint Adalbald, a Frankish nobleman serving king Clovis II, despite some opposition from her family. The couple had four children, all of whom are counted among the saints: SS Adalsindis, Clotsindis, Eusebia, and Maurontius.

After 16 year of a happy married life at Ostrevant, Flanders, Adalbald was murdered while visiting in Gascony by relatives of Rictrudis who disapproved of the match. After several years, King Clovis ordered her to marry, but with the aid of her old friend and spiritual advisor, Saint Amandus, Clovis relented and permitted her to become a nun at Marchiennes, Flanders--a double monastery that she had founded. Adalsindis and Clotsindis joined her, and sometime later Maurontius, on the point of marrying, left the court and became a monk there, too. Rictrudis ruled Marchiennes as abbess for 40 years (Benedictines, Delaney).
In art, Rictrudis holds a church in her hand. She may also be pictured with her children (Roeder).
April 09 688 St. Waldetrudis ist Patronin von Mons 7 saints in family became celebrated for the miracles of healing which were wrought through her both before and after her death
Móntibus, in Hannónia, beátæ Waldetrúdis, vitæ sanctimónia et miráculis claræ.
    At Mons in Hainaut, blessed Waltrude, renowned for holiness and miracles.

688 ST WALDETRUDIS, or WAUDRU, WIDOW
ST WALDETRUDIS, called in French Waltrude or Waudru, who is venerated in Belgium, especially at Mons of which she is patron, belonged to a family of remarkable holiness. Her parents were St Walbert and St Bertilia, her sister St Aldegundis of Maubeuge, her husband St Vincent Madelgar, and their four children St Landericus, St Dentelinus, St Aldetrudis and St Madelberta, the last two named both being abbess of Maubeuge.
She married a young nobleman called Madelgar, with whom she led a happy life of devotion and good works. Some time after the birth of the last of their children, Madelgar withdrew into the abbey of Haumont which he had founded, taking the name of Vincent.  Waldetrudis remained in the world two years longer than her husband and then she also withdrew, retiring into a very humble little house, built in accordance with her instructions, where she lived in poverty and simplicity. Her sister repeatedly invited her to join her at Maubeuge, but she wished for greater austerity than she could have at the abbey. Her solitude was so often broken in upon by those who centre of what is now the town of Mons. Throughout her life St Waldetrudis was greatly given to works of mercy, and she became celebrated for the miracles of healing which were wrought through her both before and after her death.

There are two Latin lives of St Waldetrudis the first, written in the ninth century, has only been printed in Analectes pour servir a l’histoire ecclésiastique déjà Belgique, vol. iv, pp. 218—231 the second, at one time wrongly attributed to Philip de Harveng, is in fact a later adaptation of the former. It has been printed in the Acta Sanctorum, April, vol. i, and by Mabillon. See especially L. Van der Essen, Saints Mérovingiens de Belgique, pp. 231—237, and Berlière, Monasticon Beige, vol. i, pp. 327—328.

Also known as Waltrude or Waudru, she was the daughter of Saints Walbert and Bertilia and sister of St. Aldegunus of Maubeuge. Marrying St. Vincent Madelgarius, she became the mother of saints Landericus, Madalberta, Adeltrudis, and Dentelin. When her husband chose to become a  monk about 643 in the monastery of Hautrnont, France, he had founded, she established a convent at Chateaulieu, around which grew up the town of Mons, Belgium.

688  Waltraud  Orthodoxe und Katholische Kirche: 9. April
Waltraud (Waldetrudis = kraftvolle Herrscherin oder starke Göttliche) stammte aus einem adligen Geschlecht. Ihre Mutter Bertila (Berthild) wurde ebenso als Heilige verehrt wie ihre Schwester Adelgundis (Gedenktag 30.1.), die das Kloster Maubeuge gründete. Waltraud heiratete den Grafen des Hennegau Vinzenz Madelgar (Gedenktag 14.7.) und gebar 4 Kinder, von denen drei (Landicus, Madelberta und Adeltrud) ebenfalls Heilige wurden. Ihr Ehemann und ihre Kinder gingen auf ihren Wunsch in Klöster, sie selber erbaute das Kloster Mons in Castrilocus und wurde dessen Äbtissin. Sie starb am 9.4. um das Jahr 688 und wurde in der Kathedrale von Mons bestattet. Waltraud ist Patronin von Mons.

Waldetrudis of Mons, OSB Widow (RM) (also known as Vaudru, Waltrude, Waudru)  Died April 9, c. 686-688. The family of Saint Waudru, patroness of Mons (Belgium), was amazingly holy, too. Both her parents (Walbert and Bertille) and her sister (Aldegund) were canonized. Her four children were also declared saints (Landericus, Dentelin, Aldetrude, and Madelberte) and so was her husband (Madelgaire).
Madelgaire was the count of Hennegau (Hainault), and one of the courtiers of King Dagobert I. After their children were born both he and Waudru longed to live lives totally devoted to meditation and prayer. He retired to an abbey he had founded at Haumont near Maubeuge, where he took the name Vincent. For two additional years, Waudru remained in the world, devoting herself to the care of the poor and the sick under the direction of Saint Gislenus.
After Madelgaire's death, Waudru received the religious veil from Saint Autbert in 656, built a tiny home for herself near Castriloc (Châteaulieu), and, giving away her possessions, lived there alone. Though she clung to her solitude, her great wisdom and piety meant that countless men and women pressed on her for advice. Eventually Waudru had so many followers that she was obliged to found her own convent at Châteaulieu. She dedicated this convent to the Mother of Jesus, and around it grew the present town of Mons. By the time of Waudru's death she had become famous not only for her charity but also for her miraculous powers of healing, her patience in the face of trials, continual fasting, and prayer. Her relics are considered the most precious treasure of the church that bears her name in Mons (Attwater, Benedictines, Bentley, Encyclopedia, Husenbeth, Walsh).
In art, Saint Waudru is depicted protecting her children under her mantle, offering her husband a crucifix, and refusing a crown of roses (Roeder). She is venerated in Mons (Roeder).

691 St. Begga daughter of Pepin of Landen mayor of the palace and St. Itta.
 Andániæ, apud Septem Ecclésias, in Bélgio, beátæ Beggæ Víduæ, quæ fuit soror sanctæ Gertrúdis.
     At Andenne, at the Seven Churches, blessed Begga, widow, the sister of St. Gertrude.
693 ST BEGGA, WIDOW
PEPIN of Landen, mayor of the palace to three Frankish kings, and himself commonly called Blessed, was married to a saint, Bd Itta or Ida, and two of their three children figure in the Roman Martyrology: St Gertrude of Nivelles and her elder sister, St Begga. Gertrude refused to marry and was an abbess soon after she was twenty, but Begga married Ansegisilus, son of St Arnulf of Metz, and spent practically the whole of her long life as a nobleman’s wife “in the world”. Of this union was born Pepin of Herstal, the founder of the Carlovingian dynasty in France. After the death of her husband, St Begga in 691 built at Andenne on the Meuse seven chapels representing the Seven Churches of Rome, around a central church, and in connection therewith she established a convent and colonized it with nuns from her long-dead sister’s abbey at Nivelles. It afterwards became a house of canonesses and the Lateran canons regular commemorate St Begga as belonging to their order. She is also venerated by the Béguines of Belgium as their patroness, but the common statement that she founded them is a mistake due to the similarity of the names. St Begga died abbess of Andenne and was buried there.
A life of St Begga, together with some collections of miracles, has been printed in Ghesquière, Acta Sanctorum Belgii, vol. v (1789), pp. 70—125 it is of little historical value. See also Berlière, Monasticon Belge, vol. i, pp. 66—63 and DHG., vol. ii, cc. 1559— 1560. There can he little doubt that the word beguinae, which we first meet about the year 1200 and which, as stated above, has nothing to do with St Begga, was originally a term of reproach used of the Albigensians: see the Dictionnaire de Spiritualité, vol. i, cc. 1341-1342.
She married Ansegilius, son of St. Arnulf of Metz, and their son was Pepin of Herstal, founder of the Carolingian dynasty of rulers in France. On the death of her husband in the year 691, she built a church and convent at Andenne on the Meuse River and died there. Her feast day is December 17th.
679 June 23 Saint Ethedlreda (Audrey) heaven sent seven day high tide founded the great abbey of Ely, where she lived an austere life body was found incorrupt
In monastério Elyénsi, in Británnia, sanctæ Ediltrúdis, Regínæ et Vírginis, quæ sanctitáte et miráculis clara migrávit ad Dóminum.  Ipsíus autem corpus, úndecim post annis, invéntum est incorrúptum.
    In England, in the monastery of Ely, St. Etheldreda, queen and virgin, who departed for heaven with a great renown for sanctity and miracles.  Her body was found without corruption eleven years afterwards. {and 500 years later still incorrupt}
{see history of Saint Etheldreda's Church in London:  Ely Productions circa 1992 Video by Father Kit Cunningham }

Etheldreda von Ely Orthodoxe, Katholische und Anglikanische Kirche: 23. Juni

ST ETHELDREDA, OR AUDREY, ABBESS OF ELY, WIDOW     (A.D. 679)
688  St. Richrudis Benedictine abbess forty years wed St. Adalbald 4 children Eusebia, Clotsind, Adalsind, and Mauront all became saints
688 ST RICTRUDIS, WIDOW
THE family of St Rictrudis was one of the most illustrious in Gascony, and her parents were devout as well as wealthy. In her father’s house when she was a young girl Rictrudis met one who was to be her director for a great part of her life. This was St Amandus, then an exile from the territory of King Dagobert, whose licentious conduct he had condemned; the prelate was evangelizing the Gascons, many of whom were still pagans. Later on there arrived another distinguished visitor in the person of St Adalbald, a young French nobleman in great favour with King Clovis. He obtained from his hosts the hand of Rictrudis in spite of the opposition of relations who viewed with disfavour any alliance with a Frank. The home to which Adalbald took his bride was Ostrevant in Flanders, and there four children were born to them— Mauront, Eusebia, Clotsind and Adalsind, all of whom, like their parents, were destined to be honoured in later times as saints.

After Adalbald was murdered by relatives in Gascony, she refused royal pressure to remarry and instead, with the help of St. Amandus, she became a nun at Marchiennes, Flanders, Belgium, a double monastery that she had founded. Rictrudis served as abbess for some forty years until her death. Adalsind and Clotsind joined her, and Mauront became a monk there too.

Rictrudis of Marchiennes, OSB Widow (AC) Born in Gascony; died 688. Saint Rictrudis was born into a noble Gascon family. She married Saint Adalbald, a Frankish nobleman serving king Clovis II, despite some opposition from her family. The couple had four children, all of whom are counted among the saints: SS Adalsindis, Clotsindis, Eusebia, and Maurontius.

After 16 year of a happy married life at Ostrevant, Flanders, Adalbald was murdered while visiting in Gascony by relatives of Rictrudis who disapproved of the match. After several years, King Clovis ordered her to marry, but with the aid of her old friend and spiritual advisor, Saint Amandus, Clovis relented and permitted her to become a nun at Marchiennes, Flanders--a double monastery that she had founded. Adalsindis and Clotsindis joined her, and sometime later Maurontius, on the point of marrying, left the court and became a monk there, too. Rictrudis ruled Marchiennes as abbess for 40 years (Benedictines, Delaney).
In art, Rictrudis holds a church in her hand. She may also be pictured with her children (Roeder).
  May 08 652 Blessed Ida of Nivelles built a double monastery at Nivelles OSB Widow (AC)
(also known as Itta, Iduberga) After the death of Blessed Pepin of Landen, his wife Ida built a double monastery at Nivelles. She and her younger daughter, Saint Gertrude entered the monastery, which was placed under the Benedictine Rule and governed by Gertrude (Benedictines). Several art historians give a stag with flaming horns as the emblem of Saint Ida of Nivelles, but it seems likely that this is a confusion with Ida of Toggenburg, whose proper attribute it is (Roeder). She is invoked against toothache and erysipelas
(Roeder).
659 St. Gertrude of Nivelles Benedictine abbess mystic gifted with visions
 Nivigéllæ, in Brabántia, sanctæ Gertrúdis Vírginis, quæ claríssimo genere orta, despíciens mundum et toto vitæ suæ cursu in ómnibus sanctitátis offíciis se exércens, Christum sponsum in cælis habére méruit.
       At Nivelle in Brabant, St. Gertrude, a virgin of noble birth.  Because she despised the world, and during her whole life practised all kinds of good works, she deserved to have Christ for her spouse in heaven.
Daughter of Blessed Pepin of Landen and Blessed Itta of Ida. Itta founded Nivelles Abbey and installed Gertrude as abbess in 639. Gertrude was a mystic, gifted with visions.  She befriended the Irish saints Foillian and Ultan. Gertrude is a patroness of travelers and gardeners.

659 ST GERTRUDE OF NIVELLES, VIRGIN
ST GERTRUDE, the younger daughter of Bd Pepin of Landen and of Bd Itta, Ida or Iduberga, was born at Landen in 626. She had a brother, Grimoald, who suc­ceeded his father, and a sister, St Begga, who married the son of St Arnulf of Metz. Gertrude was brought up carefully by her parents, who fostered her naturally religious disposition. When she was about ten years old, her father gave a feast at which he entertained King Dagobert and the chief nobles of Austrasia. One of these lords asked the monarch to bestow the hand of Gertrude on his son, who was present. Dagobert, no doubt thinking to please the little girl, sent for her and, pointing to the handsome young man in his brave attire, asked the child if she would like him for a husband. To his surprise Gertrude answered that she would never take him or any earthly bridegroom, as she wished to have Jesus Christ as her only lord and master. No one seems to have thought of overruling the girl’s deter­mination, which was indeed applauded by the king and the assembly.

Upon being left a widow, Bd Itta consulted St Amand, Bishop of Maestricht, as to how she and her daughter could best serve God, and by his advice began to build a double monastery at Nivelles. Lest any attempt should be made to interfere with Ger­trude’s vocation, her mother herself cut off her hair, shaving her head to the shape of a monk’s tonsure. As soon as the new foundation was ready both mother and daughter entered it, but Itta insisted upon making Gertrude superior, while she herself served under her daughter, though assisting her from time to time with her advice. The young abbess proved herself fully equal to the position. She won the respect not only of her nuns but of the many pilgrims of distinction who visited the house. Amongst the latter were St Foillan and St Ultan on their way from Rome to Péronne, where their brother St Fursey was buried. St Gertrude gave them land at Fosses on which to build a monastery and a hospice. Foillan became its abbot, but Ultan and some others were retained at Nivelles (according to Irish writers) in order to instruct the community in psalmody.

Bd Itta died in 652, and St Gertrude, feeling the charge of so large an establish­ment, committed much of the external administration to others. This gave her more time for the study of the Holy Scriptures and enabled her to add to her mortifications. So severely did she treat her body that by the time she was thirty she was worn out by fasting and want of sleep, and felt compelled to resign in favour of her niece Wulfetrudis, whom she had trained, but who was only twenty years old. The saint now began to prepare for death by increasing her devotions and disci­plines. Her biographer relates that once, when she was praying in church, a globe as of fire appeared above her head and lit up the building for half an hour.

Holy though she was, when the time of her departure approached she was afraid because of her unworthiness, and sent to ask St Ultan at Fosses whether he had had any revelation with regard to her. The holy man sent back word that she would die the following day while Mass was being celebrated, but that she need have no fear, for St Patrick with many angels and saints was waiting to receive her soul. St Gertrude rejoiced at the message, and on March 17, while the priest was saying the prayers before the preface, she rendered up her soul to God. In compliance with her wish she was buried in her hair-shirt without shroud or winding-sheet, and her head was wrapped in a worn-out veil which had been discarded by a passing nun.

St Gertrude has always been regarded as a patroness of travellers, probably owing to her care for pilgrims and to a miraculous rescue at sea of some of her monks who invoked her name in great peril. Before starting on a journey it was once the custom to drink a stirrup-cup to her honour, arid a special goblet, of old used for the purpose, is preserved at Nivelles with her relics, She came to be regarded also as a patroness of souls who, on a three days’ journey to the next world before the particular judgement, were popularly supposed to lodge the first night with St Gertrude and the second night with St Michael. The most constant emblem with which St Gertrude (who was widely invoked and a very popular saint in Belgium and the Netherlands for many centuries) is associated is a mouse. One or more mice are usually depicted climbing up her crozier or playing about her distaff. No really satisfactory explanation of this symbolism has ever been given, though many suggestions have been made—for example, that while Gertrude was spinning, the Devil in the form of a mouse used to gnaw her thread in order to provoke her to lose her temper. In any case she was specially invoked against mice and rats, and as late as 1822, when there was a plague of field-mice in the country districts of the Lower Rhine, a band of peasants brought an offering to a shrine of the saint at Cologne in the form of gold and silver mice. There may also have been some underlying transference to her of traits derived from the Freya or other pagan myths. St Gertrude is further invoked for good quarters on a journey and for gardens. Fine weather on her feast day is regarded as a favourable omen, and this day is treated in some districts as marking the beginning of the season of out-door garden work.

There is an early Latin Life of St Gertrude (which has been critically edited by B. Krusch in MGH., Scriptores Merov., vol. ii, pp. 447—474), as well as a number of other documents of which details will be found in the BHL., nn. 3490—3504. See also Mabillon and the Bollandist Acta Sanctorum. A full account of the folk lore connected with St Gertrude of Nivelles is provided in Bächtold-Stäubli, Handwörterbuch des deutschen Aberglaubens (1927), vol. iii, cc. 699—786, with a comprehensive bibliography and cf. Kunstle, Ikonographie der Heiligen, pp. 280—281. See also A, F. Stocq, Vie critique de ste Gertrude . . . (1031).

Gertrude of Nivelles, OSB Abbess (RM) Born at Landen in 626; died at Nivelles in 659. Saint Gertrude was the younger daughter of Blessed Pepin of Landen and Blessed Itta. Her sister Begga is also numbered among the saints.
At an early age she devoted herself to the religious life.
On the death of Pepin in 639 and on the advice of Saint Amand of Maastricht, Itta built a double monastery at Nivelles, where both mother and daughter retired. Gertrude was appointed abbess when she was judged old enough (about age 20). Although she was still very young, she discharged her responsibilities well with her mother's assistance. Gertrude was known for her hospitality pilgrims and her encouragement of and generous benefactions to the Irish missionary monks. She gave land to Saint Foillan, brother of Saint Fursey, on which he built the monastery of Fosses. She also helped the Irish Saint Ultan in his evangelizing efforts.

At age 30 (656), Gertrude resigned her office in favor of her niece, Saint Wilfetrudis, because she was weakened by her many austerities. She spent the rest of her days studying Scripture and doing penances. Gertrude is another of the medieval mystics who was gifted with visions, and like Saint Catherine of Siena died at the significant age of 33--the age of Our Lord at His death. The cultus of Saint Gertrude became widely spread in the Lowlands, neighboring countries, and England. A considerable body of folklore gathered around her name. Saint Gertrude is named in Saint Bede's martyrology (Attwater, Benedictines, Delaney, Encyclopedia, Farmer).

In art Gertrude is an abbess with mice (representing the souls in purgatory to whom she had a great devotion) running up her pastoral staff. Sometimes she is shown (1) holding a large mouse; (2) spinning or holding a distaff; or (3) with a cat near her (Roeder). As late as 1822, offerings of gold and silver mice were left at her shrine in Cologne (Farmer).

Saint Gertrude is the patron saint of gardeners because fine weather on her feast day meant it was time to begin spring planting. Her patronage of travellers comes from her hospitality toward them (Delaney). Pilgrims used to drink a stirrup-cup in her honor before setting out. As an extension, she was also invoked as a patroness of those who had recently died, who were popularly supposed to experience a three-day journey to the next world. It was supposed that they spent the first night under the care of Gertrude, and the second under Saint Michael the Archangel. She is invoked against rats and mice (Farmer).

680 St. Bathildis Queen and foundress Benedictine convent at Chelles, St. Denis Monastery and Corbie
680 Eusebia of Hamay, OSB, Abbess wise and capable, re-establishing discipline as in the days of St Gertrude, (AC)
680 ST EUSEBIA, ABBESS
ST EUSEBIA was the eldest daughter of St Adalbald of Ostrevant and of St Rictrudis. After the murder of her husband, Rictrudis retired to the convent of Marchiennes with her two younger daughters, and sent Eusebia to the abbey of Hamage, of which her great-grandmother St Gertrude was abbess. Eusebia was only twelve years old when St Gertrude died, but she was elected her successor, in compliance with her dying wishes and in accordance with the custom of the times, which required that the head of a religious house should, when possible, be of noble birth, so that the community should have the protection of a powerful family in tithes of disturbance. St Rictrudis, who was now abbess of Marchiennes, not unnaturally considered Eusebia far too young to have charge of a community, and bade her come to Marchiennes with all her nuns. The little abbess was loath to comply, but she obeyed, and arrived with her community and with the body of St Gertrude, when the two communities were merged into one and all settled down happily, except Eusebia. The memory of Hamage haunted her, until one night she and some of her nuns stole out and made their way to the abandoned buildings, where they said office and lamented over the non-fulfilment of St Gertrude’s last in­junctions. Though this escapade did not go unpunished, St Rictrudis, finding that her daughter was still longing for Hamage, consulted the bishop and other devout men, who advised her to yield to Eusebia’s wishes. She therefore consented to her return and despatched her back with all her nuns. She had no reason to regret her action for the young abbess proved herself wise and capable, re-establishing discipline as in the days of St Gertrude, whom she strove to imitate in all things. No special incidents appear to have marked Eusebia’s afterlife. She was only in her fortieth year when she had a premonition of her impending end, and gathering her nuns round her, gave them her parting instructions and blessing. As she finished speaking a great light spread throughout her room and almost immediately her soul ascended to Heaven.

See the Acta Sanctorum, March, vol. ii; Destombes, Vies des Saints de Cambrai, i, pp. 349-343 and Analecta Bollandiana, vol. xx (1901), pp 461—463.
The eldest daughter of Saints Adalbald and Rictrudis, Saint Eusebia was placed by her mother in the abbey of Hamage (Hamay) which had been founded by her grandmother Saint Gertrude. When Saint Eusebia succeeded as abbess at the age of 12, her mother objected and summoned her daughter to Marchiennes. Eusebia and her entire community answered her mother and moved to Marchiennes. Later they were allowed to return to Hamage, where Eusebia continued to rule her convent in peace (Attwater2, Benedictines, Encyclopedia).
688 St. Waldetrudis ist Patronin von Mons 7 saints in family became celebrated for the miracles of healing which were wrought through her both before and after her death:  April 9 fast day
703 Ermengild of Ely wholly devoted to God, OSB, Widow (AC)
723 St. Oda  Widow and servant of the poor
Originally a French princess wife of the duke of Aquitaine, she committed her life to aiding the poor after her husband’s death
.
725 July 04 St. Bertha Benedictine widow and abbess entered the convent she had founded at Blangy, in Artois, France. Two of her daughters joined her in the religious life. Bertha served as the abbess for a time and also lived as a recluse.
  730 Dec 24 St. Adele Widow Abbess ruling with holiness prudence compassion
 Tréviris sanctæ Irmínæ Vírginis, fíliæ Dagobérti Regis.       At Treves, St. Irmina, virgin, daughter of King Dagobert.

710 SS. IRMINA, VIRGIN, AND ADELA (734), WIDOW
ACCORDING to the tradition the Princess Irmina, called a daughter of St Dagobert II, was to have been married to a Count Herman. All preparations had been made for the wedding at Trier when one of the princess’s officers, who was himself in love with her, inveigled Herman to a steep cliff outside the town and there threw his rival and himself over the edge. After this tragic end to her hopes Irmina obtained her father’s permission to become a nun. Dsgobert founded or restored for her a convent near Trier. St Irmina was a zealous supporter of the missionary labours of St Willibrord, and in 698 gave him the manor on which he founded his famous monastery of Echternach. This gift is said to have been in recognition of his having miraculously stayed an epidemic that was devastating her nunnery, and is about the only thing that seems certain concerning Irmina.

St Adela, another daughter of Dagobert II, became a nun after the death of her husband, Alberic. She is probably the widow Adula, who about 691—692 was living at Nivelles with her little son, the future father of St Gregory of Utrecht. She founded a monastery at Palatiolum, now Pfalzel, near Trier ; she became its first abbess and governed it in holiness for many years. Adela seems to have been among the disciples of St Boniface, and a letter in his correspondence from Abbess Aelitled of Whitby to an Abbess Adola is addressed to her. St Irmina is mentioned in the Roman Martyrology, but the cultus accorded popularly to St Adela has not been confirmed and she is not venerated liturgically. 

The story of Irmina’s early life, recounted only by the monk Thiofrid nearly 400 years after her death, is probably quite fabulous. There is evidence that part of it is based upon a forged charter. The Latin Life of St Irmina, edited by Weiland in MGH., Scriptores, vol. xxiii, pp. 48—50, is, however, the work of Thiofrid, and not of Theodoric nearly a century later. See for all this the Analecta Bollandiana, vol. viii (1889), pp. 285—286 and also C. Wampach, Grundherrschaft Echternach, vol. i, Pt (1929), pp. 113—135, and cf. the documents printed in Pt ii (1930). On Adela consult DHGr vol. i, c. 525. See further, E. Ewig in St Bonifatius (1954), p. 418 and C. Wampach, "Irmina von Oeren und ihre Familie" in Trierer Zeitschrift, vol. iii (1928), pp. 144-~I54.  

Daughter of King Dagobert II of Germany St. Adele became a nun upon the death of her husband, making provisions for her son, the future father of St. Gregory of Utrecht (707/708- d. 775/780). She founded a convent at Palatiolum near Trier and became its first Abbess, ruling with holiness, prudence, and compassion.
St. Adele seems to have been among the disciples of St. Boniface (5 June, 755/(754)), the Apostle of Germany, and a letter in his correspondence is addressed to her.
After a devout life filled with good works and communion with God, she passed on to her heavenly reward.

Adela of Pfalzel, OSB Abbess, Widow (PC) Born c. 710; died c. 730. Abbess Adela, founder of Pfalzel (Palatiolum) Convent near Trèves (Trier, Germany), was a daughter of Saint Dagobert II, king of the Franks, and a sister of Saint Irmina. She became a nun after the death of her husband. She may be the widow "Adula," who is said to have been living at Nivelles with her young son--the future father of Saint Gregory of Utrecht. Adela was also a disciple of Saint Boniface (Benedictines, Encyclopedia).

734 St. Kentigerna Widowed hermitess mother St. Coellan daughter of Kelly -- Jan 07
  734 St. Kentigerna Widowed hermitess mother St. Coellan daughter of Kelly
the prince of Leinster, Ireland. When her husband died she went to Inchebroida Island in Loch Lomond, Scotland. A church there is dedicated to her memory.

 780 May 13 St. Mella Widow abbess
She was the mother of St. Cannech and Tigernach, and lived in Connaught, Ireland. She became the abbess of Doire­Melle, Leitrim
.
785 St. Werburg Widow abbess
 
820 St. Anne a widow, born in Constantinople; Also called Euphemianus. Oct 29
860 Athanasia of Constantinople Matron married twice reluctantly turned their home into a convent venerated by Empress Theodora;  celebrated for monastical observance and the gift of miracles. (RM)
864 St. Laura widowed; martyr. Born in Cordova; murdered by Moors
864 Oct 19 St. Laura widowed; martyr. Born in Cordova; murdered by Moors
St. Laura died in Spain, she became a nun at Cuteclara after she was widowed, and was scalded to death by her Moorish captors. Laura of Córdova, Abbess M (AC) Born in Córdova, Spain. In her widowhood Laura became a nun at Cuteclara, then its abbess. She was martyred by the Moorish conquerors who threw her into a cauldron of boiling pitch or molten lead (Benedictines, Encyclopedia).
895 St. Richardis Empress and wife of Emperor Charles the Fat
986 January 06 St. Wiltrudis Widow Benedictine nun wife of Duke Berthold - Bavaria.
she became a nun after her husband's death (c. 947) and founded the convent of Bergen, near Neuburg, Germany, on the Danube about 976. She was well-known for her goodness and her abilities as an artisan.

986 ST WILTRUDIS, WIDOW
RADERUS in his Bavaria Sancta describes Wiltrudis as a maiden who obtained the consent of her brother, Count Ortulf, to refuse the proposals of marriage, which had been made for her. The truth, however, appears to be that she was the wife of Berthold, Duke of Bavaria, who, after her husband’s death, about the year 947, became a nun. Even in the world she had been renowned for her piety and for her skill in handicrafts. After she gave herself to God her fervour redoubled and she eventually founded, about 976, an abbey of Benedictine nuns that became famous as that of Bergen, or Baring, bei Neuburg. She became the first abbess, and died about 986.

See Rietzler, Geschichte Bayerns, vol. i, pp. 338 and 381 and Raderus, Bavaria Sancta, vol. iii, p. 137.

968 Mar 14 St. Matilda piety charitable works Patron of parents of large families; At Halberstadt in Germany, death of blessed Queen Matilda, mother of Emperor Otto I, renowned for humility and patience.
the queen proceeded to make a deed of gift of everything in her room until she was told that there was nothing left but the linen which was to serve as a winding-sheet. “Give that to Bishop William of Mainz”, she said designating her grandson. “He will need it first.” He actually die
999 December 16 ST ADELAIDE, WIDOW; regent generous Throughout her life she had shown herself and forgiving to enemies, and amenable to the wise guidance in turn of St Adalbert of Magdeburg, St Majolus and St Odilo of Cluny, who called her “a marvel of beauty and grace”. She founded and restored monasteries of monks and nuns, and was urgent for the conversion of the Slavs, whose movements on the eastern frontier troubled her closing years before she finally returned to Burgundy.
1024 February 05 Agatha Hildegard of Carinthia converted husband before his death Widow (PC)
Saint Agatha is highly venerated in Carinthia. She was the wife of Paul, the local count, and a model of devotion to her domestic duties and of patience under the brutal ill-treatment of her jealous husband, whom she converted before his death (Benedictines, Encyclopedia).

1040 St. Cunegundes Empress Patron of Lithuania virgin
1045 ST EMMA, WIDOW founded the abbey of Gurk; devoted her possessions and her life to the service of God and
        of her fellow creatures. Besides giving alms liberally to the poor, she founded several religious houses,
1105 Blessed Aleth of Dijon  Mother of Saint Bernard Widow (PC)
(also known as Alethe, Aleidis, Aleydis, Alice) and many other holy children
Aleth was the daughter of the lord of Montbard and wife of Tecolin (Benedictines, Encyclopedia). Her relics were at the Abbey of Saint Benignus in Dijon, France, in 1110, and transferred to Clairvaux in 1250 (Roeder).
In art, Christ appears to Saint Aleth as she receives viaticum. Sometimes she is shown standing with her son, Saint Bernard (Roeder).

1107 Mar 14 St Paulina of Zell founded the double abbey of Zell  OSB Widow (AC)
Died at Münsterschwarzach, Germany. Upon the death of her husband, the German princess Paulina and her son, Werner, founded the double abbey of Zell, known as Paulinzelle (Benedictines).

1113 April 12 Blessed Ida of Boulogne descendent of Blessed Charlemagne Benedictine oblate Widow (AC)
1113 Blessed Ida of Boulogne, Widow  Died . Ida, daughter of Duke Godfrey IV (Dode) of Lorraine, descendent of Blessed Charlemagne. (AC)
At age 17, she became the wife of Count Eustace II of Boulogne. She was the mother of Godfrey and Baldwin de Bouillon.
After husband's death, Ida endowed several monasteries in Picardy, became a Benedictine oblate under obedience of the abbot of Saint Vaast (Attwater2, Benedictines, Encyclopedia, Gill).

1175 April 19 St. Helen of Skovde Widow; gave all her possessions to the poor; Like Jesus, the innocent Lamb, St. Helen was put to death; many miracles were reported at her tomb,
1175 St. Helen of Skovde Widow; gave all her possessions to the poor; Like Jesus, the innocent Lamb, St. Helen was put to death; many miracles were reported at her tomb,
Born in Vastergotland, Sweden, in the twelfth century. She belonged to a noble family. However, after the death of her husband, she gave all her possessions to the poor. Following this, Helen made a pilgrimage to Rome. When she returned home, she found herself accused of involvement in the death of her son-in-law. It was later proved that the deed had been perpetrated by mistreated servants, but by that time, Helen had been executed. Following Helen's death, many miracles were reported at her tomb, and public devotion to her was approved in 1164, just four years after her death. Like Jesus, the innocent Lamb, St. Helen was put to death. Her goodness was preserved through the manifestation of God's power at her tomb.
Although we may be suspect but innocent here in this life, God will provide sure justice hereafter.
Helen of Skövde (Sköfde), Widow M (AC) Died c. 1145-1160; canonized in 1164 by Alexander III. Saint Sigfrid, apostle of Sweden, brought the noble matron Helen of Vastergötland to the faith. When she was widowed at a youthful age, she dedicated her wealth to the service of the poor and the Church. Thereafter, Helen made a pilgrimage to Rome (or the Holy Land), and upon her return she was murdered as the result of a family feud--her son-in-law's relatives believed that she had plotted to kill him. Helen was buried at Skövde in the church which she had built and was canonized on the strength of the miracles that occurred there. Until the Reformation, Saint Helen was highly honored in Sweden and on the isle of Zeeland in Denmark, which claimed some of her relics. Her body was richly enshrined in a church dedicated to her eight miles from Copenhagen. There a miraculous well, called Saint Lene Kild or Saint Helen's Well, still draws even Lutherans.
Helen is regarded as the patroness of Vastergötland and, by some, of all Sweden (Benedictines, Encyclopedia, Farmer, Husenbeth).
1176 Blessed Clementia of Oehren, OSB Widow (AC)
Clementia, the daughter of Count Adolph of Hohenburg, was a model wife until the death of her husband. Thereafter she became a nun at Oehren in Trier, Germany (Benedictines).

1213 June 23 Blessed Mary (Marie) d'Oignies turned their house into a leper hospital, and tended the sick miraculously "see the Blessed Sacrament", Widow (AC) able to discern the past history of relics (hierognosis, psychometry).
BD MARY OF OIGNIES, VIRGIN     (A.D. 1213)
THE life of Mary of Oignies was written by Cardinal James de Vitry, who had been her friend, her disciple, and probably at one time her confessor. It was through her influence that he had been led to take holy orders; but, when expatiating upon her virtues, he warns his readers that her example is not one to be recommended for general imitation.
She was born of wealthy parents at Nivelles in Brabant, and, though all her aspirations were directed towards the religious life, her parents as soon as she was fourteen gave her in marriage to a worthy young man of good position. If they anticipated that he would induce her to adopt a more conventional outlook, they were soon disillusioned; for Mary, young as she was, acquired a great ascendancy over her husband. At her persuasion he consented not only that they should undertake to live in continency, but also that her house should be turned into a hospital for lepers. The young couple nursed their patients with their own hands, sometimes sitting up with them all night, and distributed alms so lavishly and indiscriminately as to call forth the remonstrances of relations on both sides. These activities did not prevent Mary from practising great austerities. She used the discipline freely, wore a rough rope-girdle next to her skin, and stinted herself of food and sleep. We are told that throughout an exceptionally rigorous winter, from Martinmas until Easter, she spent every night in a church, lying on the bare ground without extra wraps of any kind, and that she never suffered as much as a headache in consequence. In her home, when engaged in spinning or other sedentary manual work, she did her best to avoid distractions by keeping before her an open psalter, upon which she could cast her eyes from time to time. Her biographer lays stress on her abnormal tearfulness, which he and others regarded as a spiritual grace. Even if in these days we should be more disposed to treat it as the physical reaction from the nervous strain to which she subjected her body, it must not be forgotten that the gift of tears was deemed by many to be a mark of true compunction of heart. To the present time a set of collects, pro petitione lacrymarum, stands in the Roman Missal, and St Ignatius Loyola, from a fragment still preserved of his spiritual diary, evidently regarded the days on which he did not shed tears during Mass as a time of desolation when God, so to speak, averted His face. Mary herself maintained that weeping relieved and refreshed her.
 
The fame of the sanctity of the holy ascetic attracted many visitors, few of whom left her without being edified and helped by her admonitions or counsels; but a few years before her death she felt the call to retire into solitude. With the consent of her husband she accordingly left Willambroux, and took up her residence in a cell close beside the Austin canons' monastery at Oignies. She had in the past had many visions and ecstasies; now she seemed to be constantly surrounded by the denizens of Heaven. She died at the age of thirty-eight, on June 23, 1213, after a long and painful illness, which she had long foreseen.
What is perhaps most remarkable about Mary of Oignies is the fact that she and a group of mystics in the Netherlands, notably the Beguines, seem to have anticipated by some few years that change in the spirit of Catholic devotion which is commonly considered to date from the Franciscan movement. Cardinal James de Vitry, in his preface to the Life of Bd Mary, appeals to Bishop Fulk of Toulouse, who had himself been an eye-witness of the extraordinary wave of affective piety of which Belgium was then the nucleus. He undoubtedly had Mary of Oignies most prominently in mind when he addressed Bishop Fulk in these terms:
I well remember your speaking to me of having left the Egypt of your own diocese, and after passing over a weary desert, of your finding in the country of Liege the promised land....You found, too, as I have heard you say with joy, many holy women amongst us, who mourned more over one venial sin than the people of your own country would have done over a thousand mortal ones ...You saw large bands of these holy women, despising earthly delights and the riches of this world through their longing desire after a heavenly kingdom, and clinging to the Eternal Spouse by the bands of poverty and humility. You found them earning a poor subsistence by the work of their hands, and though their parents abounded in wealth, yet preferring to forget their own people and their father's house, and endure the straits of poverty, rather than enjoy ill-gotten affluence.
A tender devotion to the passion of our Lord was specially characteristic of the movement, and it must be remembered that when Mary wept so copiously that, as Vitry says, "her steps might be traced in the church she was walking in by her tears on the pavement", these tears, so he goes on to tell us, "were poured forth from the wine-press of the Passion", and that “from this time she could not for a long while either look at a crucifix, or speak of the Passion, or even hear others speak of it, without fainting".
Equally remarkable was that anticipation of devotion to our Lord's real presence in the Blessed Sacrament of which, up to this date, there is little trace in the devotional literature. But of Mary of Oignies James de Vitry says: "Sometimes she was permitted to take rest in her cell; but at other times, especially when some great festival was approaching, she could find no rest except in the presence of Christ in the church."
Further, any doubt which might be felt as to the meaning of the words, "in the presence of Christ in the church", seems to be dispelled by an examination of that other brief account of Mary of Oignies, written by Thomas of Cantimpré, which the Bollandists have printed as an appendix to James de Vitry's biography. In this other narrative reference is made to a very wealthy man who was in some sense a convert of Mary's. She told him, we learn, at a time when he was in great spiritual distress, "to go into the church near by"; whereupon he obeyed, and "falling on his knees before the holy altar, directed his mental gaze intently upon the pyx containing the Body of Christ, which hung above it". It then seemed to him in a sort of vision that the pyx three times over moved from its place, came through the air in his direction where he knelt praying, and remained stationary close in front of him. When this happened for the third time, he was rapt out of his senses and held secret communion with God.
The following passage, bearing in mind the date to which it belongs, is in many ways interesting :
Mary's comfort and great delight, till she arrived at the land of promise, was the manna of life which comes down from Heaven. The sacred Bread strengthened her heart, and the heavenly Wine inebriated and gladdened her soul. She was filled with the holy food of Christ's flesh, and His life-giving blood cleansed and purified her. This was the only comfort she could not endure to be without. To receive Christ's body was the same thing with her as to live, and to die was, in her mind, to be separated from her Lord by not partaking of his Blessed Sacrament.... The saying, "Unless a man eat the Flesh...", so far from being a hard one to her, as it was to the Jews, was most sweet and comforting; since she experienced not only all interior delight and consolation from receiving Him, but even a sensible sweetness in her mouth, like the taste of honey....And as her thirst for the life-giving Blood of her Lord was so great that she could not bear it, she sometimes entreated that, at least, the bare chalice might be left on the altar after Mass, that she might feast her sight with it.
Mary was also one of the earliest mystics of whom are recorded, in some detail, examples of what we should now be tempted to call psychic gifts. She is said to have known, in certain cases, what was taking place at a distance, she had strange premonitions about the future, and she was believed to be able to discern the past history of relics (hierognosis, psychometry). James de Vitry was undoubtedly speaking of himself when he related her inexplicable knowledge of the details of what passed when "a friend of hers" was ordained in Paris.
It is important to remember that James de Vitry is a most reliable witness. Not only had he spent some five years, from 1208 to her death in 1213, in Mary's company, but his whole career and his writings prove him to have been a man of scrupulous integrity and of sober judgement. He always regarded Mary as his spiritual mother, and considered himself to have been highly honoured by the fact that she looked upon him as her special “preacher" and identified herself with his apostolic work. The biography of Mary seems to have been written shortly after her death and before James became a cardinal, but he retained his devotion to her and to Oignies until the end of his days. She always declared that he had been given to her in answer to her prayers that since she, on account of her sex, could not teach the faithful and draw them to God, she might do it by deputy. There was certainly a great bond between them, and during her last sickness she prayed for him continually, begging first of all that God would so preserve him that when he came to die she might offer up his soul as one which God had entrusted to her and which she restored with usury. She mentioned all the trials and temptations and even the sins of "her preacher", which he had formerly been guilty of, and then prayed God to keep him from such for the time to come. The prior, who knew his conscience from hearing his confessions, heard her repeat all this; so he went to him and asked him whether he had told the saint all his sins, for, he added, in the course of her singing she has related all that you have done, just as if she had read it out of a book. "Singing" refers to the extraordinary rapture of Mary's last days when she spoke in Romance rhythmical prose, or possibly verse.
Even the physical conditions under which she lived were extraordinary. Thus we are told that “in the depth of winter she needed no material fire to keep off the cold, but even when the frost was so severe as to turn all the water into ice, she, wonderful to say, burned so in spirit that her body partook of the warmth of her soul, especially in time of prayer; so that sometimes she even perspired, and her clothes were scented with a sweet aromatic fragrance. Oftentimes also the smell of her clothes was like the smell of incense, while prayers were ascending from the thurible of her heart."
One would suspect such statements, if they depended merely on tradition.
But James de Vitry was there himself, and he was undoubtedly a devout and honest man, who told the truth fearlessly.
Practically speaking all that is known of the life of Mary of Oignies will be found in the Acta Sanctorum, June, vol. v. To the text of the biography by Cardinal James de Vitry the Bollandists have appended a certain supplementary notice by Thomas de Cantimpré. There is an excellent translation of Vitry printed in the Oratorian series of Lives of the Saints: it is included in the second volume of the Life of St Jane Frances de Chantal (1852). See also P. Funk Jakob van Vitry (1909), pp. 113-130; and on Oignies, U. Berlière, Monasticon BeIge, vol. i, pp. 451-452. Further, there is an article in The Month, June, 1922, pp. 526-537, by Fr Thurston, from which much of what is written above has been borrowed. An important study of Mary by R. Hanon de Louvet was reviewed in Analecta Bollandiana, vol. lxxi (1953), pp. 481-485. Bd Mary had influence on the founding of the Canons Regular of the Holy Cross (Crosiers) by Theodore of Celles, at Clair-Lieu, near Huy, in 1211.

Born at Nivelles, Belgium, c. 1177; died in Oignies, Belgium, in 1213. Marie d'Oignies was only 14 when she married, but she persuaded her husband not to consummate the marriage. They lived together as brother and sister. They then turned their house into a leper hospital, and tended the sick there. Finally, Marie became a recluse in a cell near the church of Oignies, where she was favored by supernatural charismata. In a near contemporary biography, Marie d'Oignes, is said to have had a similar intense contemplation of the Passion 12 years before that of St. Francis. Wounds were detected on her body when it was washed at her death; however, it is not possible to know whether these were self- inflicted or of mystical origin. Marie could miraculously "see the Blessed Sacrament"


Marie's relics were placed in a silver shrine behind the altar at Oignies, a monastery of canons regular in the diocese of Namur. He vita was written by Cardinal James of Vitry, once a canon regular in that monastery, afterwards bishop of Acon in Palestine, and later of Tusculum. Her name is inserted in the calendars of several churches in Flanders, in some of which she has been honored with an office (Benedictines, Harrison, Martindale).

In art, Blessed Marie is pictured as a recluse visited by an angel. She may sometimes be shown (1) with an angel by her side; (2) spinning or praying in her cell; (3) interceding for the souls in purgatory; or (4) as the Virgin spreads her mantle over her to protect her from rain (Roeder).
She is invoked by women in childbirth and against fever (Roeder).
1228 BD JUTTA OF HUY, Jan 13 Widow an extraordinary power of reading the thoughts of others, and apparently a knowledge of distant events; she also displayed the greatest charity in directing and helping the many souls who came to consult her in her anchorage.
1247 May 16 St. Margaret of Cortona established a hospital and founded a congregation of tertiary sisters devoted to the Eucharist and the passion of Jesus

b. 1297 Some people have called Margaret the Mary Magdalene of the Franciscan movement.
Margaret was born of farming parents in Laviano, Tuscany. Her mother died when Margaret was seven; life with her stepmother was so difficult that Margaret moved out. For nine years she lived with Arsenio, though they were not married, and she bore him a son. In those years, she had doubts about her situation.
Somewhat like St. Augustine she prayed for purity—but not just yet.

One day she was waiting for Arsenio and was instead met by his dog. The animal led Margaret into the forest where she found Arsenio murdered. This crime shocked Margaret into a life of penance. She and her son returned to Laviano, where she was not well received by her stepmother.
They then went to Cortona, where her son eventually became a friar.

There she established a hospital and founded a congregation of tertiary sisters. The poor and humble Margaret was, like Francis, devoted to the Eucharist and to the passion of Jesus. These devotions fueled her great charity and drew sinners to her for advice and inspiration. She was canonized in 1728.

Comment Seeking forgiveness is sometimes difficult work. It is made easier by meeting people who, without trivializing our sins, assure us that God rejoices over our repentance. Being forgiven lifts a weight and prompts us to Quote: "Let us raise ourselves from our fall and not give up hope as long as we free ourselves from sin.
Jesus Christ came into this world to save sinners. ‘O come, let us worship and bow down, let us kneel before the LORD, our Maker!’ (Psalm 95:6). The Word calls us to repentance, crying out: ‘Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens and I will give you rest’ (Matthew 11:28). There is, then, a way to salvation if we are willing to follow it" (Letter of Saint Basil the Great).acts of charity. In 1277, three years after her conversion, Margaret became a Franciscan tertiary. Under the direction of her confessor, who sometimes had to order her to moderate her self-denial, she pursued a life of prayer and penance at Cortona.

1260 May 05 St. Jutta Widowed noblewoman of Thuringia noted for visions and miracles
1261 Blessed Ela foundress monastery of Carthusians convent of Augustinians nuns, Widow (PC)
1261 Blessed  Ela foundress monastery of Carthusians convent of Augustinians nuns, Widow Feb 01 Feast day
1268 Bl. Salomea princess became a Franciscan tertiary; did her best to make her court a model of Christian life; founding a convent of Poor Clares; 28 yrs a Poor Clare; abbess
1268 BD SALOME, WIDOW
SOME time about the year 1205 Bd Vincent Kadlubek, Bishop of Cracow, was commissioned to take a child of three years old to the court of King Andrew II of Hungary. She was Salome, daughter of Leszek the Fair of Poland, who had arranged a marriage for her with Andrew’s son, Koloman. Ten years later the marriage was solemnized. But Salome lived more like a nun than a princess she became a tertiary of the Franciscan Order, and did her best to make her court a model of Christian life. About 1225 Koloman was killed in battle. Salome continued to live in the world for some years, being a liberal benefactress of the Friars Minor and founding a convent of Poor Clares, to which she herself retired eventually. She was a nun for twenty-eight years, and was elected abbess of the community. Bd Salome died on November 17, 1268, and her cultus was approved by Pope Clement X.
There is a medieval Latin life printed in the Monumenta Poloniae Historica, vol. iv, pp. 776—796 and some account in Wadding, Annales Ord. Min., vol. iii, pp. 353—355 and vol. iv, pp. 284—285. See also Leon, Aureole Seraphique (Eng. trans.), vol. iv, pp. 71—74.
The daughter of a Polish prince, she was betrothed at the age of three to Prince Coloman of Hungary, son of King Andrew II. She became a widow in 1241 when Coloman was killed in battle. She then entered the Poor Clares, founding a convent at Zawichost (later moved to Skala). She later became the abbess of the convent and died there on November 17. She was beatified in 1673.
1262 Blessed Beatrix II of Este founded Benedictine convent of Saint Antony at Ferrara (AC)

1300 May 06 Blessed Bonizella Piccolomini; Widow, devoted herself and all her wealth to service of the poor (PC)
When Naddo Piccolomini died, his Sienese wife Bonizella devoted herself and all her wealth to the service of the poor in the district of Belvederio, Italy
(Benedictines).
June 12 1298 Blessed Jolenta (Yolanda) of Poland daughter of Bela IV, King of Hungary. Her sister, St. Kunigunde miracles, down to our own day, occurr at her grave
1299 BD JOLENTA OF HUNGARY, WIDOW
JOLENTA, or Helena as she is called by the Poles, was one of four sisters who are honoured with the title of Blessed. They were the daughters of Bela IV, King of Hungary, the nieces of St Elizabeth, the great-nieces of St Hedwig, and lineal descendants of the Hungarian kings St Stephen and St Ladislaus.
   When she was five years old, Jolenta was committed to the care of her elder sister, Bd Cunegund, or Kinga, who had married Boleslaus II, King of Poland. Under their fostering care, the little girl grew up a pattern of virtue. She became the wife of Duke Boleslaus of Kalisz, with whom she spent a happy married life. Both of them were addicted to good works, and together they made various religious foundations. Jolenta was beloved by all, but especially by the poor, for whom she had a tender love. After the death of her husband, as soon as she had settled two of her daughters, she retired with the third and with Bd Cunegund, now, like herself, a widow, into the convent of Poor Clares which Cunegund had established at Sandeck. Jolenta's later years, however, were spent at Gnesen as superior of the convent of which she had been the foundress. She died there in 1299.

See J. B. Prileszky, Acta Sanctorum Hungariae, vol. ii, Appendix, pp. 54-55; Hueber, Menologium Franciscanum, p. 918; and cf. the bibliography attached to Bd Cunegund on July 24.
She was married to the Duke of Poland. Jolenta was sent to Poland where her sister was to supervise her education. Eventually married to Boleslaus, the Duke of Greater Poland, Jolenta was able to use her material means to assist the poor, the sick, widows and orphans. Her husband joined her in building hospitals, convents and churches so that he was surnamed "the Pious."
Upon the death of her husband and the marriage of two of her daughters, Jolenta and her third daughter entered the convent of the Poor Clares. War forced Jolenta to move to another convent where, despite her reluctance, she was made abbess.
So well did she serve her Franciscan sisters by word and example that her fame and good works continued to spread beyond the walls of the cloister. Her favorite devotion was the Passion of Christ. Indeed, Jesus appeared to her, telling her of her coming death. Many miracles, down to our own day, are said to have occurred at her grave.
Comment: Jolenta’s story begins like a fairy tale. But fairy tales seldom include the death of the prince and never end with the princess living out her days in a convent. Nonetheless, Jolenta’s story has a happy ending. Her life of charity toward the poor and devotion to her Franciscan sisters indeed brought her to a “happily ever after.” Our lives may be short on fairy-tale elements, but our generosity and our willingness to serve well the people we live with lead us toward an ending happier than we can imagine.

1305 March 21 Blessed Santuccia Terrebotti Benedictine abbess OSB Widow (AC)
1305 Blessed Santuccia Terrebotti Benedictine abbess OSB Widow (AC).

1305 BD SANTUCCIA, MATRON
THE picturesque town of Gubbio in Umbria was the birthplace of Santuccia Terrebotti. She married a good man and they had one daughter, called Julia, who died young. The bereaved parents thereupon decided to retire from the world and to devote the rest of their days to God in the religious life. For some time Santuccia ruled a community of Benedictine nuns in Gubbio, but upon receiving the offer of the buildings which had once been occupied by the Templars on the Julian Way, she transferred herself and her sisters to Rome. There she inaugurated a community of Benedictine nuns who called themselves Servants of Mary, but were popularly known as Santuccie. The cultus of Bd Santuccia has never been confirmed.

See Garampi, Memorie ecclesiastiche; Spicilegium Benedictinum (1898), vol. ii; and Acta Sanctorum, March, vol. iii.

Born in Gubbio, Umbria, Italy; Santuccia married and bore a daughter who died young. She and her husband mutually agreed to separate and enter religious life. She became a Benedictine at Gubbio and rose to be an abbess. Under her the community migrated to Santa Maria in Via Lata, on the Julian Way, Rome. There she inaugurated a stricter adherence to live the Benedictine Rule, although the sisters are usually called the Servants of Mary, popularly called Le Santuccie (Attwater2, Benedictines).
1309 St. Aldo (Aldobrandesca) Widow she gave away all possessions ministering to sick visions  almsdeeds and mortification and ecstasies Siena (also known as Aldobrandesca, Aude, Blanca, Bruna)
1309 BD ALDA, OR ALDOBRANDESCA, Widow won the veneration of all, and many were the cures attributed to her ministrations.

THE tomb of Bd Alda was formerly a great centre of devotion in the church of St Thomas at Siena. She was a matron of good position who, upon finding herself a childless widow, retired into a little house outside the walls of Siena. There she devoted herself to almsgiving, and by mortifications tried to fill up the chalice of the sufferings of Christ. She had many visions in which she beheld scenes in the earthly life of our Lord. Gradually she gave away all her possessions and finally she determined to sacrifice her solitude, and went to live in the hospital that she might devote herself to nursing the sick poor. She still continued to be subject to ecstasies.
   When first she was seen in a state of trance resembling catalepsy, some members of the staff were sceptical and scoffed—even going so far as to pinch her, pierce her with needles, and apply lighted candles to her hands. When she recovered consciousness she felt intense pain from the wounds thus made, but all she said to her tormentors was, “God forgive you”. The experiments were not repeated. Before her death Bd Alda won the veneration of all, and many were the cures attributed to her ministrations.

A short life was published in 1584 by C. Lombardelli this has been translated into Latin and printed in the Acta Sanctorum, April, vol. iii.
Born in Siena, Italy, 1249; Blessed Alda married a very pious man and lived with him in conjugal continence. Upon his death, Alda joined the third order of the Humiliati and devoted her life to almsdeeds and mortification. She is greatly honored in Siena (Benedictines).
(also known as Esperance, Exuperance) A virgin whose relics are venerated in Troyes, France. Nothing else is known about her (Benedictines, Encyclopedia).

28 febbraio 1245 - Siena, 26 aprile 1309 A native of Siena, and also known as Aude and Aldobrandesca, she gave away all her possessions on the death of her husband and devoted herself to aiding the poor. She spent the last part of her life ministering to the sick in the hospital at Siena, subjecting herself to great mortifications. She experienced visions and ecstasies during her lifetime.

Nacque il 28 febbraio 1245 dal nobile Pietro Francesco Ponzi e da Agnese Bulgarini, alla quale Dio aveva mostrato in sogno di aver scelto la nascitura per sé; dopo essere stata educata e istruita con ogni cura, fu data in sposa al concittadino Bindo Bellanti, uomo «virtutibus ornatissimus», dal quale, però, non ebbe figli. Dopo la morte prematura del marito, A. vestì l'abito del Terz'Ordine degli Umiliati e si diede, ancor più di prima, a far vita penitente nella solitudine di una sua piccola proprietà, dove operò miracoli ed ebbe estasi e visioni. Passò gli ultimi anni nell'ospedale di S. Andrea, che in seguito fu detto di S. Onofrio, dedicandosi tutta al servizio dei poveri, degli infermi e dei pellegrini.
Alda morì il 26 aprile 1309 e fu sepolta nella chiesa di S. Tommaso in Siena, appartenente agli Umiliati. Le sue ossa nel 1489 furono levate da terra e poste in una parete a lato di un altare, da dove nel 1583 furono trasferite.
Il suo culto, oltre che a Siena e in altre città, ebbe molta diffusione nell'Ordine degli Umiliati.

February 28 was born 1245 from the noble Pietro Francesco Ponzi and from Agnese Bulgarini, to which God had shown in dream of to have chosen the nascitura for oneself; after to to be been educated and taught with every care, was given in bride to the fellow-citizen Bindo Bellanti, man «virtutibus ornatissimus», from which, however, not ebbe sons.  After the premature death of the husband, TO. dressed the clothing of the Terz' Order of the Humiliated and it is given, even more of first, to make life penitente in the solitude of an its small property, where operò miracles and ebbe ecstasy and sights.  It passed the last years in the hospital of S. Andrea, that later on had said of S. Onofrio, dedicating itself all to the service of the poor, of the ill and of the pilgrims.  Alda 26 April 1309 died and was buried in the church of S. Tommaso in Siena, belonging to the Humiliated.  His bone in 1489 had been easts from land and mail in a wall to side of an altar, from where in 1583 had been transferred.  Its religion, beyond that to Siena and in other town, much ebbe spread in the order of the Humiliated.

1309 BD ANGELA OF FOLIGNO, WIDOW must always take her place among the great mystics and contemplatives of the middle ages, side by side with Catherine of Siena and Catherine of Genoa.
1309 April 26 St. Aldo (Aldobrandesca) Widow she gave away all possessions ministering to sick visions  almsdeeds and mortification and ecstasies Siena (also known as Aldobrandesca, Aude, Blanca, Bruna)
1310 May 22 Humility of Faenza, OSB Vall. Widow heroic fasting and savagely austere life (AC)
1336 July 04 St. Elizabeth of Portugal exercises of piety, including daily Mass, but also through her exercise of charity, by which she was able to befriend and help pilgrims, strangers, the sick, the poor—in a word, all those whose need came to her notice.
Stremótii, in Lusitánia, natális sanctæ Elísabeth Víduæ, Lusitanórum Regínæ, quam, virtútibus et miráculis claram, Urbánus Octávus, Póntifex Máximus, in Sanctórum númerum rétulit.  Ejus tamen celébritas octávo Idus mensis hujus recólitur, ex dispositióne Innocéntii Papæ Duodécimi.
    At Estremos in Portugal, the birthday of St. Elizabeth the Widow, queen of Portugal, whom Pope Urban VIII, mindful of her virtues and miracles, placed among the number of the saints.  Pope Innocent XII ordered her feast to be kept on the 8th of July.
Sanctæ Elísabeth Víduæ, Lusitanórum Regínæ, quæ ad regnum cæléste quarto Nonas hujus mensis transívit.
    St. Elisabeth, widow, queen of Portugal, whose birthday is observed on the 4th of July.
ST ELIZABETH OF PORTUGAL, WIDOW (A.D. 1336
THIS Elizabeth was daughter of Peter III, King of Aragon. She was born in 1271, and received at the font the name of Elizabeth, from her great-aunt, St Elizabeth of Hungary, but she is known in her own country by the Spanish form of that name; Isabella. Her birth was an omen of that title of "the Peacemaker" which she was to earn in after-life, for by it was established a good understanding between her grandfather James, who was then on the throne, and her father, whose quarrelling had divided the whole kingdom. The young princess was of a sweet disposition, and from her early years had relish for anything that was conducive to devotion and goodness. She desired to emulate every virtue which she saw practised by others, for she had been already taught that mortification of the will is to be joined with prayer to obtain the grace which restrains our tendency to sin. This is often insufficiently considered by those parents who excite the wilfulness and self-indulgence of their children by teaching them a love of worthless things and giving in to every whim and want. Certainly, fasting is not good for them; but submission of the will, obedience, and consideration for others are never more indispensable than at this time; nor is any abstinence more fruitful than that by which children are taught not to drink or eat between meals, to bear little denials without impatience, and never to make a fuss about things. The victory of Elizabeth over herself was owing to this early training.
At twelve years of age she was married to Denis, King of Portugal. That prince admired her birth, beauty, riches and personality more than her virtue; yet he allowed her an entire liberty in her devotion, and esteemed her piety without feeling called on to imitate it. Elizabeth therefore planned for herself a regular distribution of her time, which she never interrupted unless extraordinary occasions of duty or charity obliged her. She rose early every morning, and recited Matins, Lauds and Prime before Mass; in the afternoon she had other regular devotions after Vespers. Certain hours were allotted to her domestic affairs, public business, or what she owed to others. She was abstemious in her food, modest in her dress, humble and affable in conversation, and wholly bent upon the service of God. Frequent attempts were made to induce her to modify her life, but without success. Charity to the poor was a distinguishing part of her character. She gave orders to have pilgrims and poor strangers provided with lodging and necessaries, and made it her business to seek out and relieve persons who were reduced to necessity. She provided marriage dowries for girls, and founded in different parts of the kingdom charitable establishments, particularly a hospital at Coimbra, a house for penitent women at Torres Novas, and a refuge for foundlings. Nor with it all did Elizabeth neglect any of her immediate duties, especially those of respect, love and obedience to her husband, whose neglect and infidelity she bore with much patience.
For Denis, though a good ruler, was a bad subject: just, brave, generous and compassionate in public life, devoted to his realm, but in his private relations selfish and sinful. The queen used all her endeavours to reclaim him, grieving deeply for the offence to God and the scandal given to the people; she never ceased to pray for his conversion. She strove to gain him by courtesy and constant sweetness, and cheerfully cherished his natural children and took care of their education.
St Elizabeth had two children, Alfonso, who afterwards succeeded his father, and a daughter, Constance. This son when he grew up showed a very rebellious spirit, partly due to the favour in which his father held his illegitimate sons. Twice he rose in arms and twice his mother brought about a reconciliation, riding out between the opposing forces. But evil tongues suggested to the king that she secretly favoured her son and for a time she was banished from the court. Her love for concord and qualities as a peacemaker were indeed very notable; she stopped or averted war between Ferdinand IV of Castile, and his cousin, and between that prince and her own brother, James II of Aragon.
Her husband Denis became seriously ill in 1324, and Elizabeth gave all her attention to him, scarcely ever leaving his room unless to go to the church. During his long and tedious illness the king gave marks of sincere sorrow for the disorders of his life, and he died at Santarem on January 6, 1325. After his burial the queen made a pilgrimage to Compostela, after which she wished to retire to a convent of Poor Clares which she had founded at Coimbra. However, she was dissuaded, and instead she was professed in the third order of St Francis, and lived in a house which she built near to her convent, leading a life of great simplicity.
The cause of peace that had been so dear to her all her life was the occasion of Elizabeth's death, which came about on July 4, 1336 at Estremoz, whither she had gone on an errand of reconciliation in spite of her age and the great heat. She was buried in the church of her monastery of Poor Clares at Coimbra, and honoured by miracles; and eventually in 1626 her cultus was crowned by canonization.
The Bollandists in the Acta Sanctorum, July, vol. ii, have printed a life of the queen which seems to be of almost contemporary date, and a good deal of information may also be found in the chronicles of the period. See also P; de Moucheron, Ste Elisabeth d'Aragon (1896); and a short sketch by Fr V. McNabb (1937). The story (told by Butler in company with many others) of the innocent page saved miraculously from death in a lime-kiln is a mere fiction which can be traced back to the folk-lore of ancient India. See Cosquin in the Revue des Questions historiques, vol. lxxiii (1903), pp, 3-12, with vol. lxxiv, pp, 207-217; and Formichi in Archivio delle tradizioni popolari, vol. xxii (1903), pp. 9-30. It is only in 1562 that we find it christianized and told in connection with St Elizabeth.

Elizabeth is usually depicted in royal garb with a dove or an olive branch. At her birth in 1271, her father, Pedro III, future king of Aragon, was reconciled with his father, James, the reigning monarch. This proved to be a portent of things to come. Under the healthful influences surrounding her early years, she quickly learned self-discipline and acquired a taste for spirituality. Thus fortunately prepared, she was able to meet the challenge when, at the age of 12, she was given in marriage to Denis, king of Portugal. She was able to establish for herself a pattern of life conducive to growth in God’s love, not merely through her exercises of piety, including daily Mass, but also through her exercise of charity, by which she was able to befriend and help pilgrims, strangers, the sick, the poor—in a word, all those whose need came to her notice. At the same time she remained devoted to her husband, whose infidelity to her was a scandal to the kingdom.
He too was the object of many of her peace endeavors. She long sought peace for him with God, and was finally rewarded when he gave up his life of sin. She repeatedly sought and effected peace between the king and their rebellious son, Alfonso, who thought that he was passed over to favor the king’s illegitimate children. She acted as peacemaker in the struggle between Ferdinand, king of Aragon, and his cousin James, who claimed the crown. And finally from Coimbra, where she had retired as a Franciscan tertiary to the monastery of the Poor Clares after the death of her husband, she set out and was able to bring about a lasting peace between her son Alfonso, now king of Portugal, and his son-in-law, the king of Castile.
Third Order of St. Francis
Elizabeth was a Spanish princess who was given in marriage to King Denis of Portugal at the age of twelve. She was very beautiful and very lovable. She was also very devout, and went to Mass every day. Elizabeth was a holy wife, but although her husband was fond of her at first, he soon began to cause her great suffering. Though a good ruler, he did not imitate his wife's love of prayer and other virtues. In fact, his sins of impurity gave great scandle to the people.
Later, to make matters worse, the King believed a lie told about Elizabeth and one of her pages by another page, who was jealous of his companion. In great anger the King ordered the one he believed guilty, to be sent to a lime-burner. The lime-burner was commanded to throw into his furnace the first page who came. The good page set out obediently, not knowing death was waiting for him. On his way he stopped for Mass, since he had the habit of going daily. The first Mass had begun, so he stayed for a second one. In the meantime, the King sent the wicked page to the lime-burner to find out if the other had been killed. And so it was this page who was thrown into the furnace! When the King learned what had happened, he realized that God had saved the good page, punished the liar, and proven Queen Elizabeth to be innocent.
This amazing event helped greatly to make the King live better. He apologized to his wife in front of everyone and began to have a great respect for her. In his last sickness, she never left his side, except for Mass, until he died a holy death. St. Elizabeth lived for eleven more years, doing even greater charity and penance. She was a wonderful model of kindness toward the poor and a successful peacemaker between members of her own family and between nations.
Because St. Elizabeth was faithful to daily Mass, she found strength to carry her many great crosses. And because her page was faithful to daily Mass, he escaped death. We should try our best to make it a habit to go to Mass daily.
Comment:  The work of promoting peace is anything but a calm and quiet endeavor. It takes a clear mind, a steady spirit and a brave soul to intervene between people whose emotions are so aroused that they are ready to destroy one another. This is all the more true of a woman in the early 14th century. But Elizabeth had a deep and sincere love and sympathy for humankind, almost a total lack of concern for herself and an abiding confidence in God. These were the tools of her success.

 July 4, 2010 St. Elizabeth of Portugal (1271-1336)
Elizabeth is usually depicted in royal garb with a dove or an olive branch. At her birth in 1271, her father, Pedro III, future king of Aragon, was reconciled with his father, James, the reigning monarch. This proved to be a portent of things to come. Under the healthful influences surrounding her early years, she quickly learned self-discipline and acquired a taste for spirituality. Thus fortunately prepared, she was able to meet the challenge when, at the age of 12, she was given in marriage to Denis, king of Portugal. She was able to establish for herself a pattern of life conducive to growth in God’s love, not merely through her exercises of piety, including daily Mass, but also through her exercise of charity, by which she was able to befriend and help pilgrims, strangers, the sick, the poor—in a word, all those whose need came to her notice. At the same time she remained devoted to her husband, whose infidelity to her was a scandal to the kingdom.

He too was the object of many of her peace endeavors. She long sought peace for him with God, and was finally rewarded when he gave up his life of sin. She repeatedly sought and effected peace between the king and their rebellious son, Alfonso, who thought that he was passed over to favor the king’s illegitimate children. She acted as peacemaker in the struggle between Ferdinand, king of Aragon, and his cousin James, who claimed the crown. And finally from Coimbra, where she had retired as a Franciscan tertiary to the monastery of the Poor Clares after the death of her husband, she set out and was able to bring about a lasting peace between her son Alfonso, now king of Portugal, and his son-in-law, the king of Castile.

Comment:  The work of promoting peace is anything but a calm and quiet endeavor. It takes a clear mind, a steady spirit and a brave soul to intervene between people whose emotions are so aroused that they are ready to destroy one another. This is all the more true of a woman in the early 14th century. But Elizabeth had a deep and sincere love and sympathy for humankind, almost a total lack of concern for herself and an abiding confidence in God. These were the tools of her success.
Elisabeth von Portugal Katholische Kirche: 4. Juli
Elisabeth, Tochter des Königs Pedro von Aragon, wurde um 1270 geboren. In der Taufe erhielt sie nach ihrer Großtante den Namen Elisabeth. Sie wird auch Isabella von Aragon genannt. 1282 heiratete sie König Dionysius von Portugal. Ihr Sohn Alfons lag laufend mit seinem Vater und anderen Königen im Streit und Elisabeth konnte mehrmals erfolgreich vermitteln. Bei ihrer letzten Mission starb sie am 4.7.1336 in Estremoz. Elisabeth unterstütze zahlreiche kirchloche Einrichtungen. Nach dem Tod ihres Mannes 1325 zog sie sich in ein von ihr errichtetes Kloster zurück und wurde später Franziskaner-Tertiarin. Elisabeth ist Patronin von Portugal, Coimbra, Estremoz und Saragossa.
1356 Blessed Michelina Metelli Franciscan tertiary OFM Tert. Widow (AC)
1391 June 14 Bd Castora Gabrielli, Widow
1394 St. Dorothy of Montau, WIDOW visions and spiritual gifts patroness of Prussia
1414 BD JOAN MARY DE MAILLE Nov 6 , WIDOW; No gambling or bad language was permitted in their château, which became the asylum of the poor of the neighbourhood; and they adopted and educated three orphans; became destitute; Many conversions and miracles of healing worked by her, finally her the fame and recognition which she was far from desiring was gift of prophecy; remarkable revelations about future, some she felt constrained to impart to the king.
1431 January 28 Blessed Mary of Pisa Widow miraculous favors  saw guardian angel from childhood OP Tertiary (AC) (also known as Catherine Mancini)
1435 Blessed Angeline of Marsciano founded the first community of Franciscan women other than Poor Clares to receive papal approval
1435 Bd Angelina Of Marsciano, Widow assumed the dress of a tertiary of St Francis and converted her household into what was in effect a body of secular tertiaries living in community   Angelina and her companions travelled about recalling sinners to penance, relieving distress, and putting before young women the call of a life of virginity for Christ's sake first convent of regular tertiaries with vows and enclosure, and its success was immediate.
Angelina was born at Montegiove, near Orvieto, in 1377, her father being James Angioballi, Lord of Marsciano, and her mother Anne, of the family of the counts of Corbara, whence Angelina is sometimes called by that name. When her beloved mother died in 1389 her thoughts turned to the life of the cloister, but when she was fifteen she married, her husband being the count of Civitella, John of Terni. He, however, lived less than two years longer, leaving his widow chdatelaine of the castle and estate of Civitella del Tronto.
  Angelina now assumed the dress of a tertiary of St Francis and converted her household into what was in effect a body of secular tertiaries living in community.  Those of her female attendants, relatives and friends who were able and willing to do so gathered round her, intent on personal sanctification and ministering to the spiritual and material needs of others.  Angelina and her companions travelled about recalling sinners to penance, relieving distress, and putting before young women the call of a life of virginity for Christ's sake.
  She was not the first nor the last saint to inculcate celibacy with such vigour that the civil authorities were alarmed; what happened to St Ambrose happened to her, and she was denounced for sorcery (in her influence over girls) and heresy (in that, they alleged, she taught the Manichean doctrine of the iniquity of marriage).  Ladislaus, King of Naples, summoned her before him at Castelnuovo, having secretly made up his mind that if the woman was guilty she should be burnt, great lady or no. But Angelina had a premonition of his intention, and when she had demonstrated the orthodoxy of her faith and the lawfulness of her behaviour, she added, "If I have taught or practised error I am prepared to suffer the appropriate punishment".  Then, it is said, she shook out the folds of her habit, displaying some burning embers that she had concealed there, exclaiming, "Behold the fire!" Ladislaus dismissed the charge against her, but complaints of her activities continued to be made, and shortly after he exiled Angelina and her companions from the kingdom.
  She was yet only eighteen and now went straight to Assisi.  There, in Santa Maria degli Angeli, God made plain to her what He would have her do, namely, to found an enclosed monastery of the third order regular of St Francis at Foligno. The following day she set out, and laid her project before the bishop of that city, who approved it.  When the building was ready, early in 1397, it was dedicated in honour of St Anne (and doubtless in memory of the saint's mother), and Angelina was elected abbess over the community of twelve sisters.  This is generally esteemed to be the first convent of regular tertiaries with vows and enclosure, and its success was immediate.  In 1399 Bd Angelina founded another, St Agnes's, at Foligno, then others at Spoleto, Assisi, Viterbo, and eleven others were begun during her lifetime; she insisted that for the sake of good observance the communities must be small.
  Angelina died at the age of fifty-eight, and her cultus was approved in 1825. 
Besides frequent references in such great collections as Wadding's Annales, there is a popular Italian life by L. Jacobilli (1627) which has been more than once translated and reprinted, another by Nicholas de Prato (1882), and another by Felix da Porretta (1937). See also Mazzara, Leggendario Francescano (1679), vol. ii, pp. 107-114, and Leon, Auréole Séraphique (Eng. trans.), vol. ii, pp. 491-303.
Angeline was born 1374 to the Duke of Marsciano (near Orvieto). She was 12 when her mother died. Three years later the young woman made a vow of perpetual chastity. That same year, however, she yielded to her father’s decision that she marry the Duke of Civitella. Her husband agreed to respect her previous vow.
When he died two years later, Angeline joined the Secular Franciscans and with several other women dedicated herself to caring for the sick, the poor, widows and orphans. When many other young women were attracted to Angeline’s community, some people accused her of condemning the married vocation. Legend has it that when she came before the King of Naples to answer these charges, she had burning coals hidden in the folds of her cloak. When she proclaimed her innocence and showed the king that these coals had not harmed her, he dropped the case.
Angeline and her companions later went to Foligno, where her community of Third Order sisters received papal approval in 1397. She soon established 15 similar communities of women in other Italian cities.
Angeline died on July 14, 1435, and was beatified in 1825.
Comment: Priests, sisters and brothers cannot be signs of God’s love for the human family if they belittle the vocation of marriage. Angeline respected marriage but felt called to another way of living out the gospel. Her choice was life-giving in its own way. Quote:    Pope Paul VI wrote in 1971: "Without in any way undervaluing human love and marriage— is not the latter, according to faith, the image and sharing of the union of love joining Christ and the Church?— consecrated chastity evokes this union in a more immediate way and brings that surpassing excellence to which all human love should tend" (Apostolic Exhortation on the Renewal of Religious Life, #13).
1440 St. Frances of Rome  widow, renowned for her noble family, holy life, and the gift of miracles.
Romæ sanctæ Francíscæ Víduæ, nobilitáte géneris, vitæ sanctitáte et miraculórum dono célebris.
             At Rome, St. Frances, widow, renowned for her noble family, holy life, and the gift of miracles.
1457 May 22 St. Rita of Cascia wife mother widow religious community member legendary austerity prayerfulness charity
1472 Feb 28 Blessed Antonia (Antoinette) of Florence, OFM Widow (AC)
Born in Florence, Italy, in 1400; died 1472; cultus confirmed in 1847. Twice widowed, twice prioress, Antonia joined the Franciscan tertiaries when she was widowed while still very young. She was chosen as superioress of Aquila and adopted the original rule of the Poor Clares. She contracted a painful disease, which afflicted her for 15 years, but this and other trials she bore bravely under the guidance of Saint John of Capistrano (Benedictines, Encyclopedia).

1478 Blessed Seraphina Sforza, Poor Clare V (AC)
Born at Urbino, Italy, 1434; died in Pesaro, Italy  beatified in 1754. Seraphina was the daughter of Count Guido of Urbino, lord of Gubbio. In 1448, she married Duke Alexander Sforza of Pesaro, who treated her with contempt and finally threw her out. She took refuge in the convent of the Poor Clares, where she was professed and later became abbess (Benedictines)
.

1478 BD SERAPIIINA SFORZA, Widow
SHE was born at Urbino about the year 1432, the daughter of Guy, Count of Montefeltro, by his second wife, Catherine Colonna. In baptism she received the name of Sueva. Her parents died while she was a child, she was sent to Rome to be brought up in the household of her uncle, Prince Colonna, and at the age of about sixteen she was joined in marriage to Alexander Sforza, Lord of Pesaro. This man was a widower, with two children, and for some years she lived very happily with her husband. Then he was called away to take up arms on behalf of his brother, the duke of Milan, leaving his estate to the care of Sueva, and his absence was prolonged. On his return, none the better man for so long a period of campaigning and absence from home, Alexander began an intrigue with a woman called Pacifica, the wife of a local physician. Sueva used all the means at her disposal to win her husband back, but with so little success that he added physical cruelty and insult to unfaithfulness. He even tried to poison her, and thence-forward the unhappy woman gave up active efforts towards reconciliation, and confined herself to prayer and quietness.This served only to irritate Alexander, and he at last drove her from the house with violence, telling her to take herself off to some convent.

Sueva was received as a guest by the Poor Clares of the convent of Corpus Christi, where she lived the life of the nuns; eventually she was clothed and took the name of Seraphina. This was exactly what Alexander wanted, and, feeling himself free, he went from bad to worse; Pacifica was flaunted about Pesaro as though she were his lawful wife, and she even had the insolence to visit the convent wearing Sueva’s jewels. Sister Seraphina was an exemplary nun and she did not forget her obligations to her husband. She never ceased to pray and offer her penances for his conversion, and before his death in 1473 her desire was fulfilled.

That is the substance of Bd Seraphina’s story as it is commonly told. Un­happily further research in contemporary evidence suggests that at the time of her leaving the world she was not so entirely an innocent victim as has been assumed. Even if her husband’s charges of unfaithfulness were false, there is some evidence that she was privy to a plot against him. We find ourselves very much in the Italian beau monde of the quattrocento. But Sueva entered the convent in 1457, when she was twenty-five years old, and whatever she may have had to repent of she had more than twenty years in which to grow holy in the living of a most austere religious rule. This she did, and the local cultus of Bd Seraphina was approved by Pope Benedict XIV in 1754.

There is an anonymous life printed with prolegomena in the Acta Sanctorum, September, vol. iii. But in 1903 B. Feliciangeli published his study, Sulla monacazione di Suez’a Montefeltro-Sforza, Ricerche, which made public certain new documents, throwing fresh light on the subject. This evidence was unknown to such earlier biographers as Mgr Alegiani and Leon, Auréole Séraphique (Eng. trans.), vol. iii, pp. 114—120. The problem is discussed by Fr Van Ortroy in Analecta Bollandiana, vol. XXIV (1905), pp. 311—313.
1485 Nov. 04 Blessed Frances d'Amboise great benefactress of the Carmelite Blessed John Soreth Carmelite at the convent she had founded at Nantes OC (AC)
1503 BD LOUISA OF SAVOY, WIDOW .
THE very high, mighty and illustrious lady, Madame Louisa of Savoy, who was destined by God to become a humble nun of the Poor Clares, was born in 1461, the daughter of Bd Amadeus IX, Duke of Savoy, grand-daughter through her mother Yolande of King Charles VII of France, niece of King Louis XI, and cousin to St Joan of Valois. Her father died before she was nine and she was admirably brought up by her mother and showed from a very early age indications of spiritual qualities out of the ordinary; Catherine de Saulx, one of her maids-of-honour, wrote that “she was so sweet and generous, debonair and gracious, that she gave affection to everyone and was engaging and charming to all”.

At the age of eighteen she married Hugh de Châlons, Lord of Nozeroy, a man as good as he was wealthy and powerful, and together they set themselves to live a truly Christian life. Both by example and precept they set a high standard for all living on their estates, and their house seemed a monastery by contrast with many noble estab­lishments of that time; loose swearing and profanity was particularly discouraged, and Madame Louisa provides the first recorded example of a poor-box into which every person who indulged in bad language had to put a contribution: but men had to kiss the ground because that was a more effective deterrent for them.

Louisa exercised a wide charity towards the sick and needy, widows and orphans, and especially lepers, and she used to say of the dances and shows that took place in her house that they were like mushrooms, “of which the best are not worth much”.

After nine years of wedded happiness her husband died, and, having no children, Louisa began to prepare to retire from the world. It took two years to set her affairs in order, during which time she wore the Franciscan tertiary habit and learned to recite the Divine Office, getting up at midnight for Matins. Every Friday she took the discipline, she distributed her fortune, and overcame, or disregarded, the objections of her relatives and friends, Then with her two maids-of-honour, Catherine de Saulx and Charlotte de Saint-Maurice, she was admitted to the Poor Clare convent of Orbe, which monastery had been founded by the mother of Hugh de Châlons and occupied with a community by St Colette in 1427.

Bd Louisa had been a model for maids, for wives and for widows, and henceforward was to he an exemplary religious. As with so many of high birth, her humility, was sincere and unaffected: if she was to wash dishes, help in the kitchen, sweep the cloisters, well; if she was to be an abbess, well also. In this office she was especially solicitous in the service of the friars of her order, and any whose journeyings took them past the convent were always most carefully looked after: the presence of the fathers and brothers was a blessing from God, and nothing would lack that was required for the sons of “our blessed father, Mon­seigneur St Francis”. The ancient cultus of this servant of God, who was called to Him when only forty-two years old, was approved in 1839.

There is a life by Catherine de Saulx, who had been lady-in-waiting to Louisa and who followed her into the convent at Orbe. This was edited with annotations, etc., by A. M. Jeanneret (1860). See also F. Jeunet and J. H. Thorin, Vie de Ia bse Louise de Savoie (1884), and cf. Revue des questions historiques, t. xxi, pp. 335—336. In the English translation of Leon, Auréole Séraphique, Bd Louisa occurs in vol. iii, pp. 267—271. E. Fedelini produced a slight sketch of Les bienheureux de la maison de Savoie (1925), in which Bd Louisa finds a place.
1510 St Catherine (Caterinetta) of Genoa, Widow; blood from her stigmata gave off exceptional heat; “He who purifies himself from his faults in the present life, satisfies with a penny a debt of a thousand ducats; and he who waits until the other life to discharge his debts, consents to pay a thousand ducats for that which he might before have paid with a penny. Saint Catherine, Treatise on purgatory. (RM)
Génuæ sanctæ Catharínæ Víduæ, contémptu mundi et caritáte in Deum insígnis.
    In Genoa, St. Catherine, a widow, renowned for her contempt of the world and her love of God.
Born in Genoa, Italy, 1447; died there, September 14, 1510; beatified in 1737 and equipollently canonized by Pope Benedict XIV a few years later (others say she was canonized in 1737); feast day formerly on March 22.
Caterina_by Tommasina Fieschi.jpg


    We should not wish for anything but what comes to us from moment to moment, Saint Catherine told her spiritual children, exercising ourselves none the less for good. For he who would not thus exercise himself, and await what God sends, would tempt God. When we have done what good we can, let us accept all that happens to us by Our Lord's ordinance, and let us unite ourselves to it by our will. Who tastes what it is to rest in union with God will seem to himself to have won to Paradise even in this life.

The biography of Saint Catherine of Genoa, who combined mysticism with practicality, was written by Baron Friedrich von Hügel. She was the fifth and youngest child of James Fieschi and his wife Francesca di Negro, members of the noble Guelph family of Fieschi, which had produced two popes (Innocent IV and Adrian V). After her birth, her father later became viceroy of Naples for King René of Anjou.

From the age of 13 Catherine sought to became a cloistered religious. Her sister was already a canoness regular and her confessor was the chaplain of that convent. When she asked to be received, they decided that she was too young. Then her father died and, for dynastic reasons, her widowed mother insisted that the 16-year-old marry the Genoese Ghibelline patrician, Guiliano Adorno. Her husband was unfaithful, violent, and a spendthrift. The first five years of their marriage, Catherine suffered in silence. In some ways it seems odd that he did not find her attractive, because Catherine was a beautiful woman of great intelligence, and deeply religious. But they were of completely different temperaments: she was intense and humorless; he had a zest for life.

Then she determined to win her husband's affection by adopting worldly airs. As it turns out, this only made her unhappy because she lost the only consolation that had previously sustained her-- her religious life. Ten years into her marriage, Catherine was a very unhappy woman; her husband had reduced them to poverty by his extravagance. On the eve of his feast in 1473, Catherine prayed, Saint Benedict, pray to God that He make me stay three months sick in bed. Two days later she was kneeling for a blessing before the chaplain at her sister's convent. She had visited her sister and revealed the secrets of her heart. Her sister advised her to go to confession.

In following her sister's advice, Catherine experienced a sort of ecstasy. She was overwhelmed by her sins and, at the very same time, by the infinite love of God for her. This experience was the foundation for an enduring awareness of the presence of God and a fixed attitude of soul. She was drawn back to the path of devotion of her childhood. Within a few days she had a vision of our Lord carrying His cross, which caused her to cry out, O Love, if it be necessary I am ready to confess my sins in public! On the Solemnity of the Annunciation she received the Eucharist, the first time with fervor for ten years.

Thus began her mystical ascent under very severe mortifications that included fasting throughout Lent and Advent almost exclusively on the Eucharist. She became a stigmatic. A group of religious people gathered around Catherine, who guided them to a spirit- filled life.

Eventually her husband was converted, became a Franciscan tertiary, and they agreed to live together in continence. Catherine and Giuliano devoted themselves to the care of the sick in the municipal hospital of Genoa, Pammatone, where they were joined by Catherine's cousin Tommasina Fieschi. In 1473, they moved from their palazzo to a small house in a poorer neighborhood than was necessary. In 1479, they went to live in the hospital and Catherine became its director in 1490. The heroism of Catherine's charity revealed itself in a special way during the plagues of 1493 and 1501. The first one killed nearly 75 percent of the inhabitants. Catherine herself contracted the disease. Although she recovered, she was forced to resign due to ill health three years later.


After Giuliano's death the following year (1497), Catherine's spiritual life became even more intense. In 1499, Catherine met don Cattaneo Marabotto, who became her spiritual director. Her religious practices were idiosyncratic; for instance, she went to communion daily when it was unusual to do so. For years she made extraordinarily long fasts without abating her charitable activities. Catherine is an outstanding example of the religious contemplative who combines the spiritual life with competence in practical affairs. Yet she was always fearful of "the contagion of the world's slow stain" that had separated her from God in the early years of her marriage.

Her last three years of life were a combination of numerous mystical experiences and ill health that remained undiagnosed by even John-Baptist Boerio, the principal doctor to King Henry VII. In addition to her body remaining undecomposed and one of her arms elongating in a peculiar manner shortly before her death, the blood from her stigmata gave off exceptional heat.

A contemporary painting of Catherine, now at the Pammatone Hospital in Genoa, possibly painted by the female artist Tomasina Fieschi, shows Catherine in middle age. It reveals a slight woman with a long, patrician nose; pronounced, cleft chin; easy smile of broad but thin lips (and, surprisingly, deep laugh lines); high cheekbones; and large dark eyes punctuated by thin, graceful eyebrows.

Dialogue between the soul and the body and Treatise on purgatory are outstanding works in the field of mysticism, which were inspired by her and contain the essence of her, but were actually composed by others under her name. She is the patron of Genoa and of Italian hospitals (Attwater, Benedictines, Delaney, Farmer, Harrison, Schamoni, Schouppe, Walsh).
Of interest may be The Life and Doctrine of Saint Catherine of Genoa.
1510 ST CATHERINE OF GENOA, WIDOW   
The Fieschi were a great Guelf family of Liguria, with a long and distinguished history. In 1234 it gave to the Church the vigorous Pope Innocent IV, and in 1276 his nephew, who ruled for a few weeks as Adrian V. By the middle of the fifteenth century it had reached the height of its power and splendour in Liguria, Piedmont and Lombardy.  One member was a cardinal, and another, James, descended from the brother of Innocent IV, was viceroy of Naples for King René of Anjou. This James Fieschi was married to a Genoese lady, Francesca di Negro, and to them was born at Genoa in the year 1447 the fifth and last of their children, Caterinetta, now always called Catherine. Her biographers give particulars of her premising childhood which may perhaps be dismissed as common-form panegyric, but from the age of thirteen she was undoubtedly strongly attracted to the religious life. Her sister was already a canoness regular and the chaplain of her convent was Catherine’s confessor, so she asked him if she also could take the habit. In consultation with the nuns he put her off on account of her youth, and about the same time Catherine’s father died. Then, at the age of sixteen, she was married. It is alleged of many saints, both male and female, that, though wishing to enter a monastery, they married in obedience to the will of those in authority over them, and of some of them these circumstances are only doubtfully true. But about St Catherine of Genoa there is no question. The star of the Ghibelline family of the Adorni was in decline, and by an alliance with the powerful Fieschi they hoped to restore the fortunes of their house. The Fieschi were willing enough, and Catherine was their victim. Her bridegroom was Julian Adorno, a young man with too poor a character to bring any good out of his marriage as a marriage. Catherine was beautiful in person (as may be seen from her portraits), of great intelligence and sensibility, and deeply religious; of an intense temperament, without humour or wit. Julian was of very different fibre, incapable of appreciating his wife, and to that extent to be commiserated; but if he failed to win more than her dutiful submission and obedience it was either because he did not try, or because he set about it in the wrong way. He was, on his own admission, unfaithful to her; for the rest, he was pleasure-loving to an inordinate degree, undisciplined, hot-tempered and spendthrift. He was hardly ever at home, and for the first five years of her married life Catherine lived in solitude and moped amid vain regrets. Then for another five she tried what consolations could he found in the gaieties and recreations of her world, and was little less sad and desperate than before.
She had, however, never lost trust in God, or at least so much of it as was implied in the continued practice of her religion, and on the eve of the feast of St Benedict in 1473 she was praying in a church dedicated in his honour near the sea-shore outside Genoa. And she asked that saint, “St Benedict, pray to God that He make me stay three months sick in bed”. Two days later she was kneeling for a blessing before the chaplain at her sister’s convent when she was suddenly overcome by a great love of God and realization of her own unworthiness. She repeated over and over interiorly, “No more world!  No more sins!” and she felt that “had she had in her possession a thousand worlds, she would have cast them all away”. She was able to do nothing but mumble an excuse and retire, and within the next day or two she had a vision of our Lord carrying His cross which caused her to cry out, “0 Love, if it be necessary I am ready to confess my sins in public!” Then she made a general confession of her whole life with such sorrow “as to pierce her soul”. On the feast of the Annunciation she received holy communion, the first time with fervour for ten years, and shortly after became a daily communicant, so remaining for the rest of her life—a most rare thing in those days, so that she used to say she envied priests, who could receive our Lord’s body and blood daily without exciting comment.

   At about this time his luxury and extravagance had brought Julian to the verge of ruin, and his wife’s prayers, added to his misfortunes, brought about a reformation in his life. They moved from their palazzo into a small house, much more humble and in a poorer quarter than was necessary agreed to live together in continence and devoted themselves to the care of the sick in the hospital of Pammatone. Associated with them was a cousin of Catherine, Tommasina Fieschi, who after her widowhood became first a canoness and then a Dominican nun. This went on for six years without change, except in the development of St Catherine’s spiritual life, till in 1479 the couple went to live in the hospital itself, of which eleven years later she was appointed matron. She proved as capable an administrator as she was a devoted nurse, especially during the plague of 1493, when four-fifths of those who remained in the city died. Catherine caught the distemper off a dying woman whom she had impulsively kissed, and herself nearly died. During the visitation she first met the lawyer and philanthropist Hector Vernazza, who was soon to become her ardent disciple (and also the father of the Venerable Battista Vernazza) and to whom is due the preservation of many precious details of her life and conversation.
   In 1496 Catherine’s health broke down and she had to resign the control of the hospital, though still living within the building, and in the following year her husband died after a painful illness. “Messer Giuliano is gone”, she said to a friend, “and as you know well he was of a rather wayward nature, so that I suffered much interiorly. But my tender Love assured me of his salvation before he had yet passed from this life.” Julian provided in his will for his illegitimate daughter Thobia, and her unnamed mother, and St Catherine made herself responsible for seeing that Thobia should never be in want or uncared for.
   For over twenty years St Catherine lived without any spiritual direction whatever, and only rarely going to confession. Indeed, it is possible that, having no serious matter on her conscience, she did not always make even an annual confession, and she had, without fussiness, found no priest who understood her spiritual state with a view to direction. But about 1499 a secular priest, Don Cattaneo Marahotto, was made rector of the hospital, and  “they understood each other, even by just looking each other in the face without speaking. “To him
she said, “Father, I do not know where I am, either in soul or body. I should like to confess, but I am not conscious of any sin.” And Don Marabotto lays bare her state in a sentence “And as for the sins which she did mention, she was not allowed to see them as so many sins thought or said or done by herself. She was like a small boy who has committed some slight offence in ignorance, and who, if someone tells him, ‘You have done wrong’, starts and blushes, yet not because he has now an experimental knowledge of evil.”  We are also told in her life  “that Catherine did not take care to gain plenary indulgences. Not that she did not hold them in great reverence and devotion and consider them of very great value, but she wished that the selfish part of her should be rather chastised and punished as it deserved....” In pursuance of the same heroic idea she but rarely asked others, whether on earth or in Heaven, to pray for her; the invocation of St Benedict mentioned above is a very notable exception and the only one recorded as regards the saints. It is also noteworthy that throughout her widowhood St Catherine remained a laywoman. Her husband on his conversion joined the third order of St Francis (and to become a tertiary of any order was in those days a far more serious matter than it is now), but she did not do even that. These peculiarities are mentioned neither for commendation nor reprobation; those to whom they appear surprising may be reminded that those who examined the cause of her beatification were perfectly well aware of them the Universal Church does not demand of her children a uniformity of practice compatible neither with human variousness nor the freedom of the Holy Spirit to act on souls as He wills.
   From the year 1473 on St Catherine without intermission led a most intense spiritual life combined with unwearying activity on behalf of the sick and sad, not only in the hospital but throughout Genoa.
   She is one more example of the Christian universality which those who do not understand call contradictions complete “other-worldliness” and efficient “practicality”; concern for the soul and care for the body; physical austerity which is modified or dropped at the word of authority, whether ecclesiastical, medical or social; a living in the closest union with God and an “all-thereness” as regards this world and warm affection for individuals in it.
   The life of St Catherine has been taken as the text of a most searching work on the mystical element in religion—and she kept the hospital accounts without ever being a farthing out and was so concerned for the right disposition of property that she made four wills with several codicils.
   Catherine suffered from ill health for some years and had to give up not only her extraordinary fasts, but even to a certain extent those of the Church, and at length in 1507 her health gave way completely. She rapidly got worse, and for the last months of her life suffered great agony; among the physicians who attended her was John-Baptist Boerio, who had been the principal doctor of King Henry VII of England, and he with the others was unable to diagnose her complaint. They eventually decided, “it must be a supernatural and divine thing”, for she lacked all pathological symptoms, which they could recognize. On September 13, 1510, she was in a high fever and delirium, and at dawn of the 15th “this blessed soul gently breathed her last in great peace and tranquillity, and flew to her tender and much-desired Love”. She was beatified in 1737 and Benedict XIV added her name to the Roman Martyrology, with the title of saint. St Catherine left two written works, a treatise on Purgatory and a Dialogue of the soul and the body, which the Holy Office declared were alone enough to prove her sanctity. They are among the more important documents of mysticism, but Alban Butler says of them very truly that “these treatises are not writ for the common”.

Apart from a short notice by Giustiniano, Bishop of Nibio, in his Annali di Genova (1537), the earliest biographical account of St Catherine seems to be preserved in manuscripts varying considerably in their Italian text and belonging to the years 1547—1548. From these in the main was compiled the first book concerning her which was printed in any detail. It is commonly known as the Vita e Dottrina, and was issued in 1551. This work, which has been often reprinted, is our principal source of information concerning the saint, and it contains also a collection of her sayings and meditations. The many problems connected with its text have been discussed in great detail by Baron Friedrich von Hügel in his important work, The Mystical Element of Religion (2 vols., 1908); see especially vol. i, pp. 371—466. His conclusions are beyond doubt justified in the main, but there is room for some difference of opinion as to details, as noted, e.g. in The Month, June, 1923, pp. 538—543. See also the Acta Sanctorum, September, vol. v. The numerous modern lives of St Catherine are based on the Vita e Dottrina; among the more recent are Lili Sertorius, Katharina von Genua (1939), and L. de Lapérouse, La vie de Ste Catherine de Gênes (1948). A new translation of the Purgatory treatise and the Dialogue was published in 1946, made by Helen Douglas Irvine and Charlotte Balfour.

1533  Feb 28 BD LOUISA ALBERTONI, WIDOW.
LOUISA’S (Lodovica) father, Stephen Albertoni, and her mother, Lucrezia Tebaldi, belonged to distinguished Roman families. She was born in 1473, and lost her father while yet an infant. Her mother married again, and Louisa was brought up first by her grandmother, and then by two of her aunts; and she was induced by family influence to marry James de Cithara, a young man of noble family and great wealth. She bore him three daughters and lived with him on terms of deep affection, but he died in i~o6. Becoming in this way her own mistress, Louisa gave herself up almost entirely to prayer, assuming finally the habit of the third order of St Francis. Her contemplation of the Passion was so uninterrupted, and the devotion with which she called to mind the sufferings of our Lord so intense, that she is said to have nearly lost her sight by the tears in which these hours of prayer were spent. What remained of her time was given to the service of the sick and the poor, and to visiting the seven great basilicas of Rome. She lived in the deepest poverty, her whole fortune expended in alleviating the distress of those around her.
The methods of relief which her humility adopted were often somewhat original, as when, for example, she baked a great batch of bread to be distributed at random to the poor, putting into the loaves gold and silver coins of different values, and praying at the same time that the largest alms might providentially find their way to those who most needed help. Louisa in fact stripped herself so generously of all she possessed that the time came when she had nothing left to give : her relatives supplied her with her daily food, but she kept little even of this for herself. In these last years of her life she enjoyed profound peace of soul and was constantly rapt in ecstasy, during which times, as we are told by her biographers, she was not
s eldom raised physically from the ground. She fell asleep in the Lord on January 31, 1533, as she repeated, like her Divine Master, the words “Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit”. Many miracles are said to have taken place when her body lay in the church awaiting burial, and afterwards at her tomb. Her cultus was confirmed in 1671.

See G. Peolo, Vita della B. Lodovica Albertoni (1672) Léon, Auréole Séraphique (Eng. trans.), vol. i, pp. 127—132 B. Mazzara, Leggendario Francescano (1676), vol. i, pp. 145—155.
1510 St Catherine (Caterinetta) of Genoa, Widow; blood from her stigmata gave off exceptional heat; "He who purifies himself from his faults in the present life, satisfies with a penny a debt of a thousand ducats; and he who waits until the other life to discharge his debts, consents to pay a thousand ducats for that which he might before have paid with a penny." Saint Catherine, Treatise on purgatory. (RM)
1601 St. Anne Line  English 1/40 martyr from Dunmow, Essex Widow.
The daughter of William Heigham, she was disowned by him when she married a Catholic, Roger Line.
Roger was imprisoned for being a Catholic and was exiled and died in 1594 in Flanders, Belgium. Anne stayed in England where she hid Catholic priests in a London safe house. In this endeavor she aided Jesuit Father John Gerard until her arrest. Anne was hanged in Tyburn on February 27, 1601.  Pope Paul VI canonized Anne Line in 1970 as one of the Forty Martyrs of England and Wales.
1601 BD ANNE LINE, MARTYRED WIDOW
This Anne was daughter to William Heigham, a gentleman of Dunmow in Essex and a strong Protestant, who disinherited his son and daughter when they became Catholics. Anne married Roger Line, of Ringwood, in the New Forest of Hamp­shire. Shortly afterwards Mr Line was imprisoned for recusancy and then allowed to go abroad, to Flanders, where he died in 1594. His widow, who suffered from extreme ill-health, then devoted the rest of her life to the service of her hunted co-religionists. When the Jesuit, Father John Gerard, organized a house of refuge for clergy in London, Mrs Line was put in charge of it; but after Father Gerard’s escape from the Tower in 1597 she began to come under suspicion of the authorities, and had to find a new residence. But this also was tracked down, and on Candlemas day 1601 the pursuivants broke in just as Father Francis Page, s.j., had vested for Mass. He managed to remove his vestments and escape detection, but Mrs Line, Mrs Gage and others were taken.

A friend at court brought about the release of Mrs Gage, but Anne Line was brought before Lord Chief Justice Popham at the Old Bailey, charged with having harboured a priest from overseas. She was so ill at the time that she had to be carried into court in a chair. When asked if she were guilty of the charge, she replied in a loud voice for all to hear, “My lords, nothing grieves me more but that I could not receive a thousand more.” The prosecution, which had only one witness, signally failed to prove its case; the jury nevertheless, at the judge’s direction, found a verdict of guilty, and Anne was sentenced to death. She spent her last days and hours with composure and spiritual comfort, and when brought to Tyburn to be hanged she kissed the gallows and knelt in prayer up to the last moment. There suffered with her Roger Filcock, a Jesuit, who had long been Mrs Line’s friend and confessor, and Bd Mark Barkworth. Father Filcock’s cause is among those still under consideration.

See MMP., pp. 257—259; John Gerard’s autobiography (tr. P. Caraman, 1951), pp. 82—86; and Gillow, Biog. Dict.

1618     BD MARY OF THE INCARNATION, WIDOW.
To St. Barbara Acarie—la belle Acarie—afterwards known as Bd Mary-of-the Incarnation, is due the credit of having introduced into France the Carmelites of the reform initiated in Spain by St Teresa. She also had some part in establishing in Paris the Ursulines and the Oratorians.
The daughter of Nicholas Avrillot, a high government official, Barbara showed unusual piety and astonished the nuns of her aunt’s convent at Longchamps, where she was educated, by her austerities when, as a girl of twelve, she was preparing for her first communion. She would fain have embraced the religious life, preferably as a Franciscan at Longchamps, or failing that as a nursing sister of the poor at the Hotel-Dieu in Paris, but her parents had other plans for the only one of their children they had been able to rear. She complied with their wishes, saying resignedly, “If I am unworthy through my sins to be the bride of Christ, I can at least be His servant”. At the age of seventeen she was given in marriage to Peter Acarie, an aristocratic young advocate who held an important post in the treasury. He was a man of piety and charity who did much to help the exiled English Catholics reduced to poverty by the penal laws of Queen Elizabeth; but though so well-meaning he was also rather foolish, and he caused his wife no little suffering. However, the marriage was on the whole a happy one, and Madame Acarie proved herself a devoted wife and mother. She took so much trouble over the spiritual training of her six children that she was asked if she intended them all for the religious life. “I am preparing them to carry out God’s will . . .” was her reply. “A religious vocation can only come from God.”
  Eventually all her three daughters entered the Carmelite Order, whilst of her three sons one became a priest and the other two maintained throughout their careers in the world the principles they had imbibed in childhood. Her glowing piety seems to have communicated itself to her whole household, whose welfare she constantly sought and whom she nursed with the utmost tenderness when they were ill. Her personal maid, .Andrée Levoix, in particular became her associate in her devotions and charities. Great temporal trials were in store for this happy family circle. Peter Acarie had been a prominent supporter of the Catholic League, on whose behalf he had incurred heavy financial liabilities. After the accession of Henry IV he was banished from Paris, and his property was immediately seized by his creditors. Madame Acarie and her children were at one time reduced to such extremities that they had not enough to eat.
The intrepid wife rose to the occasion. Herself conducting the defence of her husband in the courts, she proved his innocence of the charge of conspiracy against the king, and was able to help him to compound with his creditors. She even obtained leave for him to return to Paris, with a diminished fortune indeed but with an untarnished name.


 Madame Acarie’s far-reaching but discriminating charity became so widely known that she was entrusted by many people with the distribution of their alms. Mary of Medici and Henry IV themselves honoured her with their esteem, and she was able to obtain from them the sanction and help required to bring the Carmelite nuns to Paris. Her sympathies were so wide that they included every kind of person: she fed the hungry, she befriended the fallen, she assisted “decayed” gentlefolk, she watched beside the dying, she instructed heretics, she encouraged religious of every order.
Madame Acarie was moved to work for the introduction of the Teresian Carmelites into France by two visions of St Teresa; it was nearly three years from the second of these to the opening of the convent of Spanish nuns in Paris in November 1604. Four more foundations elsewhere followed during the next five years. Madame Acarie was not only the prime mover in bringing all this about:  she also trained young women for the Carmelite life—she was, in fact, a sort of unofficial married novice-mistress. Among her advisers and helpers at this time were St Francis de Sales and Peter de Bérulle, the founder of the French Oratorians.
It was not then surprising that soon after her husband died in 1613 she asked to be received among the Carmelites, as a lay-sister. But she was a nun for only four years; Barbara Acarie was essentially a woman who attained holiness in the married state’—she was a saint before ever she put on the habit of Carmel. Taking the name of Mary-of-the-Incarnation, she entered the convent at Amiens, where her eldest daughter was shortly after appointed sub-prioress. Sister Mary was the first to promise her obedience, and she was happy to scour the pots and pans in the house she had helped to found—yet she could walk only with difficulty add great pain, through having three times broken a leg over twenty years before. Afterwards, owing to regrettable disagreements with Father de Bérulle, she was transferred to Pontoise.

Underlying the outward activities of Bd Mary was a mystical life of a high order. Great spiritual truths were revealed to her whilst she was in a state of contemplation bordering upon ecstasy. These effects of the life of grace already showed themselves in the early years of her married life, and occasioned misunderstandings in her family and grave trials for her. Among the well-known spiritual directors who helped her was that Capuchin from Canfield in Essex, Father Benet Fitch. In February 1618 she developed symptoms of apoplexy and paralysis which showed that her end was near. When the prioress asked her to bless the nuns gathered about her bedside she first raised her eyes and hands to Heaven with the prayer, “Lord, forgive me the bad example I have set”. After giving her blessing she added, “If it should please Almighty God to admit me to eternal bliss I will ask that the will of His divine Son should be accomplished in each one of you”. At three o’clock on Easter morning she received her last communion, and died whilst being anointed. She was fifty-two years old. Barbara Acarie was beatified in 1791.
There are many biographies of Madame Acarie, beginning with that of André du Vat (1621 1893). It will be sufficient to mention those of Boucher, Cadoudal, Griselle, and the summary by E. de Brogue in the series “Les Saints”. But Fr Bruno’s La belle Acarie (1942) is by far the best life, and it contains a very full bibliography. Mother Mary’s influence upon her generation was sufficiently great to claim notice in such works as Pastor’s Geschicte der Pupae, vols. xi and xii, and in H. Bremond, Histoire littéraire du sentiment religieux en France, vol. ii (Eng. trans.), pp. 193—262. There is an excellent life in English, Barbe Acarie (1953), by L. C. Sheppard.

1771 St. Marguerite d'Youville Catholic Canadians long honored as a saint this native daughter who allowed no obstacle to stand in the way of her helping others.
Marie-Marguerite Dufrost de Lajemmerais, born near Montreal in 1701, came from a notable French-Canadian family.  After two years of convent schooling, she returned home to help her widowed mother raise the five younger children.  At 20, Marguerite married François d'Youville, a confidential agent of the Governor.  She bore him six children.  But it was a sad marriage.  Four of the children died young.  Furthermore, her husband treated her with cool indifference.  Meanwhile, he was incurring the hatred of French-Canadians and Indians by his unethical business practices.  He died young, but Marguerite fell heir only to his debts.  She had to open a small shop to earn enough money to discharge the debts and to educate her two surviving sons who were eventually ordained priests.
Mme. d'Youville's own poverty only sharpened her natural sympathy for the poor.

As a widow she devoted ever more time to the corporal works of mercy.  She gave alms to the poor but of her own meager funds, and mended their threadbare clothing.  She visited the sick and jailed, and begged money for the burial of criminals.  Three other laywomen, impressed by her good deeds, asked to join her in this labor of love.  In 1737 all four made a profession to serve the needy.  A year later they began to live together, and welcomed several homeless persons as permanent guests.  But they remained laypersons. At the outset, these "ladies of charity" were unpopular, mostly because the avarice of François d'Youville was all too well remembered and his innocent wife was considered tarred by his misdeeds.  They were shouted at and stoned in the streets, and sometimes priests even denied them Holy Communion.  But the Widow d'Youville would not let her companions grow discouraged.
By 1749, the Montreal authorities, finally recognizing Marguerite's goodwill and talents, begged her to take over the management of the faltering General Hospital. 

King Louis XV confirmed the appointment.  Her duty involved paying off the whole great debt of the institution, and this she achieved.  Then she opened the hospital not only to whites and Indians but to epileptics, the mentally ill, lepers, the blind, the victims of contagious diseases, foundlings and the aged. In 1766, fire destroyed the hospital and all she had made it, but she accepted the disaster with resignation to God's will, and instead of complaining, led her associates in the recitation of a Te Deum in praise of God.  Then they started all over again.
In 1754, Mme. d'Youville took the now inevitable step of forming her women auxiliaries into a new religious order.
Their official title was "The Sisters of Charity of the General Hospital." For their religious habit she chose a grey material.  One reason for the choice was rather witty.  In their early years their enemies had sometimes called these women "les soeurs grises," which meant, "the drunken sisters." But it can also mean "the grey sisters." So ever since its foundation, Mother d'Youville's large congregation, today divided into several distinct communities, has been called by the nickname she adopted, the "Grey Sisters."
They rapidly expanded throughout Canada, always welcome because they were ready to undertake not only all the corporal works of mercy but also the spiritual works of mercy, including school teaching at all levels.  This comprehensive order eventually branched out into both Americas, Africa, and the Far East. (They made a foundation in Buffalo in 1857.  Out of this came D'Youville College.) From the start, the Grey Nuns were mission-minded.  In 1755, when the Indians of the Quebec Province were suffering a severe smallpox epidemic, Mother d'Youville and all 12 of her sisters volunteered to go nurse the Indian victims, willing to risk their own lives by so doing.  The Indians were touched by this devotion.
     These same Native Americans had earlier complained to the Governor about François d'Youville, who was disobediently selling them liquor.  "We cannot pray God because d'Youville made us drink every day.  If you don't expel him from this island, we don't want to go there again." Thus did Mother d'Youville make reparation for the sins of her husband.  Her nuns continued this restitution by becoming pioneer missionaries among the natives of Canada's West and Northwest. One cannot know St. Marguerite d'Youville without admiring her.  She was one of the most remarkable Catholic women in the history of the Western Hemisphere.   --Father Robert F. McNamara
1533 Blessed Louise degli Albertoni Widow spent her life in works of charity
1601 St. Anne Line  English 1/40 martyr from Dunmow, Essex Widow Feb 27
1617 Mary Victoria Fornari  a vision of Mary established "Le Turchine", i.e. the "Turquoise Annunziate", or "Blue Nuns"  sky-blue scapulars and cloaks
1618     BD MARY OF THE INCARNATION, WIDOW


1821 Bd Elizabeth Ann Seton (neé bayley) .  Born In New York City, 1774; married Wiliam Seton, 1794; widowed in 1803; received into the Catholic Church in 1804; made religious vows, 1809; died at Emmitsburg in Maryland, 4 January 1821.  Mother Seton founded the American Sisters of Charity and was the first native-born American citizen to be beatified, in 1963.
1854 May 22 Joaquina Vedruna de Mas, Widow Foundress founded the Institute of the Carmelites of Charity, whose sisters are dedicated to tending the sick and teaching. (AC)

1865 Dec 24 BD PAULA CERIOLI, WIDOW, Foundress OF THE INSTITUTE OF THE HOLY FAMILY OF BERGAMO

CONSTANCE CERIOLI was born at Soncino, near Bergamo, in 1816, the last of the sixteen Children of Don Francis Cerioli and his wife Countess Frances Corniani, and was educated by the Visitation nuns. At the age of nineteen she was married to a wealthy widower of sixty, Gaetano Buzecchi-Tassis. He was a worthy man but misanthropic and unattractive, and in any case Constance’s agreement to the marriage was only passive. The match was made by the parents in accordance with the custom of the time and place, of which custom her biographer, Father Federici, says, “It is not so much illogical...as a usurpation”. The results in this case were certainly painful, but not tragic, for from very early years Con­stance was drawn to God and sincerely relied upon His grace. The marriage subsisted for nineteen years, and three children were born. Two died in infancy the eldest, Charles, lived to be only sixteen, and his memory was an important influence throughout his mother’s life.

Gaetano Buzecchi died in 1854, leaving his widow extremely well off. That the orphans of the countryside should be the real heirs of this fortune was finally decided by a chance word of her parish priest. Constance at once took two motherless children into her mansion of Comonte, at Senate in Lombardy; and she determined to devote herself and her estate to the welfare of orphans, boys and girls, specifically the children of peasants, who should be brought up and trained with the life of the land in view.

Her first helper and always her right-hand was Louisa Corti. Her advisers and faithful friends were Canon Valsecchi and the bishop of Bergamo, Mgr

Speranza. On the other side were those who said she was cracked”, as the bishop reported to her. “So I am”, she replied, “by the lunacy of the Cross!”

Other helpers soon joined, and in 1857 Constance Cerioli made her religious vows, taking the names Paula Elizabeth; a few months later the Sisters of the Holy Family came officially into being. They increased and prospered, and in another five years the second part of Sister Paula’s project was born a brothers’ branch of the congregation, to look after male orphans, was established at Villa Campagna, near Soncino, in the care of John Capponi, a hospital official from Leffe.

Sister Paula always resolutely confined her work to the preparation of children and young people for rural life. In those days agriculture and its workers were not the public concern that they are today, and Italy owes not a little in the matter to the Institute of the Holy Family, notably to the agricultural training given at the boys’ establishments. It is appropriate that this work should have been begun not a great way from Virgil’s Mantua. 0 fortunatos nimium, sua Si bona norint, agricolas: “How blest indeed are husbandmen, did they but know their happiness l “ It was part of Ed Paula’s vocation to help them to know it, in spite of the atrocious poverty of Italian peasant life.

She did not long survive the foundation at Villa Campagna. She had always been delicate, with a slight spinal deformity, and her heart became increasingly troublesome. She died in her sleep at Comonte in the early hours of Christmas eve, 1865. She had named her foundation after the Holy Family, her devotion to St Joseph was outstanding: the day could not have been better. And the quietness of her passing was of a piece with a life that, for all its activities, was always marked by interior peace and devotion to Jesus Christ. Bd Paula Cerioli was beatified in 5950.

In addition to the documents of the beatification process there are the memoirs of Mother Corti and the writings of the beata. A biography by Mgr P. Merati was published in 1899. These were all fully used by the Rev. E. Federici in his official life of Bd Paula (1950)


34 St. Tabitha  good deeds and almsgiving raised from dead Peter
Widow of Joppa (in modern Israel), who was mentioned in the Acts of the Apostles (9:36-42) as one who was completely occupied with good deeds and almsgiving. She fell ill and died and was raised from the dead by St. Peter. Tabitha is sometimes called Dorcas.
Tabitha (Dorcas), Widow (AC) 1st century. The widow Tabitha of Joppa believed in Jesus Christ. She was raised from the dead by Saint Peter (Acts 9:36- 43).
3rd century St. Tryphonia Roman widow and martyr
Romæ sanctæ Tryphóniæ, quæ Décii Cæsaris quondam uxor ac sanctæ Vírginis et Mártyris Cyrillæ mater éxstitit; cujus corpus in crypta, juxta sanctum Hippólytum, sepúltum est.
    At Rome, St. Tryphonia, at one time the wife of Caesar Decius, the mother of St. Cyrilla, virgin and martyr.  She was buried in a crypt, near that of St. Hippolytus.

Tradition states that she may have been the widow of the Christian enemy, Emperor Trajanus Decius or the widow of his son.

Tryphonia of Rome, Widow M (RM). In legend Tryphonia is either the wife of Emperor Decius or his son, Messius Decius. She was a Roman widow martyred in Rome. Her Acta are worthless (Benedictines).
304 Julitta The Holy Martyred for the faith A certain pagan stole all her property, and when Julitta turned for relief to the courts, her antagonist reported to the judge that she was a Christian, which placed her outside the law's protection.
Cæsaréæ, in Cappadócia, sanctæ Julíttæ Mártyris, quæ, cum bona sua, a quodam poténte sibi usurpáta, in judícia repéteret, atque ille exceptiónem daret quod ut Christiáno non debéret audíri, mox a Júdice jussa est thus idólis offérre, ut posset audíri.  Quod illa constánter recúsans, in ignem conjécta est, sicque spíritum Deo réddidit; corpus autem a flamma remánsit illæsum.  Ejus præclárus laudes sanctus Basilíus Magnus egrégio encómio celebrávit.
    At Caesarea in Cappadocia, St. Julitta, martyr.  As she sought through the courts the restitution of goods seized by a man of influence, the latter objected that, being a Christian, her cause could not be pleaded.  The judge commanded her to offer sacrifice to the idols, that she might be heard.  She refused with great constancy, and being thrown into the fire, yielded her soul unto God.  Her body remained uninjured by the flames.  St. Basil the Great has proclaimed her praise in an excellent eulogy.
Julitta lived at Caesarea in Cappadocia during the reign of the emperor Diocletian (284-305).

The judge demanded that the saint renounce Christ, for which he promised to return her unlawfully taken property. St Julitta resolutely refused the deceitful conditions, and for this she was burned to death in the year 304 (or 305).
St Basil the Great wrote an Encomium to St Julitta 70 years after her death as a martyr.
   Emperor Diocletian by the edicts which he issued against the Christians in 303 declared them infamous, debarred from protection of the laws and from the privileges of citizens.  St Julitta was a widow of Caesarea in Cappadocia, and possessed of farms, cattle, goods and slaves.
  A powerful man of the town got possession of a considerable part of her estate: and when he could not make good his title before the magistrate, charged her with being a Christian. The judge caused incense to be brought into the court, and commanded her to offer sacrifice to Zeus; but she courageously made answer, "May my estates be ruined or given to strangers; may I lose my life, and may my body be cut in pieces, rather than that by the least impious word I should offend God that made me. If you take from me a little portion of this earth, I shall gain Heaven for it."  The judge without more ado confirmed to the usurper the estates to which he unjustly laid claim, and condemned Julitta to the flames.  She was led to the fire, walked boldly into it, and was killed, it would seem, by the smoke stifling her, for her body was drawn out dead before the flames reached it.
   Julitta was buried by her fellow Christians, and St Basil, in a homily written about the year 375, says of her body, "It enriches with blessings both the place and those who come to it", and he assures us that "the earth which received the body of this blessed woman sent forth a spring of most pleasant water, whereas all the neighbouring waters are brackish. This water preserves health and relieves the sick."
We know practically nothing of St Julitta beyond what is contained in the homily of St Basil (Migne, PG., vol. xxxi, cc. 237-261).  The Acta Sanctorum, July, vol. vii, give a Latin translation with introductory matter.
303 St. Julitta Martyred woman of Caesarea in Cappadocia, in modem Turkey. She lost all her estates in a court case. Her opponent suffered a decision against his claims and denounced Julitta as a Christian, thus gaining the entire land in the dispute. She was burned at the stake .
319 St. Cleopatra Widow -- St. Varus miraculously came to comfort her
St Varus, Martyr, And St Cleopatra, Widow
The circumstances of the passion of St Varus in Egypt are summarized thus by the Roman Martyrology: “Varus, a soldier, in the time of the Emperor Maximinus, visited and fed seven holy monks while they were kept in prison. When one of them died offered himself as a substitute in his place. And so, after suffering most cruel torments, he received the martyr’s palm with them.”
   The mangled body of St Varus was secured by a Christian woman named Cleopatra, who hid it in a bale of wool and, so disguised, transported it to Adraha (Dera’s, east of Lake Tiberias), where she lived, and many Christians came to visit the martyr’s tomb. When Cleopatra’s son, John, was about to become a soldier, she determined to build a basilica in honour of Varus and to translate his body thereto, and at the same time to put her son and his fortunes under the particular patronage of this martyr who had himself been a soldier. She therefore built a church, and at its dedication she and John themselves carried the bones of St Varus to their new shrine under the altar.
   That same evening John was taken suddenly ill, and during the night he died. Cleopatra had his body carried into the new church and laid before the altar, and she gave way to her grief and reviled the saint in whose honour she had done so much. She called on God to restore to life her only child whose body lay there, and so she remained till the following night, when she sank into a deep sleep, exhausted by weeping and sorrow. While she slept she dreamed that St Varus appeared to her in glory, leading John by the hand, and that she laid hold of their feet in mute supplication. And Varus looked down on her and said, “Have I forgotten all the love you have shown for me? Did I not pray to God that He would give health and advancement to your son? And behold! The prayer is answered.  He has given him health for evermore and raised him to be among the hosts who follow the Lamb whithersoever He goeth.” “I am satisfied”, replied Cleopatra, “but I pray you that I also may be taken, that I may be with my son and you.”
St Varus replied, “No. Leave your son with me, and wait awhile, and then we will fetch you.” When Cleopatra awoke she did as she had been bidden in her dream and had the body of John lain beside that of Varus. And she lived a life of devotion and penitence until, when seven years were passed, she also was called to God, and her body was buried with John and Varus in the basilica she had built.
The Roman Martyrology does not mention either St Cleopatra or her son, but they are referred to in the Greek Menaion under the date October 19. There is a Greek passio edited in the Acta Sanctorum, October, vol. viii, but in the absence of early cultus this pathetic story must be regarded with great suspicion.

Widow of Palestine who rescued the remains of St. Varus, martyred in some earlier persecution. She enshrined the saint’s remains in her home in Dera, in Syria. When a church was dedicated to St. Varus, Cleopatra’s young son died, and the saint miraculously came to comfort her.
Cleopatra of Syria, Widow, and Varus M (AC). The Palestine widow Saint Cleopatra secured the body of Saint Varus, and enshrined it in her home at Derâ'a, Syria. On the day it was dedicated as a church, her 12-year-old son died. The grieving mother was comforted, however, when her son and Saint Varus appeared to her in a vision (Benedictines)
.

Saint Cleopatra and her son John came from the village of Edra near Mount Tabor in Palestine. She was a contemporary of the holy Martyr Varus and witnessed his voluntary suffering. After the execution, St Cleopatra brought the body of the holy martyr to her own country and buried him with reverence. Cleopatra had one beloved son, John, who had attained the honorable rank of officer. To the great sorrow of his mother, John suddenly died. Cleopatra with tears of grief turned to the relics of the holy Martyr Varus, begging him for the return of her son.

Varus and her son appeared to Cleopatra in a dream, radiant in bright attire with crowns upon their heads. She realized that the Lord had received her son into the heavenly Kingdom, and was comforted. After this vision blessed Cleopatra started to live by a church she built over the relics of the holy martyr Varus and her son John, and performed many good deeds. She distributed her property to the poor and spent her time in prayer and fasting. After seven years she fell asleep in the Lord.
370 ST PUBLIA, WIDOW; a woman of good family in Antioch who was left a widow. She gathered together in her house a number of consecrated virgins and widows who wished to live a common life of devotion and charity.
Antiochíæ sanctæ Públiæ Abbatíssæ, quæ, transeúnte Juliáno Apóstata, Davídicum illud cum suis Virgínibus canens: « Simulácra Géntium argéntum et aurum », et « Símiles illis fiant qui fáciunt ea », Imperatóris jussu, álapis cæsa est, et gráviter objurgáta.
    At Antioch, St. Publia, abbess.  While Julian the Apostate was passing by, she and her religious sang these words of David: "The idols of the Gentiles are silver and gold," and "Let them that make them be like unto them."  By the command of the emperor, she was struck on the face and severely rebuked.

ST PUBLIA, mentioned in the Roman Martyrology today as an “abbess”, is referred to by the historian Theodoret as a woman of good family in Antioch who was left a widow. She gathered together in her house a number of consecrated virgins and widows who wished to live a common life of devotion and charity.
In the year 362 Julian the Apostate came to Antioch to prepare for his campaign against the Persians, and as he was passing by the house of Publia one day he stopped to listen to the inmates, who were singing the praises of God in their oratory. It so happened that they were singing the 115th psalm, and the emperor distinguished the words, “The idols of the Gentiles are silver and gold, the works of the hands of men: they have mouths and speak not”, and so on to the verse, “Let them that make them become like unto them, and all such as trust in them”. He was furious at what he took to be a personal insult, and bade the women be silent, then and in the future. They replied by singing, at the word of Publia, psalm 67:
“Let God arise and let His enemies be scattered,” Thereupon Julian ordered her to be brought before him, and in spite of her sex and venerable appearance allowed her to be struck by his guards. Not thus could the choral prayer of the Christians be silenced, and it is said that the emperor intended to have put them all to death when he came back from Persia. But he was destined never to return alive and St Publia and her companions finished their course in peace.

See the Acta Sanctorum, October, vol. iv, where Theodoret’s account (Hist. Eccles., iii, 19) is quoted.
387 Saint Monica, mother of St Augustine of Hippo (June 15)
Apud Ostia Tiberína sanctæ Mónicæ, beáti Augustíni matris, cujus ille præcláram vitam, in libro nono Confessiónum, testatam relíquit.
    At Ostia, the birthday of St. Monica, mother of blessed Augustine.  He has left us in the ninth book of his Confessions a beautiful sketch of her life.
{In der katholischen Kirche wurde ihr Fest bis 1969 am 4. Mai gefeiert.}
387 ST MONICA, WIDOW
THE Church is doubly indebted to St Monica, the ideal of wifely forbearance and holy widowhood, whom we commemorate upon this day, for she not only gave bodily life to the great teacher Augustine, but she was also God’s principal instrument in bringing about his spiritual birth by grace. She was born in North Africa—probably at Tagaste, sixty miles from Carthage—of Christian parents, in the year 332. Her early training was entrusted to a faithful retainer who treated her young charges wisely, if somewhat strictly. Amongst the regulations she inculcated was that of never drinking between meals. “It is water you want now”, she would say, “but when you become mistresses of the cellar you will want wine—not water—and the habit will remain with you.”
But when Monica grew old enough to be charged with the duty of drawing wine for the household, she disregarded the excellent maxim, and from taking occasional secret sips in the cellar, she soon came to drinking whole cupfuls with relish. One day, however, a slave who had watched her and with whom she was having an altercation, called her a wine-bibber. The shaft struck home: Monica was overwhelmed with shame and never again gave way to the temptation. Indeed, from the day of her baptism, which took place soon afterwards, she seems to have lived a life exemplary in every particular.
As soon as she had reached a marriageable age, her parents gave .her as wife to a citizen of Tagaste, Patricius by name, a pagan not without generous qualities, but violent-tempered and dissolute. Monica had much to put up with from him, but she bore all with the patience of a strong, well-disciplined character. He, on his part, though inclined to criticize her piety and liberality to the poor, always regarded her with respect and never laid a hand upon her, even in his worst fits of rage. When other matrons came to complain of their husbands and to show the marks of blows -they had received, she did not hesitate to tell them that they very often brought this treatment upon themselves by their tongues. In the long run, Monica’s prayers and example resulted in winning over to Christianity not only her husband, but also her cantankerous mother-in-law, whose presence as a permanent inmate of the house had added considerably to the younger woman’s difficulties.
Patricius died a holy death in 371, the year after his baptism. Of their children, at least three survived,  two sons and a daughter, and it was in the elder son, Augustine, that the parents’ ambitions centred, for he was brilliantly clever, and they were resolved to give him the best possible education. Nevertheless, his waywardness, his love of pleasure and his fits of idleness caused his mother great anxiety. He had been admitted a catechumen in early youth and once, when he was thought to be dying, arrangements were made for his baptism, but his sudden recovery caused it to be deferred indefinitely. At the date of his father’s death he was seventeen and a student in Carthage, devoting himself especially to rhetoric. Two years later Monica was cut to the heart at the news that Augustine was leading a wicked life, and had as well embraced the Manichean heresy. For a time after his return to Tagaste she went so far as to refuse to let him live in her house or eat at her table that she might not have to listen to his blasphemies. But she relented as the result of a consoling vision which was vouchsafed to her. She seemed to be standing on a wooden beam bemoaning her son’s downfall when she was accosted by a radiant being who questioned her as to the cause of her grief. He then bade her dry her eyes and added, “Your son is with you”. Casting her eyes towards the spot he indicated, she beheld Augustine standing on the, beam beside her. Afterwards, when she told the dream to Augustine he flippantly remarked that they might easily be together if Monica would give up her faith, but she promptly replied, “He did not say that I was with you: he said that you were with me”.
Her ready retort made a great impression upon her son, who in later days regarded it as an inspiration. This happened about the end of 377, almost nine years before Augustine’s conversion. During all that time Monica never ceased her efforts on his behalf. She stormed heaven by her prayers and tears: she fasted: she watched: she importuned the clergy to argue with him, even though they assured her that it was useless in his actual state of mind. “The heart of the young man is at present too stubborn, but God’s time will come”, was the reply of a wise bishop who had formerly been a Manichean himself. Then, as she persisted, he said in words which have become famous: “Go now, I beg of you: it is not possible that the son of so many tears should perish”. This reply and the assurance she had received in the vision gave her the encouragement she was sorely needing, for there was as yet in her elder son no indication of any change of heart.
Augustine was twenty-nine years old when he resolved to go to Rome to teach rhetoric. Monica, though opposed to the plan because she feared it would delay his conversion, was determined to accompany him if he persisted in going, and followed him to the port of embarkation. Augustine, on the other hand, had made

She was born in 322 in Tagaste, North Africa. Her parents were Christians, but little is known of her early life. Most of our information about her comes from Book IX of her son's CONFESSIONS.

St Monica was married to a pagan official named Patritius, who had a short temper and lived an immoral life. At first, her mother-in-law did not like her, but Monica won her over by her gentle disposition. Unlike many women of that time, she was never beaten by her husband. She said that Patritius never raised his hand against her because she always held her tongue, setting a guard over her mouth in his presence. (Ps. 38/39:1).

St Monica and Patritius had three children: St Augustine, Navigius and Perpetua. It was a source of great sorrow to her that Patritius would not permit them to be baptized. She worried about Augustine, who lived with a young woman in Carthage and had an illegitimate son with her. Her constant prayers and tears for her son had the effect of converting her husband to Christ before his death. Augustine, however, continued on the path that led away from Christ.

While in Carthage, Augustine fell under the influence of the heretical Manichean sect. His mother was horrified and tried to turn him away from his error. She had a dream in which she was told to be patient and gentle with her son. Augustine, however, paid little attention to her arguments, and remained in his delusion for nine years. St Monica must have felt disheartened and disappointed, but she never gave up on him. She even tried to enlist the help of a bishop who had once been a Manichean himself, but he would not dispute with Augustine. He said he couldn't reason with the young man, because he was still attracted by the novelty of the heresy. He did reassure her saying, "Go on your way, and God bless you, for it is not possible that the son of these tears should be lost."

St Monica went to Rome with Augustine when he lectured there in 383. Later, he received an appointment to Milan, where he met St Ambrose (December 7) and was greatly impressed by his preaching. Bishop Ambrose came to have a high regard for St Monica, and often congratulated Augustine on having such a virtuous mother.

One day Augustine was reading the New Testament in a garden, and came to Romans 13:12-14. There and then Augustine decided to "cast off the works of darkness," and to "put on the Lord Jesus Christ." He was baptized on the eve of Pascha in 387.

After his baptism, Augustine and his mother planned to return to Africa. They stopped to rest in Ostia, where St Monica fell asleep in the Lord at the age of sixty-five. She was buried at Ostia, and her holy relics were transferred to the crypt of a church in the sixth century. Nine centuries later, St Monica's relics were translated to Rome.
In the West, St Monica is considered the patron saint of wives and mothers whose husbands or sons have gone astray.
Monnica (Monika) Orthodoxe Kirche: 15. Juni  Katholische, Anglikanische und Evangelische Kirche: 27. August
Monika wurde 332 in Tagaste (Nordafrika) geboren. Sie wurde christlich erzogen, dann aber mit einem heidnische Ehemann verheiratet. Obwohl ihr Mann sie schlug und Liebschaften unterhielt, blieb Monika zu ihm sanft und freundlich. Sie gebar drei Kinder, von denen Augustinus der Älteste war. Monika litt sehr darunter, daß Augustinus ein ausschweifendes Leben führte, mit seiner Geliebten ein Kind hatte und sich den Manichäern zuwandte. Augustinus versuchte, vor ihren stummen Mahnungen zu fliehen und reiste heimlich nach Mailand. Monika gab ihn nicht auf, sondern sobald sie seinen Aufenthaltsort erfuhr, reiste sie ihm hinterher und konnte in Mailand seine Bekehrung und seine Taufe miterleben. Auf der gemeinsamen Rückreise nach Afrika starb sie in Ostia, wohl im Oktober 387.
Ein Bischof, dem sie ihr Leid über das unchristliche Leben ihres Sohnes klagte, erwiderte ihr: Ein Kind so vieler Tränen und Gebete kann nicht verloren gehen. So wurde Monika zur Patronin der Mütter und
Müttervereine
387 St. Monica  Monica kept praying for her son's conversion for 17 years
Monnica (Monika) Orthodoxe Kirche: 15. Juni  Katholische, Anglikanische und Evangelische Kirche: 27. August n der katholischen Kirche wurde ihr Fest bis 1969 am 4. Mai gefeiert.

387 ST MONICA, Widow
THE Church is doubly indebted to St Monica, the ideal of wifely forbearance and holy widowhood, whom we commemorate upon this day, for she not only gave bodily life to the great teacher Augustine, but she was also God's principal instrument in bringing about his spiritual birth by grace.

She was born in North Africa -probably at Tagaste, sixty miles from Carthage-of Christian parents, in the year 332. Her eatly training was entrusted to a faithful retainer who treated her young charges wisely, if somewhat strictly. Amongst the regulations she inculcated was that of never drinking between meals. "It is water you want now ", she would say, "but when you become mistresses of the cellar you will want wine-not water -and the habit will remain with you." But when Monica grew old enough to be charged with the duty of drawing wine for the household, she disregarded the excellent maxim, and from taking occasional secret sips in the cellar, she soon came to drinking whole cupfuls with relish. One day, however, a slave who had watched her and with whom she was having an altercation, called her a wine-bibber.  The shaft struck home: Monica was overwhelmed with shame and never again gave way to the temptation.  Indeed, from the day of her baptism, which took place soon afterwards, she seems to have lived a life exemplary in every particular.
  As soon as she had reached a marriageable age, her parents gave her as wife to a citizen of Tagaste, Patricius by name, a pagan not without generous qualities, but violent-tempered and dissolute. Monica had much to put up with from him, but she bore alt with the patience of a strong, well-disciplined character.  He, on his part, though inclined to criticize her piety and liberality to the poor, always regarded her with respect and never laid a hand upon her, even in his wont fits of rage.  When other matrons came to complain of their husbands and to show the marks of blows they had received, she did not hesitate to tell them that they very often brought this treatment upon themselves by their tongues.  In the long run, Monica's prayers and example resulted in winning over to Christianity not only her husband, but also her cantankerous mother-in-law, whose presence as a permanent inmate of the house had added considerably to the younger woman's difficulties.  Patricius died a holy death in 371, the year after his baptism.   Of their children, at least three survived, two sons and a daughter, and it was in the elder son, Augustine, that the parents' ambitions centred, for he was brilliantly clever, and they were resolved to give him the best possible education.  Nevertheless, his waywardness, his love of pleasure and his fits of idleness caused his mother great anxiety.  He had been admitted a catechumen in early youth and once, when he was thought to be dying, arrangements were made for his baptism, but his sudden recovery caused it to be deferred indefinitely. At the date of his father's death he was seventeen and a student in Carthage, devoting himself especially to rhetoric.  Two years later Monica was cut to the heart at the news that Augustine was leading a wicked life, and had as well embraced the Manichean heresy.  For a time after his return to Tagaste she went so far as to refuse to let him live in her house or eat at her table that she might not have to listen to his blasphemies. But she relented as the result of a consoling vision which was vouchsafed to her.  She seemed to be standing on a wooden beam bemoaning her son's downfall when she was accosted by a radiant being who questioned her as to the cause of her grief. He then bade her dry her eyes and added, "Your son is with you ". Casting her eyes towards the spot he indicated, she beheld Augustine standing on the beam beside her.  Aterwards, when she told the dream to Augustine he flippantly remarked that they might easily be together if Monica would give up her faith, but she promptly replied, " He did not say that I was with you: he said that you were with me
  Her ready retort made a great impression upon her son, who in later days regarded it as an inspiration.  This happened about the end of 377, almost nine years before Augustine's conversion. During all that time Monica never ceased her efforts on his behalf. She stormed heaven by her prayers and tears: she fasted: she watched: she importuned the clergy to argue with him, even though they assured her that it was useless in his actual state of mind. " The heart of the young man is at present too stubborn, but God's time will come ", was the reply of a wise bishop who had formerly been a Manichean himself.    Then, as she persisted, he said in words which have become famous: "Go now, I beg of you: it is not possible that the son of so many tears should perish ". This reply and the assurance she had received in the vision gave her the encouragement she was sorely needing, for there was as yet in her elder son no indication of any change of heart.
  Augustine was twenty-nine years old when he resolved to go to Rome to teach rhetoric. Monica, though opposed to the plan because she feared it would delay his conversion, was determined to accompany him if he persisted in going, and followed him to the port of embarkation. Augustine, on the other hand, had made up his mind to go without her. He accordingly resorted to an unworthy stratagem.  He pretended he was only going to speed a parting friend, and whilst Monica was spending the night in prayer in the church of St Cyprian, he set sail alone.  "I deceived her with a lie", he wrote afterwards in his Confessions, "while she was weeping and praying for me ". Deeply grieved as Monica was when she discovered how she had been tricked, she was still resolved to follow him, but she reached Rome only to find that the bird had flown.  Augustine had gone on to Milan. There he came under the influence of the great bishop St Ambrose. When Monica at last tracked her son down, it was to learn from his own lips, to her unspeakable joy, that he was no longer a Manichean. Though he declared that he was not yet a Catholic Christian, she replied with equanimity that he would certainly be one before she died.
  To St Ambrose she turned with heartfelt gratitude and found in him a true father in God. She deferred to him in all things, abandoning at his wish practices which had become dear to her. For instance, she had been in the habit of carrying wine, bread and vegetables to the tombs of the martyrs in Africa and had begun to do the same in Milan, when she was told that St Ambrose had forbidden the practice as tending to intemperance and as approximating too much to the heathen parentalia. She desisted at once, though Augustine doubted whether she would have given in so promptly to anyone else.  At Tagaste she had always kept the Saturday fast, which was customary there as well as in Rome. Perceiving that it was not observed in Milan, she induced Augustine to question St Ambrose as to what she herself ought to do. The reply she received has been incorporated into canon law: "When I am here, I do not fast on Saturday, but I fast when I am in Rome; do the same, and always follow the custom and discipline of the Church as it is observed in the particular locality in which you find yourself". St Ambrose, on his part, had the highest opinion of St Monica and was never tired of singing her praises to her son.   In Milan as in Tagaste, she was foremost among the devout women, and when the Arian queen mother, Justina, was persecuting St Ambrose, Monica was one of those who undertook long vigils on his behalf, prepared to die with him or for him.
  At last, in August 386, there came the long-desired moment when Augustine announced his complete acceptance of the Catholic faith. For some time previously Monica had been trying to arrange for him a suitable marriage, but he now declared that he would from henceforth live a celibate life.  Then, when the schools rose for the season of the vintage, he retired with his mother and some of his friends to the villa of one of the party named Verecundius at Cassiciacum. There the time of preparation before Augustine's baptism was spent in religious and philosophical conversations, some of which are recorded in the Confessions.   In all these talks Monica took part, displaying remarkable penetration and judgement and showing herself to be exceptionally well versed in the Holy Scriptures. At Easter, 387, St Ambrose baptized St Augustine, together with several of his friends, and soon afterwards the party set out to return to Africa.  They made their way to Ostia, there to await a ship, but Monica's life was drawing to an end, though no one but herself suspected it.  In a conversation with Augustine shortly before her last illness she said, "Son, nothing in this world now affords me delight.  I do not know what there is now left for me to do or why I am still here, all my hopes in this world being now fulfilled.  All I wished to live for was that I might see you a Catholic and a child of Heaven. God has granted me more than this in making you despise earthly felicity and consecrate yourself to His service."
Monica had often expressed a desire to be buried beside Patricius, and therefore one day, as she was expatiating on the happiness of death, she was asked if she would not be afraid to die and be buried in a place so far from home. "Nothing is far from God", she replied, "neither am I afraid that God will not find my body to raise it with the rest." Five days later she was taken ill, and she suffered acutely until the ninth day, when she passed to her eternal reward. She was fifty-five. Augustine, who closed her eyes, restrained his own tears and those of his son Adeodatus, deeming a display of grief out of place at the funeral of one who had died so holy a death. But afterwards, when he was alone and began to think of all her love and care for her children, he broke down altogether for a short time.  He writes: "If any one thinks it wrong that I thus wept for my mother some small part of an hour-a mother who for many years had wept for me that I might live to thee, 0 Lord-let him not deride me. But if his charity is great, let him weep also for my sins before thee." In the Confessions, Augustine asks the prayers of his readers for Monica and Patricius, but it is her prayers which have been invoked by successive generations of the ftithful who venerate her as a special patroness of married women and as a pattern for all Christian mothers.
We know practically nothing of St Monica apart from what can be gleaned from St Augustine's own writings and especially from bk. ix of the Confessions. A letter reviewing her life and describing her last moments, which purports to have been addressed by St Augustine to his sister, Perpetua, is  certainly not authentic. The text of this will be found in the Acta Sanctorum, May, vol. i, and elsewhere. In the article "Monique" in DAC., vol. xi, cc. 2332-2356, Dom H. Leclercq has collected a good deal of infonnation concerning Tagaste, now known as Suk Arrhas, and the newly discovered foundations of a basilica at Carthage.  It is difficult, however, to see what connection this has with St Monica, beyond the fact that the name " St Monica's" has, in modern times, been given to a chapel in the neighbourhood. It must be confessed that little or no trace can be found of a enlists of St Monica before the translation of her remains from Ostia to Rome, which is alleged to have taken place in 1430. Her body thus translated is believed to rest in the church of S. Agostino.  Of the many lives of St Monica which have been written in modem times that by Mgr Bougaud (Eng. trans., 1896) may be specially recommended. There are others by F. A. M. Forbes (1915) and by E. Procter (1931), not to speak of those in French, German and Italian.
Monica was married by arrangement to a pagan official in North Africa, who was much older than she, and although generous, was also violent tempered. His mother Lived with them and was equally difficult, which proved a constant challenge to St. Monica. She had three children; Augustine, Navigius, and Perpetua. Through her patience and prayers, she was able to convert her husband and his mother to the Catholic faith in 370. He died a year later. Perpetua and Navigius entered the religious Life. St. Augustine was much more difficult, as she had to pray for him for 17 years, begging the prayers of priests who, for a while, tried to avoid her because of her persistence at this seemingly hopeless endeavor. One priest did console her by saying, "it is not possible that the son of so many tears should perish." This thought, coupled with a vision that she had received strengthened her. St. Augustine was baptized by St. Ambrose in 387. St. Monica died later that same year, on the way back to Africa from Rome in the Italian town of Ostia.

Monica, Matron (RM) Born at Tagaste or Carthage, North Africa, in 331-2; died at Ostia, Italy, in 387.
Monica, the eldest of three children of Christian parents, was reared by a family retained, who led her charges in a strict life. According to one story, the servant never allowed them to drink between meals because, "It is water you want now, but when you become mistresses of your own cellar, you will want wine--not water--and the habit will remain with you. Nevertheless, when as a young girl she was given the duty of drawing wine for the family, she ignored the maxim and indulged in wine until the day an angry servant caught her drunk and called her a "winebibber." From that day she made a vow (that she kept) that she would never drink anything but water.
She married the pagan Patricius who had an uncontrollable temper.

Her mother-in-law, also a pagan, usually sided with Patricius and told false tells to the servants about Monica, who met all their insults with silence. Although he felt some contempt for her devoutness and generosity to the poor, he respected her. Her silence would overcome her husband's wrath. He never physically abused her, despite his explosive temper, and when other women showed her bruises received at the hands of their husbands, Monica told them that their tongues brought the treatment upon them.
Over time her meekness, humility and prayers transformed Patricius, who became a catechumen, and her mother-in-law. The formerly formal relationship of the couple developed into a warm, spiritual devotion. He died a happy death soon after his baptism in 370.  The marriage produced three children that lived: Augustine, Navigius, and Perpetua. Her eldest, Saint Augustine, was born in 354. He was inscribed as a catechumen in infancy, but was not baptized. He was gifted with a mother who spoke often of God's love and her faith.
When widowed about 371, at the age of 40, Monica vowed to belong wholly to God, renounced all worldly pleasures, and ministered to the poor and orphaned while still fulfilling her maternal duties, especially the conversion of her wayward son.
The family was relatively poor, but a rich citizen of Tagaste met Augustine's educational expenses at the university in Carthage. Monica hoped studying philosophy and science would bring back her wayward son to God, but she did not realize Carthage was a seething mass of iniquity.

Augustine had a 15-year, faithful common-law marriage and a son named Adeodatus or "given by God." In Carthage, he joined the heretical Manichees and persuaded others to follow suit. The Manichean doctrine that bodily actions had no moral significance brought relief to Augustine's troubled soul. He returned to Tagaste for his vacation and Monica threw him out. When Monica heard that Augustine had become a Manichean and was living a dissolute life, she refused to allow him to live in her home. He was not to return until he had renounced his errors and submitted to the truth. Unlike many modern minds, Monica refused to allow her son's life to be devastated by a vain deceit.
Then she had a vision in which she seemed to be standing on a wooden beam, despairing of his fall, when a shining being asked her the reason for her lamentation. She answered and he told her to stop crying. Looking toward the spot he indicated, she saw Augustine standing of the beam next to her. She repeated the vision to her son, and he replied playfully that they might easily be together if Monica renounced her faith.
After completing his studies, Augustine opened a school of oratory in Carthage and instructed his disciples in the principles of Manicheism. In doing so, he discovered that the Manicheans were more adept in attacking Catholicism than in establishing the truth of their own theories. And his new religion was incapable of relieving his grief at the death of a close friend.
Augustine tells us that Monica shed "more tears for my spiritual death than other mothers shed for the bodily death of a son." Monica kept praying for her son's conversion for 17 years. To add power to her prayers, she fasted, making Holy Communion her daily food and she was often favored with the grace of ecstasy. An unnamed bishop comforted her that her son was young and stubborn, but that God's time would come because "The son of so many tears cannot possibly be lost."
At the age of 29, Augustine finally tired of the frivolity of Carthage, moved to Rome to teach rhetoric. Monica was determined to accompany him, but he tricked her and sailed alone. Soon after his arrival he became deathly ill. He recovered and opened his school. Monica fretted because of the tone of his letters and the reputed vice of Rome, so she followed him after selling her few remaining possessions. In the meantime, Saint Symmachus offered Augustine a chair in rhetoric in Milan, after he won a competition. When she arrived in Rome, he had already left, but she hurried on to Milan.
Upon arrival in Milan, Augustine had paid a courtesy visit to Bishop Saint Ambrose, to whom he felt attraction of a kindred spirit. Augustine came to love the bishop as a father and went every Sunday to hear Ambrose as an orator as he preached. At the age of 30, Augustine began to see the folly of Manicheism and its gross misrepresentation of the Church, but he still did not believe. When Monica arrived in Milan, her first visit was also to Ambrose and they understood one another at once. She became his faithful disciple and Ambrose's "heart warmed to Monica because of her truly pious way of life, her zeal in good works, and her faithfulness in worship. Often when he saw [Augustine] he would break out in praise of her, congratulating [the son] on having such a mother." And Augustine wryly notes: "He little knew what sort of a son she had."
Monica turned to Ambrose for spiritual direction, especially in regards to practice. In response to one of her questions on fasting, he gave the famous response: "When I am here, I do not fast on Saturday, but I fast when I am in Rome; do the same, and always follow the custom and discipline of the Church as it is observed in the particular locality in which you find yourself."
Monica and Augustine began to attend Mass together and to discuss the bishop's sermons afterwards. Monica had deeply studied philosophy and theology so that she might be able to deal intelligently with Augustine's difficulties. He began to realize how many things he believed that he could not prove, but accepted on the testimony of others. And so Augustine fulfilled the maxim that "conversions are rarely brought about though an immediate influx of divine grace, but through the agency of events and persons." Saint Monica used every possible wile to bring her son into contact with the bishop.

Augustine had reached a critical point, he must choose God or his mistress. Ever the meddlesome mother, Monica arranged a marriage for him but had to leave him to his decision. She began her penitential discipline in a convent.  Meanwhile Augustine attracted a group of friends in Milan with whom he daily read and discussed the Scriptures. An old priest, Saint Simplicianus, told him of the courageous conversion of old Victorinus, whose translation of Plato he had been reading and convicted Augustine of his cowardice. Pontitianus told him of the life of Saint Antony the Hermit and of how two courtiers had been converted by reading his story.
Immediately after Augustine finally recognized the darkness of his soul, his eyes fell upon Paul's epistle, "Put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh and the concupiscence thereof." Saint Alypius, his friend, too opened the book and read, "He that is weak in faith take unto you."
Augustine went at once to Monica and told her what had happened. Her agony was ended! He attributed his conversion primarily to her. When his instruction was over, he was baptized by Ambrose on Holy Saturday, 387.

Monica's faith purchased for the Catholic Church its keenest philosopher, most comprehensive theologian, most persuasive apologist, and most far-seeing moralist, a wise administrator, a powerful preacher, and a penetrating mystic. Countless now live under the Augustinian rule.

Four years after their arrival in Milan, during a stop at Ostia en route back to Tagaste, Monica told her son: "What I am still to do, or why I still linger in this world, I do not know. There was one reason, one alone, for which I wish to tarry a little longer: that I might see you a Catholic Christian before I die. God has granted me this boon, and more, for I see you his servant, spurning all earthly happiness. What is left for me to do in this life?" Saint Monica died about two weeks later at the age of 56, Augustine was then 33.

Saint Monica's relics are enshrined at Saint Augustine's Church in Rome near the Piazza Navona; other relics are at Arrouaise (Benedictines, Bentley, Delaney, S. Delany, White).

In art, Saint Monica is portrayed in widow's reeds or a nun's habit in scenes with her son Augustine. She might also be shown: (1) enthroned with a book among Augustinian nuns; (2) kneeling with Augustine with an angel over them as she holds a scarf, handkerchief, or book in her hand; (3) praying before an altar with Augustine; (4) saying farewell to him as he departs by ship; (5) holding a tablet engraved with IHS (Roeder); or (6) receiving a monstrance from an angel (White). In this 15th-century Flemish painting, Saint Monica is shown with the Madonna and Child, and Saints Augustine, John the Baptist, and Nicholas of Tolentino.
Monnica (Monika) Orthodoxe Kirche: 15. Juni  Katholische, Anglikanische und Evangelische Kirche: 27. August n der katholischen Kirche wurde ihr Fest bis 1969 am 4. Mai gefeiert.

Monika wurde 332 in Tagaste (Nordafrika) geboren. Sie wurde christlich erzogen, dann aber mit einem heidnische Ehemann verheiratet. Obwohl ihr Mann sie schlug und Liebschaften unterhielt, blieb Monika zu ihm sanft und freundlich. Sie gebar drei Kinder, von denen Augustinus der Älteste war. Monika litt sehr darunter, daß Augustinus ein ausschweifendes Leben führte, mit seiner Geliebten ein Kind hatte und sich den Manichäern zuwandte. Augustinus versuchte, vor ihren stummen Mahnungen zu fliehen und reiste heimlich nach Mailand. Monika gab ihn nicht auf, sondern sobald sie seinen Aufenthaltsort erfuhr, reiste sie ihm hinterher und konnte in Mailand seine Bekehrung und seine Taufe miterleben. Auf der gemeinsamen Rückreise nach Afrika starb sie in Ostia, wohl im Oktober 387.
Ein Bischof, dem sie ihr Leid über das unchristliche Leben ihres Sohnes klagte, erwiderte ihr: Ein Kind so vieler Tränen und Gebete kann nicht verloren gehen. So wurde Monika zur Patronin der Mütter und Müttervereine.
In der katholischen Kirche wurde ihr Fest bis 1969 am 4. Mai gefeiert.
She is venerated at Ostia (near Rome), Italy, and in all Augustinian houses (Roeder). She is the patron saint of married women and mothers (White).

404 St. Paula patroness of widows children Toxotius Blesilla Paulina Eustochium and Rufina
 Apud Béthlehem Judæ dormítio sanctæ Paulæ Víduæ, quæ, cum esset e nobilíssimo Senatórum génere, cum beáta Vírgine Christi Eustóchio, fília sua, renúntians sæculo, facultátes suas paupéribus distríbuit, et ad Præsépe Dómini se recépit; ibíque, multis virtútibus prǽdita et longo coronáta martyrio, ad cæléstia regna transívit.  Ipsíus autem vitam, virtútibus admirándum, sanctus Hierónymus scripsit.
       At Bethlehem of Judea, the death of St. Paula, widow, mother of St. Eustochium, a virgin of Christ, who abandoned her worldly prospects, though she was descended from a noble line of senators, distributed her goods to the poor, and retired to our Lord's manger, where, endowed with many virtues, and crowned with a long martyrdom, she departed for the kingdom of heaven.  Her admirable life was written by St. Jerome.

paulae_ustochium.jpg_with St Jerome

Born in Rome of a noble family on May 5, 347. Paula married Toxotius, and the couple had five

They were regarded as an ideal married couple, and on his death in 379, she renounced the world, lived in the greatest austerity, and devoted herself to helping the poor.
She met St. Jerome in 382 through St. Epiphanius and Paulinus of Antioch and was closely associated with Jerome in his work while he was in Rome.
The death of her daughter Blesilla in 384 left her heartbroken, and in 385 she left Rome with Eustochium, traveled to the Holy Land with Jerome, and a year later settled in Bethlehem under his spiritual direction.
She and Eustochium built a hospice, a monastery, and a convent, which Paula governed. She became Jerome's closest confidante and assistant, taking care of him and helping him in his biblical work, build numerous churches, which were to cause her financial difficulties in her old age, and died at Bethlehem on January 26. She is the patroness of widows.

Born in Rome, 347; died at Bethlehem, 404. She belonged to one of the first families of Rome. Left a widow in 379 at the age of 32 she became, through the influence of St. Marcella and her group, the model of Christian widows. In 382 took place her decisive meeting with St. Jerome, who had come to Rome with St. Epiphanius and Paulinus of Antioch. These two bishops inspired her with an invincible desire to follow the monastic life in the East. After their departure from Rome and at the request of Marcella, Jerome gave readings from Holy Scripture before the group of patrician women among whom St. Paula held a position of honour. Paula was an ardent student. She and her daughter, Eustochium, studied and mastered Hebrew perfectly. By their studies they aimed not so much to acquire knowledge, as a fuller acquaintance with Christian perfection.

She did not, however, neglect her domestic duties. A devoted mother, she married her daughter, Paulina (d. 395), to the senator Pammachius; Blesilla soon became a widow and died in 384. Of her two other daughters, Rufina died in 386, and Eustochium accompanied her mother to the Orient where she died in 419. Her son Toxotius, at first a pagan, but baptized in 385, married in 389 Laeta, daughter of the pagan priest Albinus. Of this marriage was born Paula the Younger, who in 404 rejoined Eustochium in the East and in 420 closed the eyes of St. Jerome. These are the names which recur frequently in the letters of St. Jerome, where they are inseparable from that of Paula.

The death of Blesilla and that of Pope Damasus in 384 completely changed the manner of life of Paula and Jerome. In September, 385, Paula and Eustochium left Rome to follow the monastic life in the East. Jerome, who had preceded them thither by a month, joined them at Antioch. Paula first made in great detail the pilgrimage of all the famous places of the Holy Land, afterward going to Egypt to be edified by the virtues of the anchorites and cenobites, and finally took up her residence at Bethlehem, as did St. Jerome. Then began for Paula, Eustochium, and Jerome their definitive manner of life. The intellectual and spiritual intercourse among these holy persons, begun at Rome, continued and developed. Two monasteries were founded, one for men, the other for women. Paula and Eustochium took a larger share in the exegetical labours of Jerome, and conformed themselves more and more to his direction. An example of their manner of thinking and writing may be seen in the letter they wrote from Bethlehem about 386 to Marcella to persuade her to leave Rome and join them; it is Letter XLVI of the correspondence of Jerome. But God was not sparing of trials to His servants. Their peace was disturbed by constant annoyances, first the controversy concerning Origenism which disturbed their relations with John, Bishop of Jerusalem, and later Paula's need of money, she having been ruined by her generosity. She died in the midst of these trials and good works. The chief and almost the only source of Paula's life is the correspondence of St. Jerome (P. L., XXII). The Life of St. Paula is in Letter CVIII, which, though somewhat rhetorical, is a wonderful production. The other letters which specially concern St. Paula and her family are XXII, XXX, XXXI, XXXIII, XXXVIII, XXXIX, LXVI, CVII.

404 ST PAULA, WIDOW
THIS illustrious pattern of widows surpassed all other Roman matrons in riches, birth and endowments of mind. She was born on May 5 in 347. The blood of the Scipios, the Gracchi and Paulus Aemilius ran in her veins through her mother Blesilla. Her father claimed to trace his pedigree back to Agamemnon, and her husband Toxotius his to Aeneas. By him she had a son, also called Toxotius, and four daughters, Blesilla, Paulina, Eustochium and Rufina. She shone as a pattern of virtue in the married state, and both she and her husband edified Rome by their good example; but her virtue was not without its alloy, a certain degree of love of the world being almost inseparable from a position such as hers. She did not at first discern the secret attachments of her heart, but her eyes were opened by the death of her husband, when she was thirty-two. Her grief was immoderate till such time as she was encouraged to devote herself totally to God by her friend St Marcella, a widow who then edified Rome by her penitential life. Paula thenceforward lived in a most austere way. Her food was simple, she drank no wine; she slept on the floor with no bedding but sackcloth; she renounced all social life and amusements; and everything it was in her power to dispose of she gave away to the poor. She avoided every distraction that interrupted her good works; but she gave hospitality to St Epiphanius of Salamis and to Paulinus of Antioch when they came to Rome; and through them she came to know St Jerome, with whom she was closely associated in the service of God during his stay in Rome under Pope St Damasus.
Paula’s eldest daughter, St Blesilla, dying suddenly, her mother felt this bereavement intensely; and St Jerome, who had just returned to Bethlehem, wrote to comfort her, and also to reprove her for what he regarded as an excess of mourning for one who had gone to her heavenly reward. The second daughter, Paulina, was married to St Pammachius, and died seven years before her mother. St Eustochium, the third, was Paula’s inseparable companion. Rufina died in youth. The more progress St Paula made in the relish of heavenly things, the more insupportable to her became the tumultuous life of the city. She sighed after the desert, longed to live in a hermitage where her heart would have no other occupation than the thought of God. She determined to leave Rome, ready to leave home, family and friends; never did mother love her children more tenderly, yet the tears of the child Toxotius and of the older Rufina could not hold her back. She sailed from Italy with Eustochium in 385, and after visiting St Epiphanius in Cyprus, met St Jerome and others at Antioch. The party made a pilgrimage to all the holy places of Palestine and on to Egypt to visit the monks and anchorets there; a year later they arrived in Bethlehem, and St Paula and St Eustochium settled there under the direction of St Jerome.
Here the two women lived in a cottage until they were able to build a hospice, a monastery for men and a three-fold convent for women. This last properly made but one house, for all assembled in the same chapel day and night for divine service together, and on Sundays in the church that stood hard by. Their food  was coarse and scanty, their fasts frequent and severe. All the sisters worked with their hands, and made clothes for themselves and others. All wore a similar modest habit, and used no linen. No man was ever suffered to set foot within their doors. Paula governed with a charity full of discretion, encouraging them by her own example and instruction, being always among the first at every duty, taking part, like Eustochium, in all the work of the house. If anyone showed herself talkative or passionate, she was separated from the rest, ordered to walk the last in order, to pray outside the door, and for some time to eat alone. Paula extended her love of poverty to her buildings and churches, ordering them all to be built low, and without anything costly or magnificent. She said that money is better expended upon the poor, who are the living members of Christ.
According to Palladius, St Paula had the care of St Jerome and—as might be expected—found it no easy responsibility. But she was also of considerable help to him in his biblical and other work, for she had got Greek from her father and now learned enough Hebrew at any rate to be able to sing the psalms in their original tongue. She too profited sufficiently by the teaching of her master to be able to take an intelligent interest in the unhappy dispute with Bishop John of Jerusalem over Origenism. Her last years were overcast by this and other troubles such as the grave financial stringency that her generosity had brought upon her. Paula’s son Toxotius married Laeta, the daughter of a pagan priest, but herself a Christian. Both were faithful imitators of the holy life of our saint. Their daughter, Paula the younger, was sent to Bethlehem, to be under the care of her grandmother, whom she afterwards succeeded in the government of her religious house. For the education of this child St Jerome sent to Laeta some excellent instructions, which parents can never read too often. God called St Paula to Himself after a life of fifty-six years. In her last illness she repeated almost without intermission certain verses of the psalms that express an ardent desire of the heavenly Jerusalem and of being with God. When she was no longer able to speak, she made the sign of the cross on her lips, and died in peace on January 26, 404.
Practically all that we know of St Paula is derived from the letters of St Jerome, more particularly from letter 108, which might be described as a biography; it is printed in Migne, P.L., vol. xxii, cc. 878—906, and in the Acta Sanctorum for January 26. See also the charming monograph by F. Lagrange, Histoire de Ste Paule, which has gone through many editions since 1868; and R. Génier, Ste Paule (1917).
410 St. Marcella Roman matron gave to the poor
 Romæ sanctæ Marcéllæ Víduæ, cujus præcláras laudes beátus Hierónymus scripsit.
       At Rome, St. Marcella, widow, whose meritorious deeds are related by St. Jerome.
410 ST MARCELLA, WIDOW
ST Marcella is styled by St Jerome the glory of the Roman ladies. Having lost her husband in the seventh month of her marriage, she rejected the suit of Cerealis the consul, and resolved to imitate the lives of the ascetics of the East. She abstained from wine and flesh, employed her time in reading, prayer and visiting the churches of the martyrs, and never spoke with any man alone. Her example was followed by other women of noble birth who put themselves under her direc­tion, and Rome witnessed the formation of several such communities in a short time. We have sixteen letters of St Jerome to her in answer to her questions on religious matters, but she was by no means content simply to “sit at his feet” she examined his arguments closely and rebuked him for his hasty temper. When the Goths plundered Rome in 410 they maltreated St Marcella to make her disclose her supposed treasures, which in fact she had long before distributed among the poor. She trembled only for her dear pupil Principia (not her daughter, as some have erroneously supposed), and falling at the feet of the soldiers she begged that they would offer her no insult. God moved them to compassion: they conducted them both to the church of St Paul, to which Alaric had granted the right of sanctuary. St Marcella survived this but a short time, and died in the arms of Principia about the end of August in 410; her memory is honoured on this day in the Roman Martyrology.

All that we know of St Marcella is practically speaking derived from the letters of St Jerome, especially from letter 127 entitled “Ad Principiam virginem, sin Marcellae viduae epitaphium” (Migne, PL., vol. xxii, cc. 1087 seq.). See also Grützmacher, Hieronymus; eine biographische Studie, vol. i, pp. 225 seq.; vol. ii, pp. 173 seq.; vol. iii, pp. 195 seq.Cavallera, Saint Jérôme (2 vols., 1922) ; and DCB, vol. iii, p. 803.

435 St. Juliana of Bologna  Married woman of Bologna
 Bonóniæ sanctæ Juliánæ Víduæ.       At Bologna, St. Juliana, widow.
Italy, who was much praised by St. Ambrose of Milan. Juliana had four children when her husband asked to be freed in order to enter the priesthood.
She raised their four children and devoted herself to the care of the poor.
Juliana of Bologna, Widow (RM) Died 435. The piety and charity of Saint Juliana were extolled by Saint Ambrose of Milan. Juliana and her husband agreed to separate so that he could become a priest. She devoted herself to bringing up their four children and to the service of the Church and the poor (Benedictines).
439 St. Melania Abbess rich Roman endowed monasteries in Egypt Syria and Palestine
Melania was born to wealthy Christians, Publicola, a Roman senator, and Albina. At fourteen, she was given in marriage to Valerius Pinianus. When two of her children died soon after childbirth, her husband agreed to lead a life of continency and religious dedication.
Inheriting her father's vast wealth, Melania endowed monasteries in Egypt, Syria, and Palestine and aided churches and monasteries in Europe.
To escape the barbarian invasions, she fled with her mother and husband to Tagaste in Numidia in the year 410.

In 417, all three made a pilgrimage to the Holy Land and settled at Jerusalem, where Melania became a friend of St. Jerome. After the death of her mother in 431 and her husband in 432, Melania attracted disciples to her solitary way of life and built a convent, for which she was Abbess until her death on December 31, 439.

The life of St. Melania reminds us of the fleeting character of earthly wealth. We should strive to emulate her use of wealth as well as talents to further the cause of Christ.

Saint Melania was born in Rome into a devout Christian family. Her parents, people of property and wealth, hoped that their daughter would marry and have children who would inherit their wealth.

At fourteen years of age Melania was married to the illustrious youth Apinianus. From the very beginning of their married life, St Melania asked her husband to live with her in chastity or else release her from the marriage. Apinianus answered, "I cannot agree to this right now. When we have two children to inherit the property, then we shall both renounce the world."

Soon Melania gave birth to a daughter, whom the young parents dedicated to God. Continuing to live together in marriage, Melania secretly wore a hairshirt and spent her nights in prayer. The second child, a boy, was premature and had severe complications. They baptized him, and he departed to the Lord.

Seeing the suffering of his wife, Apinianus asked the Lord to preserve St Melania's life, and he vowed to spend the rest of their life together in chastity. Recovering, St Melania stopped wearing her beautiful clothing and jewelry. Soon their daughter also died. The parents of St Melania did not support the young couple's desire to devote themselves to God. It was only when St Melania's father became deathly ill, that he asked their forgiveness and permitted them to follow their chosen path, asking them to pray for him.

The saints then left the city of Rome, and began a new life completely dedicated to the service of God. Apinianus at this time was twenty-four years of age, and Melania twenty. They began to visit the sick, to take in wanderers, and to help the indigent. They visited those who were exiled, and mine-convicts, and the destitute, there in debtor's prison. After selling their estates in Italy and Spain, they generously helped monasteries, hospitals, widows and orphans in Mesopotamia, Syria, Egypt, Phoenicia, and Palestine.

Many churches and hospitals were built with their assistance. Churches of both West and East benefited from them. Leaving their native land, they set sail for Africa, and a strong storm arose while they were at sea. The sailors said that this was because of the wrath of God, but St Melania said that it was not God's will that they should go directly to their destination.

The waves carried the ship to an island on which barbarians had landed. The besiegers demanded a ransom from the inhabitants, or else they threatened to lay waste the city. The saints supplied the necessary ransom, and thus saved the city and its people from destruction.

Resuming their voyage, they landed in Africa and helped all the needy there. With the blessing of the local bishops, they made offerings to churches and monasteries. During this time St Melania continued to humble her flesh by strict fasting, and she fortified her soul by constantly reading the Word of God, making copies of the sacred books and distributing them to those who lacked them. She sewed a hairshirt for herself, put it on, and continued to wear it.

The saints spent seven years in Carthage, and then decided to visit Jerusalem. At Alexandria, they were welcomed by the bishop, St Cyril, and they met in church with the holy Elder Nestorius, who was possessed of the gift of prophecy and healing. The Elder turned to them and told them to have courage and patience in expectation of the Glory of Heaven.

At Jerusalem, the saints distributed their remaining gold to the destitute and then spent their days in poverty and prayer. After a short visit to Egypt, where the saints visited many of the desert Fathers, St Melania secluded herself in a cell on the Mount of Olives. Only occasionally did she see St Apinianus.

Later, she founded a monastery, where eventually ninety virgins lived in obedience to St Melania. Out of humility, she would not consent to be abbess, and lived and prayed in solitude as before. In her instructions, St Melania urged the sisters to be vigilant and to pray, to disdain their own opinions and cultivate first of all love for God and for one another, to keep the holy Orthodox Faith, and to guard their purity of soul and of body.

In particular, she exhorted them to be obedient to the will of God. Calling to mind the words of the Apostle Paul, she counselled them to keep the fasts "not with wailing, nor from compulsion, but in virtuous disposition with love for God". By her efforts an oratory and altar were built in the monastery, where they enshrined the relics of saints: the Prophet Zachariah, the holy Protomartyr Stephen, and the Forty Martyrs of Sebaste. About this time St Apinianus fell asleep in the Lord. St Melania buried his relics and there spent another four years in fasting and unceasing prayer.

St Melania wanted to build a men's monastery on the Mount of the Ascension of the Lord. The Lord blessed her intent by sending a benefactor who provided the means for the monastery. Joyfully accepting it, St Melania finished the great work in a single year. In this monastery, saintly men began to lift up unceasing prayer in the church of the Ascension of Christ.

Having completed her tasks, the saint left Jerusalem for Constantinople, hoping to save the soul of her pagan uncle Volusianus who had traveled there from Rome. Along the way she prayed at the relics of St Laurence (August 10), at the place of his martyrdom, and received auspicious signs. Arriving in Constantinople, the saint found her uncle had fallen ill. Her demeanor and her inspired discourses had a profound influence on the sick man. He gave up pagan impiety and died a Christian.

During this time many inhabitants of the capital were deceived by the heretical teaching of Nestorius. St Melania accepted anyone who turned to her for proper explanation, converting many of them to Orthodoxy. Many miracles were worked through the prayers of the saint.

Returning to her own monastery, the saint sensed the approach of death, and told this to the priest and the sisters. They listened to her final instructions with deep sorrow and with tears. Having asked their prayers and commanding them to preserve themselves in purity, she received the Holy Mysteries with joy. St Melania peacefully gave up her soul to the Lord in 439.

439 ST MELANIA THE YOUNGER, WIDOW
MELANIA the Elder was a patrician lady of the gens Antonia, who was married to Valerius Maximus, who probably was prefect of Rome in the year 362. At twenty-two she was left a widow and, having put her son, Publicola, in the hands of guardians, she went into Palestine and built a monastery at Jerusalem for fifty maidens. There she settled down herself, living a life of austerity, prayer and good works. Her son meanwhile grew up in Rome, became a senator, and married Albina, the Christian daughter of the pagan priest Albinus. Their daughter was St Melania the Younger, who was brought up a Christian in the luxurious household of her religious but ambitious father.
     In order to ensure a male heir to his great wealth and family reputation Publicola affianced his daughter to her kinsman Valerius Pinianus, a son of the prefect Valerius Severus. Melania, however, wished to devote herself entirely to God in a state of maidenhood. But her parents would have none of it and in 397, her fourteenth year, she was married to Pinian, who was then seventeen. It is not surprising that, having been forced into marriage against her will, and deeply shocked by the sensual licence that she saw all around her, Melania asked her husband that they should live together in continence. But Pinian would not, and in due course their first child, a girl, was born. She died in infancy. Melania’s inclinations were known to be as strong as ever, and her father took steps to prevent her associating with those religious people who would encourage her discontent with the life, which he wished her to lead. On the vigil of the feast of St Laurence in the year 399, her father having forbidden her to watch in the basilica because she was again with child, she spent the whole night on her knees in prayer in her own room. In the morning she assisted at the Holy Mysteries in the church of St Laurence, and on her return home was prematurely brought to bed and, with difficulty and danger, gave birth to a boy. He died the next day. Melania lay between life and death, and Pinian, who was sincerely and devotedly attached to her, swore that if she were spared she should be free to serve God as she wished. Melania recovered and Pinian kept his vow, but Publicola bitterly disapproved and for another five years made her conform exteriorly to the life of her status in every respect. Then he was overtaken by mortal sickness, and as he lay dying he both confirmed to his daughter all his estates and begged her forgiveness because, “fearing the ridicule of evil tongues, I have grieved you by opposing your heavenly vocation”.
     Her mother Albina and Pinian became more than reconciled to Melania’s new way of life; they adopted it themselves, and all three left Rome for a villa in the country. Pinian was only gradually won over, and long insisted on wearing the rich dress affected by those of his rank. The biographer gives a touching and convincing account of how his wife persuaded him to lay aside the more for the less expensive clothes, and finally to be content with plain garments made by herself. They took with them many slaves and set an example by their treatment of them, and soon many young girls, widows and over thirty families had joined them. The villa became a centre of hospitality, of charity and of religious life. But St Melania was fabulously wealthy—estates belonging to the Valerii were to be found all over the empire—and she was oppressed by all these possessions; she knew that the superfluity of the rich belongs to their hungry and naked neighbours, that, as St Ambrose says, the rich man who gives to the poor does not bestow an alms but pays a debt. She therefore asked, and received, the consent of Pinian to the sale of some of her properties for the benefit of the needy. At once their relatives, who thought them mad, prepared to profit by this latest lunacy. Severus, the brother of Pinian, for example, bribed the tenants and slaves on his brother’s lands to promise that if they were sold they would refuse to recognize any master but himself. Such difficulties were made that recourse was had to the emperor, Honorius.
St Melania, dressed in plain woollen clothes and veiled, presented herself before Serena, the emperor’s mother-in-law, and so impressed her by her bearing and words that she persuaded Honorius to take the equitable sale of the estates under the protection of the state. The proceeds were as far-flung as the lands themselves the poor, the sick, captives, bankrupts, pilgrims, churches, monasteries were relieyed and endowed in large numbers all over the empire, and in two years Melania gave their freedom to eight thousand slaves. Palladius, in his contemporary Lausiac History, says that the monasteries of Egypt, Syria and Palestine received benefactions from her, and gives a detailed account of her manner of life.
 In 406 she, with Pinian and others, was staying with St Paulinus at Nola in Campania. He would have liked to have had her and her husband as “perpetual guests” he called her the “blessed little one
and the “joy of Heaven” ; but they returned to the villa near Rome, only to have to flee within a few months before the oncoming invasion of the Goths. They took refuge in a villa which St Melania had retained at Messina, where they had with them the aged Rufinus. But inside of two years the Goths had reached Calabria and burned Reggio, and they determined to go to Carthage. They purposed first to visit St Paulinus in sympathy with his sufferings under the invasion, but they were driven by a storm to shelter at an island, probably Lipari, which was being held to ransom by pirates. To save the people from catastrophe St Melania bought off the freebooters with a huge sum in gold. They eventually took up their residence at Tagaste in Numidia. Pinian made as profound an impression as his wife, and when he ‘visited St Augustine at Hippo (he called them “real lights of the Church) a riot occurred in a church because the people wanted him to be ordained priest to minister to them and they thought he was being held back by the bishop of Tagaste, St Alipius. Order was only restored by the promise of Pinian that, were he ever ordained, he would exercise his ministry at Hippo. While in Africa St Melania established and endowed two new monasteries, one for men and one for women from among those who had been slaves on her land there. She herself lived with the women, but would not let them try to emulate her own standard of austerity, for she took food only every other day. Her personal work was the transcription of books, in both Greek and Latin, and five hundred years later manuscripts were still in circulation that were attributed to her hand.

In the year 417, accompanied by her mother and her husband, Melania left Africa for Jerusalem, and lodged in the pilgrims’ hospice near the Holy Sepulchre. From thence she made an expedition with Pinian to visit the monks of the Egyptian deserts, and on her return, fortified by the example of these athletes, she settled at Jerusalem to a life of solitude and contemplation. Here she met her cousin, Paula, niece of St Eustochium, and was by her introduced to the society of the marvellous group presided over by St Jerome at Bethlehem, whose fast friend she became. When they first met, Melania, we are told, “ went to meet him in her usual recollected and respectful way, and kneeled down at his feet humbly asking his blessing “. After fourteen years in Palestine Albina died, and in the next year Pinian followed her to the grave: he is named with Melania in the Roman Martyrology. She buried them side by side on the Mount of Olives, and built for herself a cell close by the tombs of her faithful companions. This was the nucleus of a large convent of consecrated virgins, over whom St Melania presided. She was very solicitous for the health of her charges (a bath was provided, for which an ex-prefect of the imperial palace paid) and her rule was remarkable for its mildness at a time when early nionaiticism sometimes seemed to degenerate into the pursuit of corporal austerity for its own sake.
  Four years after the death of her husband St Melania heard that her maternal uncle, Volusian, who was still a pagan, had come on an embassy to Constantinople. Several efforts had been made to convert him, and she determined now to try herself to move him in his old age. She therefore set out with her chaplain (and biographer), Gerontius, and after a hard winter journey reached Constantinople in time to forward and witness the conversion of Volusian, who died in her arms the day after receiving baptism. Before he had made up his mind, the enthusiasm of Melania was going to carry the matter to the Emperor Theodosius. We are told that Volusian appealed to her piety and good feeling not to do so: “Do not force the free will which God has given to me. I am ready and anxious to have the stains of my many sins washed away; but were I to do it at the emperor’s order I should be as one constrained and have no merit of voluntary choice.”
On Christmas eve, 439 St Melania went to Bethlehem, and after the Mass at dawn told Paula that death was at hand. On St Stephen’s day she assisted at Mass in his basilica and then with her sisters read the account of his martyrdom from the Bible. At the end they wished her good health and “many happy returns of the day
. She answered, “Good health to you also. But you will never again hear me read the lessons.” Then she made a visit of farewell to the monks, and on her return was seen to be seriously ill. She summoned her sisters and asked their prayers, “for I am going to the Lord, and saying that if she had sometimes spoken severely it was for love of them: reminding them of her words: “The Lord knows that I am unworthy, and I would not dare compare myself with any good woman, even of those living in the world. Yet I think the Enemy himself will not at the Last Judgement accuse me of ever having gone to sleep with bitterness in my heart.” Early on Sunday, December 3!, Gerontius celebrated Mass and his voice was so choked with tears that St Melania sent him a message that she could not hear the words. All day long visitors came, until she said, “Now let me rest. At the ninth hour she grew weaker, and in the evening, repeating the words of Job, As the Lord willed, so it is done, she died. She was fifty-six years old.
   St Melania has been venerated liturgically from early times in the Byzantine church, but, beyond the insertion of her name in the Roman Martyrology, she has had no cult us in the West until our own day. Cardinal Mariano Rampolla published a monumental work on St Melania in 1905. This attracted much attention, and a certain cultus ensued. In 1908 Pope Pius X approved the annual observance of her feast by the Italian congregation of clerks regular called the Somaschi, and it has also been adopted by the Latin Catholics of Constantinople and Jerusalem.
Considerable fragments of a Latin life of St Melania had long been known to exist in various libraries, and these were printed in the Analecta Bollandiana, vol. viii (1889), pp. 16—63. The Greek text was edited from a manuscript in the Barberini library by Delehaye in the same Analecta, vol. xxii (1903), pp. 5—50. In 1905 Cardinal Rampoila, who had discovered a complete copy of the Latin in the Escorial, printed both Latin and Greek in a sumptuous folio volume, Santa Melania Giuniore Senatrice Romana, with a long introduction, dissertations and notes. Considerable difference of opinion existed regarding the relations of the Greek and Latin versions, which are far from being concordant in either content or phrasing. In a long contribution to the Analecta Bollandiana, vol. xxv (1906), pp. 401—450, Fr Adhemar d'Alès examined their variations in detail, arriving at the conclusion that the life had been compiled by her disciple Gerontius about nine years after her death in a first draft written in Greek, but that the texts in Greek and Latin which we now possess were elaborated independently a few years afterwards from this original. Some centuries later the Metaphrast produced his own sophisticated version of the biography. This has long been in print in Migne, PG., vol. cxvi, pp. 753—794. An admirable résumé of Melania’s history was published by G. Goyau in the series "Les Saints" (1908), and in English there is an adaptation of the biographical sketch which Cardinal Rampolla prefixed to his book (1908). See also Leclercq in DAC., vol. xi, cc. 209—230.
5th century 492 St. Gwen Widowed martyr at Talgrarth
sometimes called Blanche, Wenn, or Candida. She was the daughter of a Chieftain, Brychan or Brecknock.
Saxon pagans martyred Gwen at Talgrarth. 
Gwen (Wenn) of Wales, (AC) 5th century. There are two saints of this name, both celebrated on the same day. Both lived during the same period. Saint Gwen of Wales, widow of King Selyf of Cornwall, is said to have been the sister of Saint Nonna and, therefore, the aunt of Saint David of Wales. She is alleged to have been the mother of Saints Cyby and Cadfan and to have founded the church of Saint Wenn. There are a few other churches in Devon and Cornwall who may be dedicated to this saint (Benedictines, Encyclopedia, Farmer)
.
550 St. Galla Widowed Roman noblewoman caring for sick and poor; Her church in Rome, near the Piazza Montanara, once held a picture of Our Lady, which according to tradition represents a vision vouchsafed to St. Galla. It is considered miraculous and was carried in recession in times of pestilence. It is now over the high altar of Santa Maria in Campitelli.
Romæ sanctæ Gallæ Víduæ, fíliæ Symmachi Cónsulis, quæ, viro suo defúncto, apud Ecclésiam beáti Petri multis annis oratióni, eleemósynis, jejúniis aliísque sanctis opéribus inténta permánsit; cujus felicíssimum tránsitum sanctus Gregórius Papa descrípsit.
    At Rome, St. Galla, widow, daughter of the consul Symmachus.  After the death of her husband, she remained for many years near the church of St. Peter, devoted to prayer, almsgiving, fasting, and other pious works.  Her most happy death has been described by Pope St. Gregory.
praised by Pope St. Gregory I the Great. The daughter of Quintus Aurelius Symmachus, she married and was widowed within a year. Galla joined a community of pious woman on Vatican Hill, Italy. She lived there, caring for the sick and poor until cancer claimed her life. Pope St. Gregory wrote about her, and St. Fulgentius of Ruspe delivered a treatise, in her honor.

550 ST GALLA, WIDOW
AMONG the victims of Theodoric the Goth in Italy was a noble patrician of Rome, Quintus Aurelius Symmachus, who had been consul in 485. He was put to death unjustly in 525 and left three daughters, Rusticiana (the wife of Boethius), Proba and Galla, who is mentioned in the Roman Martyrology today. A reference to her life and a brief account of her death are given in the Dialogues of St Gregory. Galla within a year of her marriage was left a widow and, though young and wealthy, she determined to become a bride of Christ rather than again enter into that natural matrimony which, as St Gregory says in a generalization that he would have found hard to substantiate,
always begins with joy and ends with sorrow. She was not to be turned from her resolve even by the warning of her physicians that if she did not marry again she would grow a beard. She therefore joined a community of consecrated women who lived close by the basilica of St Peter, where she lived for many years a life of devotion to God and care of the poor and needy.
           Eventually she was afflicted with cancer of the breast, and being one night unable to sleep for pain she saw standing between two candlesticks (for she disliked physical as well as spiritual darkness) the figure of St Peter. “How is it, master?
she cried to him. “Are my sins forgiven ?  St Peter inclined his head. “They are forgiven, he said. “ Come, follow me.” But Galla had a dear friend in the house named Benedicta, and she asked that she might come too. St Peter replied that Galla and another were called then, and that Benedicta should follow after thirty days. And accordingly three days later Galla and another were taken to God, and Benedicta after thirty days.
     St Gregory, writing fifty years after, says that “the nuns now in that monastery, receiving them by tradition from their predecessors, can tell every little detail as though they had been present at the time when the miracle happened
.
The letter of St Fulgentius, Bishop of Ruspe, “Concerning the State of Widowhood
, is supposed to have been addressed to St Galla; her relics are said to rest in the church of Santa Maria in Portico.
Little seems to be known beyond what is recorded in the Acta Sanctorurn, October, vol. iii. It is probable that the church known as San Salvatore de Gallia in Rome really perpetuated the name of this Saint. The French had a hospice at San Salvatore in Ossibus near the Vatican ; they had to move and settled close to San Salvatore de Galla, which consequently came to be known as de Gallia instead of Galla. See P. Spezi in Bulleuino della Com. archeolog. di Rorna, 1905, pp. 62—103 and 233—263.
According to St. Gregory the Great (Dial. IV, ch. xiii) she was the daughter of the younger Symmachus, a learned and virtuous patrician of Rome, whom Theodoric had unjustly condemned to death (525). Becoming a widow before the end of the first year of her married life, she, still very young, founded a convent and hospital near St. Peter's, there spent the remainder of her days in austerities and works of mercy, and ended her life with an edifying death. The letter of St. Fulgentius of Ruspe, “De statu viduarum”, is supposed to have been addressed to her. Her church in Rome, near the Piazza Montanara, once held a picture of Our Lady, which according to tradition represents a vision vouchsafed to St. Galla. It is considered miraculous and was carried in recession in times of pestilence. It is now over the high altar of Santa Maria in Campitelli.
572 Sylvia of Rome mother of Gregory the Great, pope and doctor of the Church; Widow (RM)
Romæ sanctæ Sílviæ, matris sancti Gregórii Papæ.    At Rome, St. Sylvia, mother of Pope St. Gregory.
Like all expectant mothers heavy with child--Sylvia was expecting the great event, greater than a hurricane or a revolution, the supreme phenomenon, the most extraordinary, historical, magical, wonderful, fundamental event--great by the miracle of man and great by the grace of God.
For what do we know about Saint Sylvia? That she was the mother of Gregory the Great, pope and doctor of the Church.
Aren't we to a great extent what our ancestors have made us, a reincarnation (so to speak) of their flesh, a reflection of their thought? How often have I felt the throb of some distant echo, some call from ancient times, or sensed deep in the marrow of my bones the naked footstep of some Celtic ancestor or the raucous cry of a Mongol horseman, or glimpsed the furtive shadow of some pagan or primatial ancestor, as if my whole life were made up of fragments of lives that were lived thousands of years ago.
A man is what he brings into the world. Racine? The author of Andromaque. Silvia? The mother of Saint Gregory.
What sudden emotion to feel everything germinating, everything connecting with the vast and mysterious workings of the universe! Yesterday still only a girl, but from now on a leading character on the stage of life. Yesterday young and charming love, sweet nothings, carefree days, and then suddenly "crossing the line" and entering another world--something unknown, like a bird from strange islands, like the flutter of a palm tree in the desert, a whole new feeling of life, a mysterious dance, a new wine...a quickening in the womb, a son in the flesh.
To bear a child...as God bears mankind. In her womb and in her mind, Sylvia feels responsible for her child. Her mission is not just to give birth to the child but to compose the whole life of the man: his body and soul, she will devote herself completely to him--for if the mother gives birth to the body, does she not also wish to influence the soul? She dreams about him while giving him her breast, she shapes him, she gives him form with all the
desires of her body and all the charms of her soul."
And so for nine months Sylvia waited and planned.
The child was to be a boy, no doubt about that--though she cherished her whole family, it was the son that stood out. She's already seen him: a vision, a positive, creative vision. Will he be a senator, like his father Gordian, a consul, the emperor? Will he be pope? A saint? There is no limit to the imagination of a mother.

Now all this took place in Rome in AD 540. Vigilius was pope and Vetegis was emperor--but who knows anything about them? It was a world still in transition. On one side were the invasions, on the other were the heresies. The child did brilliantly in his studies. He received a fine Latin education that would serve to rule men and defend dogmas. Already she saw him wearing the tri-colored toga of a Roman praetor.

But of what importance is the toga of man when compared with the robe of God? Suddenly Gregory divested himself of all his responsibilities and wealth and became a monk. The six villas that he owned in Sicily he turned into six monasteries. He was 35. And Sylvia felt in her body that the whole delicate structure of history was trembling.

There was a plague and the pope died. Sylvia decided that the next pope was to be Gregory. In vain did he refuse, escape from Rome in a wicker basket, hide in the forests and Pontine marshes. In the end of course he was found--or betrayed--and with great rejoicing brought back to the fold, where on Sept. 3, 590, he was consecrated pope. Gregory was pope, and Sylvia had been his prophet. "I have lost all the pleasures of peace," he murmured.

It was to be an heroic pontificate. The Lombards, who were devastating Italy, had to be checked. The emperor in Constantinople had to be confronted. Gregory wrote several works (particularly the Morals), reformed the Church, brought the Arian Visigoths back to the true faith, and evangelized England.

It was he who invented the phrase: Servant of the servants of God. His most characteristic victory was to stamp out the heresy of Eutyches, the patriarch of Constantinople, who maintained that the resurrection of the body would take place in a subtle form, in an ethereal flesh. Gregory replied that we will be resurrected in flesh and blood, as literally palpable as was the body of Christ to Saint Thomas.

"I shall be clothed again with my flesh," says the Book of Job, and at the Last Supper Jesus said: "This is my Body." One of the most moving aspects of the Catholic faith is the dominion of the body, semi-incorruptible and eternal.

By the time Gregory became pope, Sylvia had already entered a convent and her husband had become a priest--simultaneously, like twins. It was a time when Christianity was flourishing and it was the fashionable thing to do. But Sylvia's role had been consummated. The mother blended, merged, and rejoiced with the son (from the Encyclopedia).
Over her former house on the Coelian Hill in Rome a chapel was built in her honor (Benedictines).
679 Saint Ethedlreda (Audrey) heaven sent seven day high tide founded the great abbey of Ely, where she lived an austere life body was found incorrupt
In monastério Elyénsi, in Británnia, sanctæ Ediltrúdis, Regínæ et Vírginis, quæ sanctitáte et miráculis clara migrávit ad Dóminum.  Ipsíus autem corpus, úndecim post annis, invéntum est incorrúptum.
    In England, in the monastery of Ely, St. Etheldreda, queen and virgin, who departed for heaven with a great renown for sanctity and miracles.  Her body was found without corruption eleven years afterwards. {and 500 years later still incorrupt}
{see history of Saint Etheldreda's Church in London:  Ely Productions circa 1992 Video by Father Kit Cunningham }

Etheldreda von Ely Orthodoxe, Katholische und Anglikanische Kirche: 23. Juni

ST ETHELDREDA, OR AUDREY, ABBESS OF ELY, WIDOW     (A.D. 679)
To judge from the great number of churches dedicated in her honour in England, St Etheldreda (Aethelthryth), otherwise called Audrey, must have been the most popular of all the Anglo-Saxon women saints. She was the daughter of Anna, king of the East Angles, and the sister of St Sexburga, St Ethelburga and St Withburga. The place of her birth was Exning in Suffolk. In compliance with the wishes of her parents she married one Tonbert, with whom, it is said, she lived in perpetual continence. Three years after her marriage she lost her husband. She seems then to have retired to the island of Ely, which she had received as her marriage gift. There, for five years, she led a secluded life of prayer. But her hand was again sought in marriage, and again she yielded to the representations of her relatives. Her second bridegroom was Egfrid, the younger son of Oswy, king of Northumbria. He was a mere boy at the time and seems to have been quite content that they should live as brother and sister. But with the passage of years, when Egfrid was grown to manhood and had become a powerful monarch, he became dissatisfied, and urged that Etheldreda should become his wife in more than name.
She refused, because she had long since vowed her virginity to God. Both parties appealed to St Wilfrid of York, Egfrid going so far as to offer him presents if he would persuade Etheldreda to fall in with his wishes. St Wilfrid, however, was on her side, and by his advice she withdrew to the convent of Coldingham, where she received the veil from Egfrid's aunt, St Ebba. A year later she retired to Ely; and there, about the year 672 she founded a double monastery, over which she ruled until her death. Her manner of life was very austere: except on great festivals, or when she was ill, she ate only once a day: and instead of the linen worn by women of high degree she dressed in rough woollen clothing. After Matins, which were sung at midnight, she did not retire like the other nuns, but remained in church in prayer until the morning. Endowed with the gift of prophecy, she not only foretold the pestilence of which she was to die, but also the exact number of her religious who would be carried off by it. Etheldreda herself, died on June 23, 679, and in accordance with her own instructions she was buried in a simple wooden coffin. Sixteen years later her body was found to be incorrupt.
The shrine of St Etheldreda became a great centre of devotion on account of the many miracles reported to have been wrought by her relics and by linen cloths which had rested on her coffin. Her remains have long since perished, but the empty shrine is still shown in Ely cathedral. The word tawdry, a corruption of St Audrey, was originally applied to the cheap necklaces and other trumpery exposed for sale at St Audrey's great annual fair. Her feast is still observed in several English dioceses.
Most of the references made to St Etheldreda in Bede, and by Thomas of Ely in the Liber Eliensis, etc., have been printed in the Acta Sanctorum, June, vol. v. There are difficulties about the chronology, for which see C. Plummer's notes to his edition of Bede, vol. ii, pp. 234-240. Full accounts are also given in DNB., vol. xviii, pp. 19-21, and in DCB., vol. ii, pp. 220-222.
   Around 640, there was an English princess named Ethelreda, but she was known as Audrey. She married once, but was widowed after three years, and it was said that the marriage was never consummated. She had taken a perpetual vow of virginity, but married again, this time for reasons of state. Her young husband soon grew tired of living as brother and sister and began to make advances on her. She continually refused. He eventually attempted to bribe the local bishop, Saint Wilfrid of York, to release Audrey from her vows.

   Saint Wilfrid refused, and helped Audrey escape. She fled south, with her husband following. They reached a promontory known as Colbert's Head, where a heaven sent seven day high tide separated the two. Eventually, Audrey's husband left and married someone more willing, while Audrey took the veil, and founded the great abbey of Ely, where she lived an austere life. She eventually died of an enormous and unsightly tumor on her neck, which she gratefully accepted as Divine retribution for all the necklaces she had worn in her early years. Throughout the Middle Ages, a festival, "Saint Audrey's Fair", was held at Ely on her feast day. The exceptional shodiness of the merchandise, especially the neckerchiefs, contributed to the English language the word "tawdry", a corruption of "Saint Audrey: " she died of the plague.
   According the Saint Bede, when her tomb was opened by her sister Saint Sexburga, her successor as abbess at Ely Abbey, ten (or 16) years after her death, her body was found incorrupt and the tumor had healed

Etheldreda von Ely Orthodoxe, Katholische und Anglikanische Kirche: 23. Juni
Etheldreda (Edeltraud) war eine Tochter des Königs Anna von Mercia. Sie war mit einem schottischen Fürsten verheirtatet, lebte aber mit ihm in einer jSoefsehe und zog sich nach seinem Tod auf die Insel Ely (bei Cambridge) zurück. Sie wurde mit König Egfrid von Northumberland verheiratet. lebte 12 Jahre mit ihm in Enthaltsamkeit und wurde dann Nonne in Coldingham. 673 gründete sie in Essex das Kloster Ely, dessen erste Äbtissin sie auch wurde. Sie starb am 23.6.679 an der Pest. Ihr Leichnam wurde 695 unversehrt gefunden und in der Klosterkirche von Ely beigesetzt.
680 St. Bathildis Queen and foundress Benedictine convent at Chelles, St. Denis Monastery and Corbie
She was born in England, where she was enslaved and taken to Neustria, which was part of the Frankish kingdom. In time, Bathildis became a trusted member of King Clovis Il's court and married him in 649. She bore him three sons: Clotaire Ill, Childeric II, and Thierry Ill, all of whom became kings. When Clovis died in 657, Bathildis served as regent for Clotaire III. She had founded a Benedictine convent at Chelles, as well as St. Denis Monastery and Corbie. When Clotaire III assumed the throne, Bathildis retired to Chelles, where she died on January 30.

680 ST BATHILDIS, WIDOW
St BATHILDIS was an English girl, who at an early age was carried over into France and sold cheaply as a slave into the household of the mayor of the palace under King Clovis II. Here she attained a position of responsibility and attracted the notice of the king, who in 649 married her. She bore him three sons, who all successively wore the crown, Clotaire III, Childeric II and Thierry III. Clovis dying in 657, when the eldest was only five, Bathildis became regent and apparently showed herself very capable at a difficult time when Merovingian power was declining in the face of the Frankish aristocracy. She seconded the zeal of St Ouen, St Leger and other holy bishops, redeemed many captives, especially of her own people, and .did all in her power to promote religion. She was a benefactress of many monasteries, including Saint-Denis, Saint-Martin at Tours and Saint ­Medard at Soissons, founded the great abbey of Corbie, and endowed the truly royal nunnery of Chelles.

To this last Bathildis herself retired about 665, which she is said to have long desired to do; the notorious Ebroin and other nobles were apparently no less anxious to have her out of the way. We are told that she had no sooner taken the veil than she seemed to forget entirely her former dignity, and was only to be distinguished from the rest by her humility, serving them in the lowest offices, and obeying the abbess St Bertila as the last among the sisters. In the life of St Eligius, attributed, though unwarrantably, to St Ouen, many instances are mentioned of the veneration which St Bathildis felt for that holy prelate. Thus we learn that Eligius after his death, in a vision by night, ordered a certain courtier to reprove the queen for wearing jewels and costly apparel in her widowhood, though in so doing she had acted, not out of pride, but because she thought it due to her position whilst she was regent of the kingdom. Upon this admonition she laid them aside, distributed a part to the poor, and with the richest jewels made a beautiful cross, which she placed at the head of the tomb of St Eligius. During a long illness which preceded her death she suffered intense bodily pain which she bore resignedly, dying on January 30, 680.

In the account of St Bathildis given by Alban Butler no mention is made of a very serious charge brought against her by Eddius, the biographer of St Wilfrid, who calls her a cruel Jezebel and attributes to her the assassination of ten French bishops, among them the bishop of Lyons, whom he calls Dalfinus. That there is much confusion here is certain, because the name of the murdered bishop was Annemund, who was the brother of Count Dalfinus. Consequently, although Eddius has been copied by William of Malmesbury, and in part even by Bede, it is quite improbable, for a variety of reasons, that his information was in any way accurate. Such unprejudiced authorities as Bruno Krusch, Charles Plummer and the Dictionary of National Biography entirely exonerate St Bathildis in this matter, and Plummer suggests that there may have been some confusion between her and Queen Brunhilda who died long before, in 653. Butler in a footnote reports from Le Boeuf and others that “six nuns were cured of inveterate distempers, attended with frequent fits of convulsions, by touching the relics of St Bathildis, when her shrine was opened on July 13, 1631.”

The text of the Life of St Bathildis, which is a genuinely Merovingian document and was written by a contemporary, has been critically edited by B. Krusch in MGH., Scriptores Merov., vol. ii, pp. 475—508. There are also frequent references to St Bathildis in the Vita S. Eligii, which, though not the work of St Ouen, may preserve some authentic materials, see MGH., Merov., vol. iv, pp. 634—761. See further M. J. Couturier, Ste Bathilde, Reine des Francs (1909); E. Vacandard, Vie de St Ouen (1902), pp. 254—263; BHL., nn. 905—911 and CMH., pp. 68—69.
She made a good queen and ruled wisely. Unlike many who rise suddenly to high place and fortune, she never forgot that she had been a slave, and did all within her power to relieve those in captivity. We are told that "Queen Bathild was the holiest and most devout of women; her pious munificence knew no bounds; remembering her own bondage, she set apart vast sums for the redemption of captives." Bathild helped promote Christianity by seconding the zeal of Saint Ouen, Saint Leodegardius, and many other bishops.

At that time the poorer inhabitants of France were often obliged to sell their children as slaves to meet the crushing taxes imposed upon them. Bathild reduced this taxation, forbade the purchase of Christian slaves and the sale of French subjects, and declared that any slave who set foot in France would from that moment be free. Thus, this enlightened women earned the love of her people and was a pioneer in the abolition of slavery.

A contemporary English writer, Eddius (the biographer of Saint Wilfrid), asserts that Queen Bathild was responsible for the political assassination of Bishop Saint Annemund (Dalfinus) of Lyons and nine other bishops. What actually happened is obscure, and it is unlikely that Bathild was guilty of the crime.

She also founded many abbeys, such as Corbie, Saint-Denis, and Chelles, which became civilized settlements in wild and remote areas inhabited only by prowling wolves and other wild beasts. Under her guidance forests and waste land were reclaimed, cornland and pasture took their place, and agriculture flourished. She built hospitals and sold her jewelry to supply the needy. Finally, when Clotaire came of age, she retired to her own royal abbey of Chelles, near Paris, where she served the other nuns with humility and obeyed the abbess like the least of the sisters.

She died at Chelles before she had reached her 50th birthday. Death touched her with a gentle hand; as she died, she said she saw a ladder reaching from the altar to heaven, and up this she climbed in the company of angels.
Her life was written by a contemporary. Chelles convent had many contacts with Anglo-Saxon England, which led to the spread of her cultus to the British Isles (Attwater, Attwater2, Benedictines, Bentley, Butler, Coulson, Delaney, Farmer, Gill, Husenbeth, White).
Saint Bathildis is generally pictured as a crowned queen or nun before the altar of the Virgin, two angels support a child on a ladder (the ladder implies the pun échelle-Chelles) and also the vision she is said to have had at her death. She might also be shown: (1) holding a broom; (2) giving alms or bread; (3) seeing a vision of the crucified Christ before her; or (4) holding Chelles Abbey, which she founded (Roeder, White). She is the patroness of children (Roeder).
688 St. Waldetrudis ist Patronin von Mons 7 saints in family became celebrated for the miracles of healing which were wrought through her both before and after her death
Móntibus, in Hannónia, beátæ Waldetrúdis, vitæ sanctimónia et miráculis claræ.
    At Mons in Hainaut, blessed Waltrude, renowned for holiness and miracles.

688 ST WALDETRUDIS, or WAUDRU, WIDOW
ST WALDETRUDIS, called in French Waltrude or Waudru, who is venerated in Belgium, especially at Mons of which she is patron, belonged to a family of remarkable holiness. Her parents were St Walbert and St Bertilia, her sister St Aldegundis of Maubeuge, her husband St Vincent Madelgar, and their four children St Landericus, St Dentelinus, St Aldetrudis and St Madelberta, the last two named both being abbess of Maubeuge.
She married a young nobleman called Madelgar, with whom she led a happy life of devotion and good works. Some time after the birth of the last of their children, Madelgar withdrew into the abbey of Haumont which he had founded, taking the name of Vincent.  Waldetrudis remained in the world two years longer than her husband and then she also withdrew, retiring into a very humble little house, built in accordance with her instructions, where she lived in poverty and simplicity. Her sister repeatedly invited her to join her at Maubeuge, but she wished for greater austerity than she could have at the abbey. Her solitude was so often broken in upon by those who centre of what is now the town of Mons. Throughout her life St Waldetrudis was greatly given to works of mercy, and she became celebrated for the miracles of healing which were wrought through her both before and after her death.

There are two Latin lives of St Waldetrudis the first, written in the ninth century, has only been printed in Analectes pour servir a l’histoire ecclésiastique déjà Belgique, vol. iv, pp. 218—231 the second, at one time wrongly attributed to Philip de Harveng, is in fact a later adaptation of the former. It has been printed in the Acta Sanctorum, April, vol. i, and by Mabillon. See especially L. Van der Essen, Saints Mérovingiens de Belgique, pp. 231—237, and Berlière, Monasticon Beige, vol. i, pp. 327—328.

Also known as Waltrude or Waudru, she was the daughter of Saints Walbert and Bertilia and sister of St. Aldegunus of Maubeuge. Marrying St. Vincent Madelgarius, she became the mother of saints Landericus, Madalberta, Adeltrudis, and Dentelin. When her husband chose to become a  monk about 643 in the monastery of Hautrnont, France, he had founded, she established a convent at Chateaulieu, around which grew up the town of Mons, Belgium.

688  Waltraud  Orthodoxe und Katholische Kirche: 9. April
Waltraud (Waldetrudis = kraftvolle Herrscherin oder starke Göttliche) stammte aus einem adligen Geschlecht. Ihre Mutter Bertila (Berthild) wurde ebenso als Heilige verehrt wie ihre Schwester Adelgundis (Gedenktag 30.1.), die das Kloster Maubeuge gründete. Waltraud heiratete den Grafen des Hennegau Vinzenz Madelgar (Gedenktag 14.7.) und gebar 4 Kinder, von denen drei (Landicus, Madelberta und Adeltrud) ebenfalls Heilige wurden. Ihr Ehemann und ihre Kinder gingen auf ihren Wunsch in Klöster, sie selber erbaute das Kloster Mons in Castrilocus und wurde dessen Äbtissin. Sie starb am 9.4. um das Jahr 688 und wurde in der Kathedrale von Mons bestattet. Waltraud ist Patronin von Mons.

Waldetrudis of Mons, OSB Widow (RM) (also known as Vaudru, Waltrude, Waudru)  Died April 9, c. 686-688. The family of Saint Waudru, patroness of Mons (Belgium), was amazingly holy, too. Both her parents (Walbert and Bertille) and her sister (Aldegund) were canonized. Her four children were also declared saints (Landericus, Dentelin, Aldetrude, and Madelberte) and so was her husband (Madelgaire).
Madelgaire was the count of Hennegau (Hainault), and one of the courtiers of King Dagobert I. After their children were born both he and Waudru longed to live lives totally devoted to meditation and prayer. He retired to an abbey he had founded at Haumont near Maubeuge, where he took the name Vincent. For two additional years, Waudru remained in the world, devoting herself to the care of the poor and the sick under the direction of Saint Gislenus.
After Madelgaire's death, Waudru received the religious veil from Saint Autbert in 656, built a tiny home for herself near Castriloc (Châteaulieu), and, giving away her possessions, lived there alone. Though she clung to her solitude, her great wisdom and piety meant that countless men and women pressed on her for advice. Eventually Waudru had so many followers that she was obliged to found her own convent at Châteaulieu. She dedicated this convent to the Mother of Jesus, and around it grew the present town of Mons. By the time of Waudru's death she had become famous not only for her charity but also for her miraculous powers of healing, her patience in the face of trials, continual fasting, and prayer. Her relics are considered the most precious treasure of the church that bears her name in Mons (Attwater, Benedictines, Bentley, Encyclopedia, Husenbeth, Walsh).
In art, Saint Waudru is depicted protecting her children under her mantle, offering her husband a crucifix, and refusing a crown of roses (Roeder). She is venerated in Mons (Roeder).
703 Ermengild of Ely wholly devoted to God, OSB, Widow (AC)
(also known as Ermenilda, Erminilda)
703 ST ERMENGILD, OR ERMENILDA, ABBESS OF ELY, WIDOW
ST ERMENGILD, or Ermenilda, was the daughter of King Ercombert of Kent and his wife, St Sexburga. She married Wulfhere, King of the Mercians, and by her zeal and piety did much to influence him to spread the Christian faith in his dominions. She was the mother of St Werburga and also of Coenred, who sub­sequently became a monk in Rome. When King Wulfhere died in 675, Ermengild went to join her mother, who was then building an abbey at Minster on Sheppey. She received the veil at the monastery of Milton to which the isle belonged and was under the rule of her mother until St Sexburga retired to Ely to be under her sister, St Etheldreda. Ermengild then became abbess of Minster, but after a few years she also resigned and retired to Ely, where her daughter St Werburga was a nun and where Sexburga had by now succeeded as abbess. Ermengild followed St Sexburga so that Ely had the distinction of being ruled in quick succession by three abbesses of royal race, closely related to each other and all of them saints. It is unlikely that St Werburga was ever abbess of Ely.
Bede, William of Malmesbury and Thomas of Ely contribute the principal materials for this rather complicated history, but there is also an Anglo-Saxon fragment, printed in Cockayne’s Anglo-Saxon Leechdoms, vol. iii, p. 430, which fills in certain details. See also Stanton’s Menology, pp. 67—68.

 The daughter of King Erconbert and Saint Sexburga, Erminilda was herself a queen, for she married Wulfhere, King of Mercia, and used her powerful influence to remove the remaining pockets of idolatry in a land which had been the last stronghold of Anglo-Saxon paganism. By her virtuous example and unwearied kindness she won the hearts of her subjects; she had great pity on all in distress, and throughout her life she bore her witness as a Christian queen.
Like her mother before her, the saintly Sexburga, the widowed Queen of Kent and abbess of Minster in Sheppey, she desired to be wholly devoted to God. On Wulfhere's death Erminilda joined her mother and succeeded her as abbess when her mother moved to Ely.

Later, Erminilda, too, migrated to the abbey of Ely, which was the center of a flourishing community, had the unusual distinction of having as its first abbesses a succession of three queens; for, before Sexburga, her sister, Queen Ethelreda had held the office. Erminilda was the mother of Saint Werburga, and so this royal succession of Christian witness was carried into the fourth generation.

In a primitive age these noble and saintly women by their selfless and devoted lives set before their people a high example of Christian service, and their gracious and ennobling influence had a far-reaching effect upon the period in which they lived. They are counted among the saints of England and take their place among the most faithful and distinguished followers of our Lord (Benedictines, Encyclopedia, Gill).
725 St. Bertha Benedictine widow and abbess entered the convent she had founded at Blangy, in Artois, France. Two of her daughters joined her in the religious life. Bertha served as the abbess for a time and also lived as a recluse.
ST BERTHA, WIDOW (c. A.D. 725)
THIS Bertha at twenty years of age married a nobleman by whom she had five daughters. After her husband's death, she retired to the nunnery which she had built at Blangy in Artois, with her two elder daughters, Gertrude and Deotila. After establishing regular observance in her community, she left Deotila abbess in her stead, and shut herself in a cell, to be employed only in prayer. No confidence can, however, be put in the historical accuracy of these particulars, for which the evidence is very late and unreliable. Another story, of her pursuit by a certain Roger who wished to marry her by force, is equally worthless.
The so-called life is printed in the Acta Sanctorum, July, vol. ii; see also Van der Essen, Étude critique, pp. 420--421.
Married to a nobleman at twenty, Bertha bore five daughters.When her husband died, she entered the convent she had founded at Blangy, in Artois, France. Two of her daughters joined her in the religious life. Bertha served as the abbess for a time and also lived as a recluse.
Bertha at twenty years of age married a nobleman by whom she had five daughters. After her husband's death, she retired to the nunnery which she had built at Blangy in Artois, with her two elder daughters, Gertrude and Deotila. After establishing regular observance in her community,  she left Deotila abbess in her stead, and shut herself in a cell, to be employed only in prayer
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734 St. Kentigerna Widowed hermitess mother St. Coellan daughter of Kelly
the prince of Leinster, Ireland. When her husband died she went to Inchebroida Island in Loch Lomond, Scotland. A church there is dedicated to her memory.

785 St. Werburg Widow abbess
A woman from Mercia, England, she became a nun after her husband died. Werburg entered a convent, possibly Bardney, where she became abbess
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Two Mighty and Courageous Widows
Biblical Reflection for 32nd Sunday in Ordinary Time B By Father Thomas Rosica, CSB
TORONTO, NOV. 4, 2009 (Zenit.org).
Today's Old Testament reading from 1 Kings 17:10-16 and the Gospel story from Mark 12:38-44 present us with two remarkable widows who challenge us by their conviction, generosity and faith.

They force us to reexamine our understanding of the poor and poverty, and look at our own ways of being generous with others. I would like to offer some reflections on the stories of these two biblical figures and then apply their example to our own lives, through the lenses of Pope Benedict XVI's recent encyclical letter "Caritas in Veritate."

Elijah's faith
Whenever I read stories from the Elijah and Elisha cycle in the first and second books of Kings, I always say a prayer of thanksgiving for one of my professors from the Pontifical Biblical Institute in Rome, Jesuit Father Stephen Pisano, who taught the best course I had in the Old Testament: "The Man of God in the Books of Kings." God knows how many times I have gone back to those notes and appreciated anew the stories of Elijah and his disciple Elisha, and their efforts to make God's Word known and loved in the land of Israel!

In I Kings 17:8-16, God's continues to test the Prophet Elijah. While today's lectionary reading begins with Verse 10, it is important to go back to Verse 8 to understand the full meaning of the text. In Verse 8 we read: "The word of the Lord came to him, saying... ."

Elijah did not set out until he received the message from God. It is essential for us to be in communication with God through listening to God's Word before setting out on mission.

Elijah is then told to go to Zarephath (v. 9), which is part of Sidon. Verse nine contains three commands: "arise," "go," and "stay." The prophet will be tested with each of these commands through faith, trust, obedience, availability and commitment. When Elijah is told to "arise," it is not only a physical movement but a spiritual one. For Elijah, following the Lord obediently is the result of his own spiritual reawakening.

The second command -- "go to Zarephath" -- carries with it the idea of a journey, including risks, hardships and dangers. Elijah is sent to a specific place, Zarephath, which means "a smelting place, a place of testing."

Furthermore, Zarephath was in the land of Sidon, which belonged to the wicked Jezebel. Elijah is hardly being sent to a vacation destination for rest and relaxation!

The third command -- "stay there" -- was a great challenge to his commitment, trust and vision as a man of God who was simply seeking to serve the Lord. Elijah's provision would come from a poor, destitute, depressed widow facing starvation in the pagan nation of the Sidonians who represented the forces clearly in opposition to the God of Israel.

Elijah encounters his benefactress, not living in a large house and sharing her excess with itinerant prophets, but rather at the gate of the city, collecting a few sticks since she had no fuel at home to cook even a meager meal.

The God who commanded the ravens and who provided for Elijah in the desert (I Kings 17:1-7), was the same God who had commanded the widow and would provide for the prophet through her. At Zarephath, the poor woman listened to Elijah's instruction and it was just as he had promised according to the Word of the Lord. She saw the power of God: The widow, her son, and Elijah were all sustained.

What lessons can we learn from this passage?
Because of a poor woman's generosity and goodness, and Elijah's faithfulness, God strengthened the prophet's faith, renewed his capacity for ministry, using him to comfort the widow and her son at the same time. The Lord God will provide for us, beyond outward appearances of weakness, failure and fear. God always does far more than we can ever ask for or imagine.

Just a mite
In today's well-known Gospel story (Mark 12:38-44), Jesus praises the poor widow's offering, and makes it clear that the standard measurement for assessing gifts is not how much we give to the works of God or how much we put in the collection basket, but how much we have left for ourselves. Those who give out of their abundance still have abundance left.

Is Jesus exalting this woman because she emptied her bank account for the temple? Is Jesus romanticizing and idealizing the poor? I have yet to meet people who dream of growing up destitute, poor, hungry and homeless. I don't know anyone who delights in living from one government social assistance check to the next, nor people who enjoy rummaging through garbage bins and are proud that they cannot afford to pay for electric and water bills for their inadequate and even dangerous housing situations during cold Canadian winters.

The woman in today's provocative Gospel story was poor because she was a widow. She was completely dependent on her male relatives for her livelihood. To be widowed meant not only losing a spouse, but more tragically, losing the one on whom you were totally dependent. Widows were forced to live off of the generosity of other male relatives and anyone in the community who might provide for one's needs.

The two coins in the woman's hand were most likely all she had. When one has so little, a penny or two isn't going to move that person from complete social assistance to employment. With the coins or without them, the widow was still a dependent person. She had no status in life. She was totally dependent on the grace of God, yet she was indeed rich in God's mercy.

Jesus never condemns the rich but simply says that they will find it difficult to enter the kingdom. What matters is not how much money is stored in bank accounts or kept in stocks and bonds, but rather for what that money is destined.

Will the money be used to assist others, to make the world a better place? Will be it used to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, provide for the homeless and destitute poor? Will it be used to build a culture of life? Do our lives revolve around the money or are we dependant on God who truly makes us rich? Do we behave as owners or live as stewards?

The widow tossed her only signs of independence into the collection basket, but she maintained her complete dependence on God and neighbor. Her example of faith is grounded in the love of God: her love for God and God's love for her. She was a steward and not an owner of her meager possessions. This poor widow teaches us that dependence, far from being oppressive and depressive, can really lead to a life lived in deep joy and profound gratitude.

820 St. Anne a widow, born in Constantinople; Also called Euphemianus.
Also called Euphemianus. From a good family, Anne was forced to marry. When widowed, she assumed a male disguise and the name of Euphemianus. As this male, Anne entered an abbey on Mount Olympus. Revered for holiness, she was asked to become an abbess but remained in an obscure monastery.
Saint Anna and her son Saint John lived in the ninth century. St Anna was the daughter of a deacon of the Blachernae church in Constantinople. After the death of her husband, she dressed in men's clothing and called herself Euthymianus. She and her son St John lived in asceticism in one of the Bythinian monasteries near Olympus.
St Anna died in Constantinople in 826. Her memory is also celebrated on October 29.

860 Athanasia of Constantinople Matron married twice reluctantly turned their home into a convent venerated by Empress Theodora;  celebrated for monastical observance and the gift of miracles. (RM)
In Ægína ínsula sanctæ Athanásiæ Víduæ, monástica observántia et miraculórum dono illústris.
    In the island of Aegina, St. Athanasia, widow, celebrated for monastical observance and the gift of miracles.
St Athanasia, Matron
    She was born on the island of Aegina, in the gulf of that name, and married an officer in the army; but only sixteen days after their union he was killed while fighting against the Arabs, who had made a descent on the Grecian coast. Athanasia was now anxious to become a nun, especially as she had had a dream or vision in which the passingness of all earthly things had been strongly impressed on her.  But she was persuaded by her parents to marry again. Her second husband was a devoted and religious man, and shared in and encouraged his wife's good works.  She gave alms liberally and helped the sick, strangers, prisoners and all who stood in need; after the Liturgy on Sundays and holy-days she would gather her neighbours round her and read and explain to them a passage from the Bible. After a time her husband decided he wanted to become a monk, which with Athanasia's consent he did, and she turned her house into a convent, of which she was made abbess.
  These nuns followed a life of excessive austerity, till they came under the direction of a holy abbot called Matthias; he found that they had by mortifications reduced themselves to such weakness that they could hardly walk.   He therefore insisted to St Athanasia that she should modify the austerities of her subjects, and also arranged for the community to move from their noisy house in a town to one more quiet and suited for monastic life at Timia.  Here so many came to them that their buildings had to be enlarged, and the fame of St Athanasia caused her to be called away to the court of Constantinople as adviser to the Empress Theodora.  She had to live there for seven years, being accommodated in a cell similar to that which she occupied in her own monastery.  She had not been allowed to return to Timia long when she was taken ill  for twelve days she tried to carry on as usual, but at last she had to send her nuns to sing their office in church without her, and when they returned their abbess was dying and survived only long enough to give them her blessing.
The evidence for this history is unsatisfactory, for though the author of the life which the Bollandists have translated from the Greek (Acta Sanctorum, August, vol. iii) claims to be virtually a contemporary, such pretensions are not of themselves convincing. No great cultus seems to have existed, but an account of Athanasia is given in some texts of the synaxaries on April 4. I. Martynov, Annus Ecclesiasticus Graeco-Slavicus, pp. 107-108, speaks of her on April 12. One point of interest in the Greek life is the stress laid upon the commemoration on the fortieth day after burial, which amongst the Greeks corresponded to the "month's mind" in western lands.
Born on the island of Aegina. Some complain that most of the saints were hermits and virgins, priests and popes, who bear little resemblance to the typical Catholic in the pews.
Saint Athanasia was married. Not only was she married, she was married twice. Both times she did so reluctantly.
The first time her parents arranged a marriage to an army officer. Although Athanasia would have preferred the religious life, she readily complied with their wishes. Three weeks after their wedding, her husband was killed in a battle with a Moorish raiding party from Spain. The savagery of these raids so decimated the population of Aegina that authorities passed a law that make celibacy illicit. So, Athanasia married again.
   She was equally yoked with her second spouse. Together they led a life of good works and prayer so that their home became a center of religious activity. His wealth permitted them the means to extend considerable charity to those in need. In a division of labor, Athanasia visited the sick in their homes in the city and countryside, while her husband remained at home and dispensed aid to all who came to them. On Sundays, Athanasia conducted Bible- reading groups.
   After a few years of marriage, her husband decided to become a monk. He turned over all his property to Athanasia, so that she could continue their work. When he had entered the monastery, Athanasia turned their home into a convent. The sisters lived an extremely austere life that was moderated by the able guidance of an abbot named Matthias, who also suggested that they move the convent to a more isolated location called Tamia.
  The monastery grew and so prospered at Tamia that the fame of Athanasia reached the ears of the empress at Constantinople. Theodora, the wife of Emperor Theophilus the Iconoclast, called her to Constantinople to help her restore the veneration of images. Athanasia stayed in Constantinople for seven years, and fell deathly ill shortly after her return to Tamia. Nevertheless, Athanasia continued to attend divine office until the eve of her death (Benedictines, Encyclopedia).
In art, Saint Athanasia is shown weaving. There is a star over her or on her breast.
Sometimes the picture will include Empress Theodora (Roeder). She is venerated in the Eastern Church (Roeder).
864 St. Laura widowed; martyr. Born in Cordova; murdered by Moors
St. Laura died in Spain, she became a nun at Cuteclara after she was widowed, and was scalded to death by her Moorish captors.
Laura of Córdova, Abbess M (AC) Born in Córdova, Spain. In her widowhood Laura became a nun at Cuteclara, then its abbess. She was martyred by the Moorish conquerors who threw her into a cauldron of boiling pitch or molten lead (Benedictines, Encyclopedia)
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895 St. Richardis Empress and wife of Emperor Charles the Fat.
The daughter of the count of Alsace, she wed the future emperor and served him faithfully for nineteen years until accused of infidelity with Bishop Liutword of Vercelli. To prove her innocence, she successfully endured the painful ordeal of fire, but she left Charles and lived as a nun, first at Hohenburg, Germany, and then Andlau Abbey. She remained at Andlau until her death
.

895 ST RICHARDIS, WIDOW
WHEN she was twenty-two years old Richardis, daughter of the Count of Alsace, was married to Charles the Fat, son of King Louis the German. Nineteen years later, in 881, she accompanied him to Rome, to be crowned emperor and empress of the Holy Roman Empire by Pope John VIII. Hitherto they had lived together in amity but a few years later Charles, either because his suspicions were genuinely aroused or else in order to serve some unworthy purpose of his own, charged his wife with unfaithfulness. He named as her accomplice his chancellor, Liutward, who was bishop of Vercelli and a man greatly esteemed both for his abilities and his virtue. Richardis and Liutward appeared before the imperial assembly and solemnly denied the allegation; the bishop purged himself by an oath and the empress appealed to the judgement of God by claiming an ordeal, either by fire or (by proxy) of battle. It is said that the ordeal by fire was accepted and that St Richardis, with bare feet and wearing an inflammable smock, walked unharmed across burning embers. Liutward was nevertheless deprived of his chancellorship and, it not being decent after so public an exhibition that they should continue to live together, Richardis was allowed to separate from Charles. She went for a time to a nunnery at Hohenburg and then to the abbey of Andlau, which she had herself founded. Here she lived in peace until her death about the year 895 joining in the life, of the nuns, interesting herself on their behalf with the Holy See, caring for the poor, and writing verses. When Pope St Leo IX visited Andlau in 1049, on his way from a council at Mainz, he ordered her relics to be disinterred, enshrined, and exposed for the veneration of the faithful. This cultus has continued and the feast of St Richardis is observed in the diocese of Strasburg.
There is no formal life of St Richards, but a few breviary lessons, panegyrics, etc., have been brought together in the Acta Sanctorum, September, vol. v, See also the Allgemeine Deutsche Biographic, vol. xxviii, pp. 420 seq. and M. Corbet, Ste Richarde...(1948).
968 St. Matilda piety charitable works Patron of parents of large families
 Halberstátti, in Germánia, dormítio beátæ Mathíldis Regínæ, matris Othónis Primi, Romanórum Imperatóris, humilitáte et patiéntia conspícuæ.
       At Halberstadt in Germany, the death of blessed Queen Matilda, mother of Emperor Otto I, renowned for humility and patience.

968 ST MATILDA, Widow
A DESCENDANT of the celebrated Widukind who led the Saxons in their long struggle against Charlemagne, St Matilda was the daughter of Dietrich, a Westphalian count, and of Reinhild, a scion of the royal Danish house. The little girl, who was born about the year 895, was confided to the care of her paternal grandmother, the abbess of the convent of Erfurt. Here, not far from her home, Matilda was edu­cated and grew up to womanhood, excelling all her companions, we are told, in beauty, piety and learning. In due course she married the son of Duke Otto of Saxony, Henry, called “the Fowler” because of his fondness for hawking: the union was an exceptionally happy one, and Matilda ever exerted a wholesome and restraining influence over her husband. Just after the birth of their eldest son Otto, three years after their marriage, Henry succeeded to his father’s dukedom, and when, about the beginning of the year 919, King Conrad died child­less, he was raised to the German throne. It was well indeed for him that he was a capable soldier, for his life was one of warfare—in which he was singularly successful.

By Henry himself and his subjects his successes were attributed as much to the prayers of the queen as to his own prowess. Throughout her life she retained the humility which had distinguished her as a girl, and in the royal palace she lived almost like a religious. To her court and to her servants she seemed less a queen and mistress than a loving mother, and no one in distress ever applied to her in vain. Her husband rarely checked her liberal almsgiving or showed irritation at her pious practices, having entire confidence in her goodness and trusting her in all things. After twenty-three years of marriage King Henry died of an apoplectic fit in 936. Matilda had gone to the church to pour forth her soul in prayer for him at the foot of the altar when it was announced to her that he had passed away. At once she asked for a priest to offer the holy sacrifice for his soul, and cutting off the jewels that she was wearing gave them to the priest as a pledge that she renounced, from that moment, the pomps of the world.

Five children had been born to Henry and Matilda—Otto, afterwards emperor, Henry the Quarrelsome, St Bruno, subsequently archbishop of Cologne, Gerberga, who married Louis IV, King of France, and Hedwig, the mother of Hugh Capet. Although it had been Henry’s wish that his eldest son Otto should succeed him, Matilda favoured her younger son Henry and persuaded a few nobles to vote for him but Otto was chosen and crowned. Unwilling to give up his claims, Henry raised a rebellion against his brother, but finding himself worsted, sued for peace, was pardoned by Otto, and at Matilda’s intercession was made duke of Bavaria. The queen was now living a life of almost complete self-abnegation her jewellery had gone to help the poor, whilst her bounties were so lavish as to arouse criticism. Her son Otto accused her of having treasure in hiding and of wasting the crown revenues: he called upon her to give an account of all she had spent and set spies to watch her movements and her donations. The bitterest part of her suffering was the discovery that her favourite Henry was aiding and abetting his brother. She bore all with invincible patience, remarking, with a touch of pathetic humour, that it was a consolation to know that her sons were united—even though it was only in their persecution of herself. “I would willingly endure all they could do against me if it would keep them together—provided that they could do it without sin”, she is reported to have said.

To satisfy them, Matilda resigned her inheritance to her sons and retired to the country residence where she had been born. But no sooner was she gone than Duke Henry fell ill and disaster began to descend upon the state. It was generally felt that these misfortunes were due to the treatment meted out to their mother, and Otto’s wife Edith persuaded him to ask her forgiveness and to restore all he had taken from her. Matilda freely forgave both her sons and returned to court, where she resumed her works of mercy. But though Henry had ceased to persecute her, his conduct continued to cause her great sorrow. He again revolted against Otto and afterwards punished an insurrection of his own Bavarian subjects with almost incredible cruelty; even the bishops were not spared. In 955 when Matilda saw him for the last time, she prophesied his approaching death and entreated him to repent before it was too late. The news that he had died, which reached her shortly afterwards, almost prostrated her and cut away one of the last ties that bound her to earth.

She set about building a convent at Nordhausen, and made other foundations at Quedlinburg, at Engern and also at Poehlen, where she established a monastery for men. That Otto no longer re­sented her spending her own revenue in religious works is evident from the fact that when he went to Rome to be crowned emperor he left the kingdom in her charge.

The last time Matilda took part in a family gathering was at Cologne at the Easter of 965. Thither came also the Emperor Otto, “the Great”, and her other surviving children and grandchildren. After this appearance she practically retired from the world, spending her time in one or other of her foundations, chiefly at Nordhausen. Urgent affairs had called her to Quedlinburg when a fever from which she had been suffering for some time grew gradually worse and she realized she was dying. She sent for Richburga, who as lady-in-waiting had assisted her in her charities and was now abbess of Nordhausen. According to tradition, the queen proceeded to make a deed of gift of everything in her room until she was told that there was nothing left but the linen which was to serve as a winding-sheet. “Give that to Bishop William of Mainz”, she said designating her grandson. “He will need it first.” He actually died, very suddenly, twelve days before his grand­mother’s decease on March 14, 968. Matilda’s body was buried beside that of her husband at Quedlinburg, and she was locally venerated as a saint from the moment of her death.

The MGH contain the bet text of the two ancient lives of St Matilda—the older in Scriptores, vol. x, pp. 575—382, the more recent in Scriptores, vol. iv, pp. 283—302. Further information may be gleaned from the contemporary chroniclers and charters. See also the Acta Sanctorum, March, vol. ii; L. Clarus, Die hi. Mathilde; L. Zöpf, Die Heiligenleben im 10 Jahrhundert; and L. E. Hallberg, Ste Mathilde.

Matilda was the daughter of Count Dietrich of Westphalia and Reinhild of Denmark. She was also known as Mechtildis and Maud. She was raised by her grandmother, the Abbess of Eufurt convent. Matilda married Henry the Fowler, son of Duke Otto of Saxony, in the year 909. He succeeded his father as Duke in the year 912 and in 919 succeeded King Conrad I to the German throne.
She was noted for her piety and charitable works. She was widowed in the year 936, and supported her son Henry's claim to his father's throne. When her son Otto (the Great) was elected, she persuaded him to name Henry Duke of Bavaria after he had led an unsuccessful revolt. She was severely criticized by both Otto and Henry for what they considered her extravagant charities. She resigned her inheritance to her sons, and retired to her country home but was called to the court through the intercession of Otto's wife, Edith. When Henry again revolted, Otto put down the insurrection in the year 941 with great cruelty. Matilda censored Henry when he began another revolt against Otto in the year 953 and for his ruthlessness in suppressing a revolt by his own subjects; at that time she prophesized his imminent death. When he did die in 955, she devoted herself to building three convents and a monastery, was left in charge of the kingdom when Otto went to Rome in 962 to be crowned Emperor (often regarded as the beginning of the Holy Roman Empire), and spent most of the declining years of her life at the convent at Nordhausen she had built. She died at the monastery at Quedlinburg on March 14 and was buried there with Henry.

Matilda of Saxony, Queen, Widow (RM) (also known as Mathildis, Maud, Mechtildis) Born at Engern, Westphalia, Germany, c. 895; died at Quedlinburg, March 14, 968.
Saint Matilda is another who shows us the possibility of living in the world and reaching the state of Christian perfection. It's not easy, especially at first, because there are so many delightful distractions that titillate the senses and feed the ego. But when the soul becomes acquainted with God and forms a relationship, it hungers and thirsts for more of His love. Thus, fervent prayer, holy meditation, and reading pious books, are more necessary for those living in the world than for professed religious, because of the continual distractions. Amidst the pomp, hurry, and amusements of a court, Saint Matilda gave herself up to holy contemplation with such earnestness, that though she never neglected any duties, her soul was raised to heaven.
Saint Matilda was daughter of Count Dietric (Theodoric) of Westphalia and Reinhild of Denmark. At a very early age her parents placed her under the care of her grandmother, Maud, abbess of Eufurt monastery, who had renounced the world upon her widowhood. Matilda relished the life of prayer and spiritual reading. Like all young ladies she learned the refined skill of needlework. She remained in the convent until her parents married her to Henry, son of Duke Otto of Saxony, in 909 (some vitae push all the dates for marriage and crowning by several years).

Her husband, named the Fowler, from his fondness for popular sport of hawking, became duke of Saxony at the death of his father, in 912. Upon the death of Conrad I in 919, was chosen king of Germany. He was a pious and victorious prince, and very tender of his subjects. His solicitude in easing their taxes, made them ready to serve their country in his wars at their own cost, though he generously recompensed their zeal after his expeditions, which were always attended with success.

While he by his arms checked the insolence of the Hungarians and Danes, and enlarged his dominions by adding to them Bavaria, Matilda gained domestic victories over her spiritual enemies, more worthy of a Christian, and far greater in the eyes of heaven. She nourished the precious seeds of devotion and humility in her heart by assiduous prayer and meditation; and, not content with the time which the day afforded for these exercises, employed part of the night the same way. The nearer the view was which she took of worldly vanities, the more clearly she discovered their emptiness and dangers and sighed to see men pursue such bubbles to the loss of their souls; for, under a fair outside, they contain nothing but poison and bitterness.

It was her delight to visit and comfort the sick and the afflicted, to serve and instruct the poor, and to show charity to prisoners, procuring their freedom if justice would permit it or easing their suffering by liberal alms. Her husband, edified by her example, concurred with her in every pious undertaking.

After twenty-seven years of marriage, Matilda and Henry were separated by his death in 936. During his last illness, Matilda went to the church to pour forth her soul in prayer for him at the foot of the altar. As soon as she understood, by the tears and cries of the people, that he had expired, she called for a priest that was fasting, to offer the holy sacrifice for his soul; and at the same time cut off the jewels which she wore, and gave them to the priest as a pledge that she renounced from that moment the pomp of the world.

She had three sons (one source says five); Otto, afterwards emperor; Henry, duke of Bavaria who is known as "the Quarrelsome"; and Saint Bruno, archbishop of Cologne. Henry was the better suited to succeed his father, but Otto, the eldest, was elected. Otto was crowned king of Germany in 937. Matilda, in the contest between her two elder sons for the elected crown, favored her middle son, Henry, a fault she expiated by severe afflictions and penance. When Otto (the Great) was elected, she persuaded him to name Henry duke of Bavaria after he had led an unsuccessful revolt.

These two sons conspired to strip her of her dowry, on the unjust charge that she had squandered away the revenues of the state on the poor. This persecution was long and cruel, especially because it came at the hands of her precious sons. She retired to her country home but was later recalled to the court at the insistence of Otto's wife, Edith. The errant princes were reconciled to her and restored her all they had taken. She then became more liberal in her alms than ever.

When Henry again revolted, Otto put down the insurrection in 941 with great cruelty. Matilda censured Henry when he began another revolt against Otto in 953 and for his ruthlessness in suppressing a revolt by his own subjects; at that time she prophesied his imminent death. Yet, the testimony of her son Henry is powerful. He told her: "Oh, my very dear one, in all things you have given us excellent advice: how many times have you changed iniquity to justice."

After Henry's death in 955, she devoted herself to building many churches and four religious houses, including Engern, Pöhlde in Brunswick (where she maintained 3,000 monks), Quedlinburg in Saxony (where she buried her husband), and Nordhausen, where she retired in her later years. When she had finished the buildings, Quedlinburg became her usual retreat. After his victories over the Bohemians and Lombards, Matilda governed the kingdom when Otto went to Rome in 962 to be crowned emperor, which is often regarded as the beginning of the Holy Roman Empire.

During the last of her 32 years of widowhood, Matilda entered one of the convents she had founded at Nordhausen. She applied herself totally to her devotions, and to works of mercy. It was her greatest pleasure to teach the poor and ignorant how to pray, as she had formerly taught her servants. In her last sickness she made her confession to her grandson William, the archbishop of Mentz, who yet died twelve days before her, on his road home. She again made a public confession before the priests and monks of the place, received a second time the last sacraments, and lying on a sackcloth with ashes on her head. Her body remains at Quedlinburg, where she is buried beside her husband. The Benedictines venerate her as one of their oblates.

To find the bliss Matilda found requires foregoing vain pleasures to open precious hours for devotional exercises. Perhaps we can all hasten our journey toward sanctity this Lent by giving up an hour of television daily to spend in prayer or Scripture study or volunteering to help the less fortunate. Time is a most precious commodity; use it wisely (Attwater, Benedictines, Bentley, Delaney, Encyclopedia, Husenbeth).
1040 St. Cunegundes Empress Patron of Lithuania virgin
Bambérgæ sanctæ Cunegúndis Augústæ, quæ, sancto Henríco Primo, Romanórum Imperatóri, nupta, perpétuam virginitátem, ipso annuénte, servávit; ac, bonórum óperum méritis cumuláta, sancto fine quiévit, et post óbitum miráculis cláruit. 
At Bamberg, Empress St. Cunegunda, who preserved her virginity with the consent of her husband, Emperor Henry I.  She completed a life rich in meritorious good works with a holy death, and afterward worked many miracles.

1033 ST CUNEGUND, WIDOW
St CUNEGUND was piously trained from her earliest years by her parents, Siegfried of Luxemburg and his saintly wife Hedwig. She married St Henry, Duke of Bavaria, who gave her as a wedding present a crucifix of eastern workmanship which is said to be identical with one now existing in Munich. Later writers have asserted that they both took a vow of virginity on their wedding-day, and the story is accepted in the Roman Martyrology; but historians now seem to agree that there is no reliable evidence to corroborate the statement. In the middle of the eleventh century Cardinal Humbert knew nothing of the alleged celibate marriage he attributed their childlessness to divine punishment for what he regarded as Henry’s exploitation of the Church.

Upon the death of the Emperor Otto III, Henry was elected king of the Romans, and his coronation by St Willigis at Mama was followed, two months later, by that of his wife at Paderborn. In 1013 they went together to Rome to receive the imperial crown from Pope Benedict VIII.

In spite of her exemplary life, Cunegund is said by the hagiographers of a later age to have become the victim of slanderous tongues, so that even her husband’s confidence in her was momentarily shaken, Feeling that her position required her vindication, the empress asked to be allowed the ordeal by fire, and walked unscathed over red-hot ploughshares. Henry was eager to make amends for his unworthy suspicions, and they lived thenceforth in the closest union of hearts, striving in every way to promote the glory of God and the advancement of religion. But this story too is insufficiently supported.

It was partly at the instigation of St Cunegund that the emperor founded the monastery and cathedral of Bamberg, to the consecration of which Pope Benedict came in person, and she obtained for the city such privileges that by common report her silken threads were a better defence than walls. During a dangerous illness she had made a vow that if she recovered she would found a convent at Kaufungen, near Cassel, in Hesse. This she proceeded to do, and had nearly finished building a house for nuns of the Benedictine Order when St Henry died.

Her later bio­graphers relate a quaint story about the first abbess. It appears that the empress had a young niece, called Judith or Jutta, to whom she was much attached, and whom she had educated with great care. When a superior had to be found for the new convent, St Cunegund appointed Judith and gave her many admonitions and much good advice. No sooner, however, did the young abbess find herself free, than she began to show symptoms of frivolity and lax observance. It was soon noticed that she was ever the first in the refectory and the last to come to chapel, and that she was a gossip and listened to tales. In vain did her aunt remonstrate with her. The climax came when she failed to appear in the Sunday procession and was found feasting with some of the younger sisters. Filled with indignation St Cunegund sternly upbraided the culprit, and even struck her. The marks of her fingers remained impressed upon the abbess’s cheek until her dying day, and the marvel not only converted her, but had a salutary effect upon the whole community.

On the anniversary of her husband’s death in 1024 Cunegund invited a number of prelates to the dedication of her church at Kaufungen. There, when the gospel had been sung at Mass, she offered at the altar a piece of the true cross, and then, putting off her imperial robes, she was clothed in a nun’s habit, and the bishop gave her the veil. Once she had been consecrated to God in religion, she seemed entirely to forget that she had ever been an empress and behaved as the lowest in the house, being convinced that she was so before God. She feared nothing more than any­thing that could recall her former dignity. She prayed and read much and especially made it her business to visit and comfort the sick. Thus she passed the last years of her life, dying on March 3, 1033 (or 1039). Her body was taken to Bamberg to be buried with her husband’s.

It is to the contemporary chroniclers, rather than to the relatively late biography of St Cunegund, that we must look for a trustworthy statement of the facts of her life. The latter is under suspicion of having been written with a view to her future canonization, which even­tually came about in the year 1200. J. B. Sägmüller, in particular (Theologische Quartalschrift, 1903, 1907, 1951), has shown good reason for doubting that the childlessness of the emperor and empress was due to any compact between the parties to live together as Mary and Joseph; cf. A. Michel in the same, vol. xcviii (1916), pp. 463—467. The biography, in varying forms, has been edited in the Acta Sanctorum (March, vol. i) and by G. Waitz in MCII., Scriptores, vol. vii. There are popular but rather uncritical modern lives of St Cunegund written by Toussaint and by H. Muller, the latter including an account of both St Henry and St Cunegund in one narrative. Cf. Hauck, Kirchengeschichte Deutschlands, vol. iii, p. 539.

The father of St. Cunegundes was Sigfrid, first Count of Luxemburg. After a pious education, she was married to St. Henry, Duke of Bavaria, who, upon the death of Emperor Otho III, was chosen King of the Romans. St. Cunegundes was crowned at Paderborn in 1002. In 1014 she went with her husband to Rome and became Empress, receiving together with him the imperial crown from the hands Pope Benedict VIII. Though married, she lived in continence, for, with her husband's consent, she had made a vow of virginity before marriage. Calumniators accused her of scandalous conduct, but her innocence was signally vindicated by Divine Providence, as she walked over pieces of flaming irons without injury, to the great joy of the Emperor. Her husband, Henry II, died in 1024, leaving his widow comparatively poor, for she had given away nearly all her wealth in charitable works. In 1025, on the anniversary of his death, and on the occasion of the dedication of a monastery which she had built for Benedictine nuns at Kaffungen, she clothed herself with a poor habit, adopted the veil, which she received from the hands of the Bishop, and entered that same monastery. Her occupations consisted in prayer, reading, and manual labor, and thus she spent the last fifteen years of her life. She died in 1040, and her body was carried to Bamberg, where it was laid near that of her husband, St. Henry.
1045 ST EMMA, WIDOW founded the abbey of Gurk; devoted her possessions and her life to the service of God and of her fellow creatures. Besides giving alms liberally to the poor, she founded several religious houses,
THE little Austrian town of Gurk, in Carinthia, which gives his title to an archbishop, derives its origin from a double monastery and a church founded by St Emma, or Hemma, towards the middle of the eleventh century. She was related on her mother's side to the Emperor St Henry, at whose court she was trained under the watchful eye of St Cunegund. She was afterwards given in marriage to William, Landgrave of Friesach, and their union was a happy one. Emma and her husband had two children, William and Hartwig, to whom when they were old enough the landgrave gave the supervision and charge of the mines from which he drew part of his wealth. The miners were a wild and lawless band whom the brothers found it difficult to control except by taking measures of extreme severity. After one of the men had been hanged for gross immorality by order of Count William, a number of his companions rose in rebellion and murdered both their young masters.
When the news was broken to the parents, Emma at first abandoned herself to grief, while the landgrave threatened to destroy all the insurgents, with their wives and children. Nobler counsels, however, prevailed. Emma turned to God in fervent prayer, and her husband pardoned all except the actual perpetrators of the murder. He then undertook a pilgrimage to Rome. But he fell ill on his way back and died within a short distance of his home. Thus bereft of her husband and children, St Emma devoted her possessions and the remainder of her life to the service of God and of her fellow creatures. Besides giving alms liberally to the poor, she founded several religious houses, of which the chief was the monastery mentioned above. It was located on one of her own estates, and her castle of Gurkhofen formed part of the community buildings. In the two establishments, which were of course entirely separate, provision was made for twenty monks and seventy nuns. Between them they kept up the laus perennis. [The Bollandists print the unsatisfactory medieval Latin biography in the Acta Sanctorum, June, vol. vii. See A. von Jaksch, Gurker Geschichtsquellen, vol. i (1896); J. Low, Hemmabüchlein (1931); and the publication of the Congregation of Rites, Confirmationis cultus servae Dei Hemmae ... positio (1937).]  It is stated that St Emma herself received the veil at Gurk, but this is not certain She died about the year 1045, and was buried in her own church at Gurk.
Although she certainly founded the abbey of Gurk, the earlier life of St Emma seems to have been in fact different from the medieval tale related above. It was she who belonged to the Friesach family, and when she was left a widow by the death of Count William of Sanngau c. 1015 she had a son living; he was killed in battle twenty years later, and it was then that her religious benefactions began. The ancient cultus of the Countess Emma was confirmed by the Holy See in 1938; a list supplied by the Congregation of Sacred Rites includes her among the beatae, but she is generally called Saint.
1113 Blessed Ida of Boulogne descendent of Blessed Charlemagne Benedictine oblate Widow (AC)
Ida, daughter of Duke Godfrey IV (Dode) of Lorraine, was a descendent of Blessed Charlemagne. At age 17, she became the wife of Count Eustace II of Boulogne. She was the mother of Godfrey and Baldwin de Bouillon. After her husband's death, Ida endowed several monasteries in Picardy, and became a Benedictine oblate under the obedience of the abbot of Saint Vaast (Attwater2, Benedictines, Encyclopedia, Gill).
1113 BD IDA OF BOULOGNE, Widow
IDA of Boulogne may well be called a daughter and a mother of kings, for both her parents were descended from Charlemagne, two of her sons, Godfrey and Baldwin, became kings of Jerusalem, and her granddaughter Matilda was, destined to be queen consort of England. Ida herself was the child of Godfrey IV, Duke of Lorraine, by his first wife Doda, and at the age of seventeen she was given in marriage to Eustace II, Count of’ Boulogne. Their union seems to have been a happy one, and Countess Ida regarded it as her paramount duty to train her children in the paths of holiness and to set them the example of liberal almsgiving to the poor. She had the good fortune to have as her spiritual adviser one of the greatest men of the age, St Anselm, abbot of Bec in Normandy, afterwards archbishop of Canterbury, some of whose letters to Ida have been preserved in his correspondence. The death of Count Eustace left his widow the control of valuable property, much of which she expended in the relief of the needy and in the construction of monasteries. Thus she founded Saint-Wulmer at Boulogne and Vasconvilliers, restored Samer and Our Lady of the Chapel, Calais, besides bestowing generous benefactions upon Saint-Bertin, Bouillon and Afflighem.
Bd Ida gave herself ardently to prayer for the success of the First Crusade, and it is recorded that, while she was making intercession for the safety of her son Godfrey of Bouillon, it was revealed to her that he was at that very moment making his victorious entry into Jerusalem. Although as the years passed Ida retired more and more from the world (she had once visited England), she does not appear ever to have actually taken the veil. She died when she was over seventy, at the close of a long and painful illness, and was buried in the church of the monastery of St Vaast.

There are two short lives of Bd Ida printed in the Acta Sanctorum, April, vol. ii. The first is attributed to a monk of St Vaast, a contemporary, the other was compiled by the canon regular John Gielemans, at a much later date. The best popular account is that of F. Ducatel Vie de Ste Ide de Lorraine (1900).
1175 St. Helen of Skovde Widow; gave all her possessions to the poor; Like Jesus, the innocent Lamb, St. Helen was put to death; many miracles were reported at her tomb,
Born in Vastergotland, Sweden, in the twelfth century. She belonged to a noble family. However, after the death of her husband, she gave all her possessions to the poor. Following this, Helen made a pilgrimage to Rome. When she returned home, she found herself accused of involvement in the death of her son-in-law. It was later proved that the deed had been perpetrated by mistreated servants, but by that time, Helen had been executed. Following Helen's death, many miracles were reported at her tomb, and public devotion to her was approved in 1164, just four years after her death. Like Jesus, the innocent Lamb, St. Helen was put to death. Her goodness was preserved through the manifestation of God's power at her tomb.
Although we may be suspect but innocent here in this life, God will provide sure justice hereafter.
Helen of Skövde (Sköfde), Widow M (AC) Died c. 1145-1160; canonized in 1164 by Alexander III. Saint Sigfrid, apostle of Sweden, brought the noble matron Helen of Vastergötland to the faith. When she was widowed at a youthful age, she dedicated her wealth to the service of the poor and the Church. Thereafter, Helen made a pilgrimage to Rome (or the Holy Land), and upon her return she was murdered as the result of a family feud--her son-in-law's relatives believed that she had plotted to kill him. Helen was buried at Skövde in the church which she had built and was canonized on the strength of the miracles that occurred there. Until the Reformation, Saint Helen was highly honored in Sweden and on the isle of Zeeland in Denmark, which claimed some of her relics. Her body was richly enshrined in a church dedicated to her eight miles from Copenhagen. There a miraculous well, called Saint Lene Kild or Saint Helen's Well, still draws even Lutherans.
Helen is regarded as the patroness of Vastergötland and, by some, of all Sweden (Benedictines, Encyclopedia, Farmer, Husenbeth).
1260 St. Jutta Widowed noblewoman of Thuringia noted for visions and miracles
Germany, noted for visions and miracles. She married at fifteen and raised children. When her husband died on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land, Jutta moved to Prussia, becoming a recluse at Kulmsee. She is the patroness of Prussia, in eastern Germany.
Jutta of Kulmsee, Widow (AC) Born at Sangerhausen, Thuringia; died at Kulmsee, Prussia, in 1250 or 1260. The written life of this young noblewoman, bears a curious resemblance to that of Saint Elizabeth of Hungary, who was almost her contemporary. Jutta, too, was happily married with a family of children and she was prostrated by the loss of her husband, who died on a pilgrimage or crusade to the Holy Land. Thereafter, she provided for her children, divested herself of her property, and passed her few remaining years in religious retirement and care for the poor. In Jutta's case this was in the territory of the Teutonic Knights, whose grand-master was a relative of hers. After her death at her hermitage near Kulmsee a strong local cultus of her grew up in Prussia, where she is venerated as patroness
(Attwater, Benedictines).
1261 Blessed Ela foundress monastery of Carthusians convent of Augustinians nuns, Widow (PC)
Wife of the crusader William Long-Sword, Blessed Ela placed herself under the direction of Saint Edmund Rich. She founded a monastery of Carthusians at Hinton and a convent of Augustinians nuns at Laycock of which became abbess (Benedictines, Encyclopedia).

1228 BD JUTTA OF HUY, Widow an extraordinary power of reading the thoughts of others, and apparently a knowledge of distant events; she also displayed the greatest charity in directing and helping the many souls who came to consult her in her anchorage.

1264 Blessed Jutta of Thuringia patroness of Prussia began her life amidst luxury and power became a Secular Franciscan, taking on the simple garment of a religiousdied the death of a simple servant of the poor
1260 St. Jutta Widowed noblewoman of Thuringia: Jutta received wonderful graces, for besides being favoured with many visions and revelations, she was given an infused understanding of the Holy Scriptures. She once said that three things could bring one very near to God— painful illness, exile from home in a remote corner of a foreign land, and poverty voluntarily assumed for God’s sake
1260 ST JUTTA, Widow
AMONGST the numerous women who were inspired by the example of St Elizabeth of Hungary, one of the most remarkable was St Jutta, or Judith, patroness of Prussia. 
Like her great exemplar she was a native of Thuringia, having been born at Sanger­hausen, to the south-west of Eisleben. Married at the age of fifteen to a man of noble rank, she proved an admirable wife, besides being a great benefactress to the poor.  Once, in a vision, our Lord had said to her, “Follow me”; and she strove not only to obey Him herself, but to lead her household to do the same. In the early days of her married life, her husband had remonstrated with her for the simplicity of her dress, but she gradually won him over to her own point of view. He was actually on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land when he died—to the great grief of his widow, who was left to bring up her children alone.
As they grew up, one after another entered religious orders, and Jutta was left free to follow the call which she had long cherished in her heart. She gave every­thing she possessed to the poor, and then, clad in a miserable dress, she begged bread for herself and the poor from those who had been her dependents. Though some scoffed, others treated her with reverence, knowing what she had given up, and she resolved to go forth among strangers in order that she might be despised by all. As she wandered on, walking barefoot in summer and winter, she relieved on the road many tramps by dressing their wounds and feeding them with food supplied to her in charity. At last she made her way into Prussia, the land of the Teutonic Knights, whose grand-master, Hanno of Sangerhausen, was a relation of her own. There she settled as a solitary in a ruinous building on the shore of a sheet of water called the Bielcza, half a mile or so from Kulmsee.

St Jutta received wonderful graces, for besides being favoured with many visions and revelations, she was given an infused understanding of the Holy Scriptures. She once said that three things could bring one very near to God— painful illness, exile from home in a remote corner of a foreign land, and poverty voluntarily assumed for God’s sake. The inhabitants of the neighbouring villages who passed her dwelling declared that they had often seen her raised from the ground, as if upheld by angels. On Sundays she attended the church at Kulmsee, and she had as her directors at first a Franciscan, John Lobedau, and afterwards a Dominican, Henry Heidenreich. For four years she remained in her solitude, praying fervently for the conversion of the heathen and the perseverance of the newly baptized. Then she was seized by a fever which proved fatal. Many miracles were recorded as having taken place at her grave, and she has been associated in the veneration of the Prussian Catholics with Bd John Lobedau and with another female recluse, Bd Dorothy of Marienwerder.

The very full account of this recluse printed in the Acta Sanctorum is a translation of a Polish life by Father Szembek. This claims to have been based upon a mass of materials collected for the process of canonization, but the originals unfortunately could not be traced by the Bollandists at the date at which they wrote. See also the Mittheilungen des Vereins f. Gesch., etc., v. Sangerhausen, vol. i (1881), pp. 82 seq.; P. Funk, in Festschrift für W. Goetz (1927), pp. 81--44; and a sketch by H. Westpfahl, Jutta von Sangerhausen (1938).

  June 25, 2010 Blessed Jutta of Thuringia (d. 1264?) 
Today's patroness of Prussia began her life amidst luxury and power but died the death of a simple servant of the poor.
In truth, virtue and piety were always of prime importance to Jutta and her husband, both of noble rank. The two were set to make a pilgrimage together to the holy places in Jerusalem, but her husband died on the way. The newly widowed Jutta, after taking care to provide for her children, resolved to live in a manner utterly pleasing to God. She disposed of the costly clothes, jewels and furniture befitting one of her rank, and became a Secular Franciscan, taking on the simple garment of a religious.
From that point her life was utterly devoted to others: caring for the sick, particularly lepers; tending to the poor, whom she visited in their hovels; helping the crippled and blind with whom she shared her own home. Many of the townspeople of Thuringia laughed at how the once-distinguished lady now spent all her time. But Jutta saw the face of God in the poor and felt honored to render whatever services she could.
About the year 1260, not long before her death, Jutta lived near the non-Christians in eastern Germany. There she built a small hermitage and prayed unceasingly for their conversion. She has been venerated for centuries as the special patron of Prussia.
Comment: Jesus once said that a camel can pass through a needle’s eye more easily than a rich person can enter God’s realm. That’s pretty scary news for us. We may not have great fortunes, but we who live in the West enjoy a share of the world’s goods that people in the rest of the world cannot imagine. Much to the amusement of her neighbors, Jutta disposed of her wealth after her husband’s death and devoted her life to caring for those who had no means. Should we follow her example, people will probably laugh at us, too. But God will smile.
Germany, noted for visions and miracles. She married at fifteen and raised children. When her husband died on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land, Jutta moved to Prussia, becoming a recluse at Kulmsee. She is the patroness of Prussia, in eastern Germany.
Jutta of Kulmsee, Widow (AC) Born at Sangerhausen, Thuringia; died at Kulmsee, Prussia, in 1250 or 1260. The written life of this young noblewoman, bears a curious resemblance to that of Saint Elizabeth of Hungary, who was almost her contemporary. Jutta, too, was happily married with a family of children and she was prostrated by the loss of her husband, who died on a pilgrimage or crusade to the Holy Land. Thereafter, she provided for her children, divested herself of her property, and passed her few remaining years in religious retirement and care for the poor. In Jutta's case this was in the territory of the Teutonic Knights, whose grand-master was a relative of hers. After her death at her hermitage near Kulmsee a strong local cultus of her grew up in Prussia, where she is venerated as patroness
(Attwater, Benedictines).
Today's patroness of Prussia began her life amidst luxury and power but died the death of a simple servant of the poor.
In truth, virtue and piety were always of prime importance to Jutta and her husband, both of noble rank. The two were set to make a pilgrimage together to the holy places in Jerusalem, but her husband died on the way. The newly widowed Jutta, after taking care to provide for her children, resolved to live in a manner utterly pleasing to God. She disposed of the costly clothes, jewels and furniture befitting one of her rank, and became a Secular Franciscan, taking on the simple garment of a religious.
From that point her life was utterly devoted to others: caring for the sick, particularly lepers; tending to the poor, whom she visited in their hovels; helping the crippled and blind with whom she shared her own home. Many of the townspeople of Thuringia laughed at how the once-distinguished lady now spent all her time. But Jutta saw the face of God in the poor and felt honored to render whatever services she could.
About the year 1260, not long before her death, Jutta lived near the non-Christians in eastern Germany. There she built a small hermitage and prayed unceasingly for their conversion. She has been venerated for centuries as the special patron of Prussia.
Comment:  Jesus once said that a camel can pass through a needle’s eye more easily than a rich person can enter God’s realm. That’s pretty scary news for us. We may not have great fortunes, but we who live in the West enjoy a share of the world’s goods that people in the rest of the world cannot imagine. Much to the amusement of her neighbors, Jutta disposed of her wealth after her husband’s death and devoted her life to caring for those who had no means. Should we follow her example, people will probably laugh at us, too. But God will smile.

JUTTA (Juetta) was one of the mystics who seem to have been influenced by that remarkable ascetic revival in the Low Countries which preceded by a few years the preaching of St Dominic and St Francis in southern Europe. She was born of a well-to-do family at Huy, near Liége, in 1228. While still only a child she was forced by her father, very much against her inclination, to marry. After five years of wedded life, and after bearing her husband three children, she was left a widow at the age of eighteen. Then, after an interval, during which her good looks, to her great distress, attracted a number of suitors who pestered her with their attentions, she devoted herself for ten years to nursing in the lazar-house; but even this life did not seem to her sufficiently austere, and she wished to exchange the role of Martha for that of Mary. She accordingly had herself walled up in a room close beside her lepers, and lived there as an anchoress from 1182 until her death, January 13, 1228. Her mystical experiences, which are set down in some detail in a contemporary Latin biography, are of great interest. By her prayers she converted her father and one of her two surviving sons, who had taken to evil courses; the other had joined the Cistercians and became abbot of Orval. She had, as we find in the case of so many saintly mystics, an extraordinary power of reading the thoughts of others, and apparently a knowledge of distant events; she also displayed the greatest charity in directing and helping the many souls who came to consult her in her anchorage.
See the life by Hugh of Floreffe, a Premonstratensian, printed in the Acta Sanctorum for January 13.
1262 Blessed Beatrix II of Este founded Benedictine convent of Saint Antony at Ferrara (AC)
Died 1262; cultus confirmed in 1774. There are two beatae named Beatrix of Este. This one is the niece of the first whose feast is celebrated on May 10. Beatrix II lost her husband (or possibly her financé) at an early age and thereafter founded the Benedictine convent of Saint Antony at Ferrara, Italy, in the face of much opposition (Attwater2, Benedictines).

1262 BD BEATRICE D’ESTE OF FERRARA, Widow
THIS nun was the niece of another Bd Beatrice d’Este, of Gemmola, whose feast is kept on May 10. We have no full account of the life of Beatrice the younger, and it is not even quite certain whether she had been married or not before she consecrated her life to God in the Benedictine convent of St Antony at Ferrara, a convent which appears to have been requested at her special desire by the powerful family to which she belonged. She lived and died in the repute of great holiness, and it was stated in the seventeenth century that from the marble tomb in which her remains were enshrined an oily liquid still exuded which worked many surprising miracles of healing. The cultus of this Beatrice, which had always been maintained was confirmed in 1774.
In an appendix to the January section of the Acta Sanctorum the Bollandists printed such fragments of information as they were able to collect concerning Bd Beatrice. See also the Analecta Juris Pontificii for 1880, p. 668.
1305 Blessed Santuccia Terrebotti Benedictine abbess OSB Widow (AC).

1305 BD SANTUCCIA, MATRON
THE picturesque town of Gubbio in Umbria was the birthplace of Santuccia Terrebotti. She married a good man and they had one daughter, called Julia, who died young. The bereaved parents thereupon decided to retire from the world and to devote the rest of their days to God in the religious life. For some time Santuccia ruled a community of Benedictine nuns in Gubbio, but upon receiving the offer of the buildings which had once been occupied by the Templars on the Julian Way, she transferred herself and her sisters to Rome. There she inaugurated a community of Benedictine nuns who called themselves Servants of Mary, but were popularly known as Santuccie. The cultus of Bd Santuccia has never been confirmed.

See Garampi, Memorie ecclesiastiche; Spicilegium Benedictinum (1898), vol. ii; and Acta Sanctorum, March, vol. iii.

Born in Gubbio, Umbria, Italy; Santuccia married and bore a daughter who died young. She and her husband mutually agreed to separate and enter religious life. She became a Benedictine at Gubbio and rose to be an abbess. Under her the community migrated to Santa Maria in Via Lata, on the Julian Way, Rome. There she inaugurated a stricter adherence to live the Benedictine Rule, although the sisters are usually called the Servants of Mary, popularly called Le Santuccie (Attwater2, Benedictines).
1310 Humility of Faenza, OSB Vall. Widow heroic fasting and savagely austere life (AC)
1310 ST HUMILITY, WIDOW
THE foundress of the Vallombrosan nuns was born at Faenza in the Romagna in the year 1226. Her parents, who were people of high rank and considerable wealth, called her after the town of Rosana, with which they were in some way connected, but she has always been known by the name of Humility, which she adopted when she entered religion. Her parents practically compelled her when she was about fifteen to marry a local nobleman called Ugoletto, a young man as frivolous as his bride was earnest and devout. She had the misfortune to lose both her sons shortly after their baptism, and for nine years she strove, apparently in vain, to appeal to her husband’s better nature. A dangerous illness, however, then brought him to death’s door and upon his recovery he was induced by his doctors to consent for his own benefit to his wife’s request that they should from thenceforth live as brother and sister. Soon afterwards they both joined the double monastery of St Perpetua, just outside Faenza, he becoming a lay-brother and she a choir nun.
Humility was then twenty-four years of age. She discovered before long that the rule afforded her insufficient opportunity for solitude and austerity, and she withdrew first to a house of Poor Clares and then to a cell, which was constructed for her by a kinsman whom she had cured of a painful infirmity of the feet. It adjoined the church of St Apollinaris, and into this there was an opening—what archaeologists call a “squint”—which enabled her to follow Mass and to receive holy communion. The church seems to have been served by religious from a priory dependent on the Vallombrosan abbey of St Crispin, the abbot of which, following the ceremonial provided for in such cases, solemnly enclosed her in her cell. Her life was now one of heroic mortification : she subsisted on a little bread and water with occasionally some vegetables; she wore a cilicium of bristles, and the short snatches of sleep she allowed herself were taken on her knees with her head leaning against a wall. She had never consented to see her husband after she had left the world, but he could not forget her; and in order that he might keep in touch with her, he left St Perpetua’s to become a monk at St Crispin’s, where he died three years later. After Humility had lived twelve years as a recluse, the Vallombrosan abbot general persuaded her to emerge from her retirement to organize a foundation for women. At a place called Malta, outside the walls of Faenza, she established the first Vallombrosan nunnery, of which she became abbess and which was known as Santa Maria Novella alla Malta. Long years afterwards, actually in 1501, the convent was removed for safety into the city and occupied the site once covered by the monastery of St Perpetua. Before her death St Humility founded in Florence a second house, of which she was also abbess and where she died at the age of eighty on May 22, 1310.
Tradition credits St Humility with the authorship of several treatises—she is said to have dictated them in Latin, a language she had never studied. One of these deals with the angels and in it she speaks of living in constant communion with two heavenly beings, one of whom was her guardian angel.

A contemporary life is printed in the Acta Sanctorum, May, vol. v, from a manuscript notarially attested in 1332 to be an exact copy. There is a modern biography by M. Ercolani (1910), and a shorter one by Dame M. E. Pietromarchi, S. Umilta Negusanti (1935). The Latin tractates of St Humility were edited by Torello Sala at Florence in 1884; they are said to be very obscure and the Latin to be stiff and artificial.
(Also known as Humilitas, Rosanna) Born in Faenza, Romagna, Italy, in 1226; died in Florence, Italy, May 22, 1310. Humility was born to wealthy parents and baptized Rosanna. She longed to enter a convent from her earliest years, to model herself on Saint John and the Blessed Virgin who stood by Jesus on the Cross. But when she was 15 her parents insisted instead that she marry a nobleman named Ugoletto. He was apparently frivolous and uncaring, mocking his bride's spiritual ways. Her sorrows were increased when the two boys she bore died in infancy.

After a near-fatal illness of Ugoletto when Rosanna was 24, her husband was brought to conversion of heart. Chastened, he agreed to allow Rosanna to enter a convent. They chose a mixed monastery- -Saint Perpetua at Faenza--where he went to live as a brother and she as a sister, taking the name Humility.

Soon she decided that she needed even more discipline than the rules of the convent demanded. One of her relatives built her a cell against the wall of the church of Saint Apollinaris. A hole was cut into the wall, so that she could follow the services inside the church. Then she was bricked into her cell.

Her spiritual welfare was in the care of Vallombrosan monks of Saint Crispin Abbey. Each day she ate only bread and water and sometimes a few herbs. She slept on her knees, her head resting against the wall.

After 12 years of this life, she was persuaded to leave her cell by the master general of the Vallombrosan order, who begged her to become abbess of the first Vallombrosan convent, Santa Maria Novella at Malta, near Faenza. She helped to found this nunnery at Faenza, before becoming abbess of the second one in Florence. And, in spite of her heroic fasting and savagely austere life, she lived to be 80 years old (Benedictines, Bentley, Delaney).

In art, Saint Humilitas is a Vallombrosian nun in a black veil, white wimple, and grey-brown habit with a lambskin over her head (Roeder).

1309 BD ANGELA OF FOLIGNO, WIDOW must always take her place among the great mystics and contemplatives of the middle ages, side by side with Catherine of Siena and Catherine of Genoa.
ANGELA of Foligno must always take her place among the great mystics and contemplatives of the middle ages, side by side with Catherine of Siena and Catherine of Genoa. She has a very marked and distinct individuality of her own, and presents an unusual type of the great Franciscan revival which influenced central Italy so strongly: She seems in many ways the opposite to her great spiritual father, St Francis. His life was action, Angela’s was thought, vision; Francis saw God in all His creatures—Angela saw all creatures in God; but the underlying principle is the same, namely, joyful love. Very little is known of Bd Angela’s history—not even her surname.* [*Father Ferré is able to tell us from his examination of the Assisi manuscript that she was known among her family and intimates as “Lella”, but this was probably only a pet name derived from Angela,]

The date of her birth must have been about 1248, and she belonged to a good family of Foligno, where she was born and lived. She was married to a rich man and was the mother of several sons. In her early life she was careless and worldly; indeed, according to her own account, her life was not only pleasure-seeking and self-indulgent, but actually sinful. Then suddenly about 1285 there came to her the vision of the True Light, the call to a love full of fruitful suffering, to the peace of greater and more living joys than any on earth. It was a sudden, vivid conversion, a conversion of her whole point of view, impetuous, painful, joyous. The life she had thought harmless, even if without any higher aim, she now saw in its true perspective, as sinful, and from this conviction of sin was born in her a craving for penance, suffering, renunciation—renunciation complete and joyful, that has lost all to find all, the victorious faith of her great model, St Francis, whose third order she eventually joined.
For some time after her conversion she continued outwardly her life in the world, Then gradually all ties were broken. Her mother, to whom she was much attached, though, perhaps naturally, she hindered her in her new life, died; then before long her husband; and finally her sons, and though her biographer exults over the providence displayed in thus removing all hindrances to her spiritual ascent, she was herself not inhuman, and Brother Arnold tells us how cruelly she suffered as blow after blow fell upon her. Still, her conversion had been so complete, so violent, that all things, joy or sorrow, as with St Francis, were but one, a living unity. For these early Franciscans nothing existed but the love of God.
What little we know of Angela’s life is told us mostly by Brother Arnold, a Friar Minor, who was her confessor and who prevailed upon her to dictate the account of her visions to him. [Later research has shown that the third of the three sections into which the manuscript is divided cannot, as was previously supposed, have been written or edited by Brother Arnold.]
He tells us that after a time she gave up all her possessions, selling last of all a “castle” which she loved very much. That this sacrifice was asked of her had been revealed in a vision, in which she was told that if she would be perfect she must follow St Francis in his absolute poverty. Arnold tells us pathetically how, time after time, when he read over to her what he had written, she exclaimed that he had misunderstood her and given quite a wrong meaning to her words. At other times she would cry out that when her visions were put into words they were blasphemous, and Arnold warns us not to be scandalized at the heights of ecstasy to which Angela rises, and adds that the greater her ecstasy the deeper was her humility. For instance, when she says she has been raised “for ever” to a new state of light and joy, she does not speak in any spirit of overconfidence or spiritual pride. She simply tells us that her state is one of continual progress, that she is entering into a new light, a new sense of God, a solitude which she has not yet inhabited.
She gathered round her a family of tertiaries, both men and women. We hear from Brother Arnold that she had one special companion, “una vergine Cristiana”, who lived with her and who was evidently not exempt from human respect, for
when she and Angela were walking from Foligno, perhaps climbing the heights to Spello or Assisi, or going along that wonderful plain of Umbria to Rivotorto or Santa Maria degli Angeli, Angela would fall into ecstasy, her face shining and her eyes burning. The companion became much embarrassed and, thinking to set a good example, covered her own head, imploring Angela to do the same, telling her that her eyes were like lamps. “Hide yourself—what will people say of you? Hide yourself from the eyes of men.” “Never mind,” said Angela, “if we meet anyone God will take care of us.” Arnold adds that the companion had to accustom herself to such episodes as Angela’s states of ecstasy occurred at any moment.

One Holy Thursday she said to the companion, “Let us go and look for Christ our Lord. We will go to the hospital and perhaps amongst the sick and suffering we shall find Him.” She could not go empty-handed, and the only things they possessed were their veils for covering their heads on which the companion set such store. These Angela hastily sold to buy food to take to the hospital, “and so we offered food to these poor sick people, and then we washed the feet of the women, and the men’s hands, as they lay lonely and forsaken on their wretched pallets— more especially was a poor leper much consoled”, and great was the joy and sweet­ness they experienced on their way home, and so they found the Lord Christ on this Maundy Thursday. And so this strange life of great simplicity and of such overwhelming spiritual experience ran its course, and at the end of 1308 she knew that death was near. She had all her spiritual children assembled and laid her hand in blessing on the head of each, leaving them as her last will and testament words of wonderful confidence and assurance. Bd Angela died happily and in great peace on January 4, 1309.

We have one other detail of her outer life. Ubertino di Casale entered the Order of Friars Minor in 1273. For fourteen years his life was zealous and exemplary. He was a man of great learning, and these years were spent in various universities. He then fell away grievously into carelessness and sin. He tells us he made Angela’s acquaintance in a wonderful manner which he does not relate, and that she revealed to him his most secret thoughts, “God speaking through her”, as he says, and that she brought him back to a holy life. He adds that he was only one of a large family of spiritual children who owed the life of their souls to her, Though so little is known of her outer life, she has revealed her inner life very fully. “I, called Angela of Foligno, walking in the path of penance, made eighteen spiritual steps before I knew all the imperfection of my life.” These eighteen steps begin with the consciousness of sin, then, through the shame of confession, to the mercy of God, to self-knowledge, to the cross of Christ. At the ninth step, “the way to the cross”, she discards her rich clothing, her delicate food, but this is all still done very much against the grain, for she is not yet really controlled by divine love. At the tenth step comes the vision of Jesus Christ, which is granted to her in answer to her prayer: “What can I do to please thee?” The vision of Christ and His passion reveals to her the smallness of all her sufferings, and she tells us that she wept so continuously and so bitterly that she had to bathe her eyes for a long time with cold water, After the vision of the Cross she knows true penitence, and she decides on a life of absolute poverty. So one by one she climbs her steps. She learns more and more of the Passion. God Himself through the Lord’s Prayer teaches her to pray. She finds what graces come from our Blessed Lady, and at the eighteenth step she says that she realizes God most vividly, and so delights in prayer that she forgets to eat. At this stage she sells her much-loved castle.

Angela tells us that she has dwelt in two abysses, of height and of depth. Now, after the eighteenth step, she is hurled from the abyss of height and we have a terrible chapter telling of her temptations. She seems to herself to be stripped of every good wish or thought. She is tried by the most horrible sensual temptations, haunted by longings for sins of which she had never heard. At last the light broke through and she had a short reprieve. What she calls the next abyss was the temp­tation to false humility, great self-consciousness and scrupulosity. She wanted to tear off her clothes and run about the town naked, with fish and meat hung round her neck, crying out, “This is a most vile woman who stinks of evil and falsehood, who spreads vice and sin wherever she goes. Yes, that is what I am—a humbug. I pretend I eat no fish or meat, and really I am a glutton and a drunkard. I pretend I wear common rough clothing, but at night I sleep under the softest coverings, which I hide in the morning.” She implored the Friars Minor and her tertiaries to believe these self-accusations. At last she was delivered from this curse of false humility only to fall into the other extreme of great spiritual pride. She was filled with anger, bitterness, ill-nature. This state of torment began in 1294 and lasted more than two years. At last her poor tortured soul was lifted out of this abyss of darkness and she was comforted with a vision of God as the highest good, and more and more, as her life proceeded, she was filled with great joy and happiness—that joy which was the keynote of the early Franciscan life. Over and over again in her visions she is shown the love and goodness and kindness of God; more and more she grasps the underlying principle that St Francis taught, which binds all things together and “makes of all things one”—namely, love. When she is in the state of love everything that could be said about God or the life of Christ in Holy Scripture would only be a hindrance—she is “in God” and reads much greater and incomparable words. When she comes to herself after this experience she is so peaceful and happy that she says she is full of love “even for the devils”. She is so lost in love that not even the passion of our Lord can sadden her—all is joy. Sometimes the soul contemplates the human flesh of God which died for us, at other times joyful love wipes out all the sorrow of the Passion. “Therefore” she concludes, “the Passion is to me only a shining path of life.”

A large part of the book of visions is taken up with these wonderful, vivid, but always restrained descriptions of every detail of Christ’s passion and crucifixion. More and more she rises above the pain and suffering in the spirit of her Lord Himself, “who for the joy set before Him endured the cross and despised the shame”. She tells us that assisting at a representation of the Passion (apparently a kind of mystery play) in the open air she was so overcome with this spirit of joy that she seemed to herself to be taken up and hidden in the shining wound of the side of Christ. Wonderful favours and visions were granted her at Mass and holy communion. One of the last recorded visions is Peace. Something had disturbed her and she had lost her joy and peace. At last God spoke to her and told her she was favoured above anyone in the valley of Spoleto. Her soul cried out, Why, then, did God desert her? The answer was that she must trust more and more, and gradually peace returned to her, greater than she had ever known.

The book concludes with a vision she calls the path of salvation, in which she speaks of the blessedness of those who know God, not by what He gives, but by what He is in Himself. “Lord”, she cried, “tell me what thou dost want of me I am all thine. But there was no answer, and I prayed from Matins till Terce— then I saw and heard.” There was an abyss of light—an abyss in which the truth of God was spread out like a road on which those passed who went to Him and those also who turned away from Him, and the voice of God said to me, “In truth the only way of salvation is to follow my footsteps from the cross on earth to this light”. Here the divine Word became clearer and more distinct, and the path was bathed in light and splendour as far as the eye could reach.

We know very little about Bd Angela of Foligno apart from her own disclosures regarding herself. These are printed in the Acta Sanctorum for January 4, and they were re-edited by Boccolini in the eighteenth century, and by Faloci-Pulignani from 1899. An Italian arrangement of the same materials had appeared in 1536, of which there is an English render­ing by Mary G. Steegman, which was published under the title The Book of the Divine Consolation of Bd Angela of Foligno (1909). But a re-editing of the sources was highly desirable (cf. the article “ Les oeuvres authentiques d’Angéle de Foligno” in the Revue d’histoire franciscaine, July, 1924); this was done from MS 342 in the municipal library at Assisi by Fr P. Doncoeur, text (1925) and French translation (1926), and by Fr M. J. Ferré (text and translation, 1927). See also L. Lecléve, Ste Angéle de Foligno (1936) and Fr Doncoeur’s bibliography in the Revue d’ascétique et de mystique, July, 1925. The cultus of Bd Angela has been approved by Pope Innocent XII and other pontiffs (she is sometimes called Saint).

1309 St. Aldo (Aldobrandesca) Widow she gave away all possessions ministering to sick visions  almsdeeds and mortification and ecstasies Siena (also known as Aldobrandesca, Aude, Blanca, Bruna)
1309 BD ALDA, OR ALDOBRANDESCA, Widow won the veneration of all, and many were the cures attributed to her ministrations.

THE tomb of Bd Alda was formerly a great centre of devotion in the church of St Thomas at Siena. She was a matron of good position who, upon finding herself a childless widow, retired into a little house outside the walls of Siena. There she devoted herself to almsgiving, and by mortifications tried to fill up the chalice of the sufferings of Christ. She had many visions in which she beheld scenes in the earthly life of our Lord. Gradually she gave away all her possessions and finally she determined to sacrifice her solitude, and went to live in the hospital that she might devote herself to nursing the sick poor. She still continued to be subject to ecstasies. When first she was seen in a state of trance resembling catalepsy, some members of the staff were sceptical and scoffed—even going so far as to pinch her, pierce her with needles, and apply lighted candles to her hands. When she recovered consciousness she felt intense pain from the wounds thus made, but all she said to her tormentors was, “God forgive you”. The experiments were not repeated. Before her death Bd Alda won the veneration of all, and many were the cures attributed to her ministrations.

A short life was published in 1584 by C. Lombardelli this has been translated into Latin and printed in the Acta Sanctorum, April, vol. iii.

Born in Siena, Italy, 1249; Blessed Alda married a very pious man and lived with him in conjugal continence. Upon his death, Alda joined the third order of the Humiliati and devoted her life to almsdeeds and mortification. She is greatly honored in Siena (Benedictines).

(also known as Esperance, Exuperance) A virgin whose relics are venerated in Troyes, France. Nothing else is known about her (Benedictines, Encyclopedia).

28 febbraio 1245 - Siena, 26 aprile 1309 A native of Siena, and also known as Aude and Aldobrandesca, she gave away all her possessions on the death of her husband and devoted herself to aiding the poor. She spent the last part of her life ministering to the sick in the hospital at Siena, subjecting herself to great mortifications. She experienced visions and ecstasies during her lifetime.

Nacque il 28 febbraio 1245 dal nobile Pietro Francesco Ponzi e da Agnese Bulgarini, alla quale Dio aveva mostrato in sogno di aver scelto la nascitura per sé; dopo essere stata educata e istruita con ogni cura, fu data in sposa al concittadino Bindo Bellanti, uomo «virtutibus ornatissimus», dal quale, però, non ebbe figli. Dopo la morte prematura del marito, A. vestì l'abito del Terz'Ordine degli Umiliati e si diede, ancor più di prima, a far vita penitente nella solitudine di una sua piccola proprietà, dove operò miracoli ed ebbe estasi e visioni. Passò gli ultimi anni nell'ospedale di S. Andrea, che in seguito fu detto di S. Onofrio, dedicandosi tutta al servizio dei poveri, degli infermi e dei pellegrini.
Alda morì il 26 aprile 1309 e fu sepolta nella chiesa di S. Tommaso in Siena, appartenente agli Umiliati. Le sue ossa nel 1489 furono levate da terra e poste in una parete a lato di un altare, da dove nel 1583 furono trasferite.
Il suo culto, oltre che a Siena e in altre città, ebbe molta diffusione nell'Ordine degli Umiliati.

February 28 was born 1245 from the noble Pietro Francesco Ponzi and from Agnese Bulgarini, to which God had shown in dream of to have chosen the nascitura for oneself; after to to be been educated and taught with every care, was given in bride to the fellow-citizen Bindo Bellanti, man «virtutibus ornatissimus», from which, however, not ebbe sons.  After the premature death of the husband, TO. dressed the clothing of the Terz' Order of the Humiliated and it is given, even more of first, to make life penitente in the solitude of an its small property, where operò miracles and ebbe ecstasy and sights.  It passed the last years in the hospital of S. Andrea, that later on had said of S. Onofrio, dedicating itself all to the service of the poor, of the ill and of the pilgrims.  Alda 26 April 1309 died and was buried in the church of S. Tommaso in Siena, belonging to the Humiliated.  His bone in 1489 had been easts from land and mail in a wall to side of an altar, from where in 1583 had been transferred.  Its religion, beyond that to Siena and in other town, much ebbe spread in the order of the Humiliated.
1356 Blessed Michelina Metelli Franciscan tertiary OFM Tert. Widow (AC)  
BD MICHELINA OF PESARO, WIDOW (A.D. 1356)
THE town of Pesaro on the east coast of Italy has a special devotion to this holy widow, who was one of its own citizens. Born of wealthy and distinguished parents, Michelina Metelli married at the age of twelve a member of the Malatesta family of Rimini. The union was a happy one, but when the death of her husband left her a widow at twenty, with one little son, she seems to have been by no means disconsolate. She had always been fond of pleasure, and she continued for some time to lead the same life as before, giving little or no thought to religion. There was staying in Pesaro at that period a Franciscan tertiary of unknown origin and antecedents who went by the name of Syriaca. She lived on alms, spent most of her time in prayer, and depended for shelter at night on the casual hospitality of the charitable. Michelina, who was one of those who opened their doors to the stranger, gradually came under her influence.
An intimacy sprang up between them which ended in Michelina's complete conversion. Only her boy now bound her to the world, and when he fell a victim to some childish complaint she determined to renounce all things. By Syriaca's advice she took the Franciscan tertiary habit, distributed her possessions to the poor, and begged her bread from door to door. It was by no means a simple thing for one who had always lived in ease and comfort to accustom herself to rejected scraps. Once, in the early days of her new life, she acknowledged to a former associate that she longed for a taste of freshly roasted pork. Eager to give her that small gratification her friend promptly invited her to dinner. But when the joint was dished up and the savoury smell assailed her nostrils, Michelina suddenly recollected herself. Refusing to sit down to table, she withdrew from the company and beat herself with an iron chain until the blood flowed. As each blow fell she apostrophized herself bitterly, exclaiming: "Do you still want pork, Michelina? Do you want still more?"
Many other trials she had to bear from within and without. Her relations took strong objection to her conduct and at one time went the length of shutting her up as a lunatic. Her patience and gentleness, however, disarmed them: they concluded that though deluded she was quite harmless and they liberated her. The rest of her life was spent in self-abnegation and good works. She nursed lepers and others afflicted with loathsome diseases, performing for them the most menial offices; and she is said to have cured several of them by kissing their sores. Towards the close of her life Michelina made a pilgrimage to Rome. There on one occasion she was allowed a mystical participation in the sufferings of our Lord. She died on Trinity Sunday, 1356, at an age which is given as fifty-six. From the moment of her death she was venerated by her fellow citizens who kept a lamp burning day and night before her tomb in the Franciscan church. In 1580 the house she had once occupied at Pesaro was converted into a church, and in 1737 her cultus was approved.
There is a short account in the Acta Sanctorum, June, vol. iv, and in Wadding, Annales Ordinis Minorum, vol. viii, pp. 140-143; several lives were also printed in the eighteenth century by Bonucci, Matthaei, Ermanno, Bagnocavallo and others. See also Léon, Auréole Séraphique (Eng. trans.), vol. ii, pp. 422-426.
(also known as Michelina of Pesaro) Born at Pesaro, Urbino, Italy, in 1300; cultus confirmed in 1737.
Michelina was born into the family of the counts of Pardi. When she was 12, she married Duke Malatesta, who left her a widow at the age of 20. Upon the death of her only child, she determined to change her life, but her parents, thinking that she was mad, locked her up. At last they gave her liberty. She then renounced her inheritance, became a Franciscan tertiary, and lived as one until her death (Benedictines). In art, Michelina is a young Franciscan tertiary kneeling in ecstasy in the midst of a storm with a pilgrim's hat and staff by her (Roeder).
1391 Bd Castora Gabrielli, Widow
A member of one of the principal families of Gubbio in Umbria, Castora is described as having been very beautiful in her youth, and of a retiring disposition. She married a man of her own rank, a doctor of laws, whose home was at Sant’ Angelo in Vado. He proved to be a man of violent temper, from whom she had much to suffer, but she bore her trials with invincible patience. All the time she could spare from her domestic duties were spent in prayer, often in the local church of St Francis, for whom she had a great veneration. Thanks to her training and example, her only child, a son named Odo, grew up to be an upright and religious man. After her husband’s death, Bd Castora received the mantle of a Franciscan tertiary, and sold her possessions, the proceeds of which she gave to the poor. The remainder of her life she passed in prayer and austerities.

There is a short account of this servant of God in the Acta Sanctorum, June, vol. iii. It is taken for the most part from Jacobilli’s Sancti Umbriae. See also Stadler’s Heiligen Lexikon. There seems, however, to be no evidence that the cultus of Castora Gabrielli has received any sort of papal sanction; her feast is not kept among the Franciscans.


1394 St. Dorothy of Montau, WIDOW visions and spiritual gifts patroness of Prussia.
 
BD DOROTHY OF MONTAU, WIDOW (AD. 1394)
SHE takes her name from Montau (Marienburg) in Prussia, where she was born in 1347. At the age of seventeen Dorothy married one Albert, a swordsmith of Danzig, by whom she had nine children, of whom only the youngest survived. Albert was an ill-tempered and overbearing man, and during their twenty-five years of married life his wife suffered much on this account but her own kindli­ness and courage modified his disposition considerably, and in 1384 she induced him to take her on a pilgrimage to Aachen. Thenceforward they often went on pilgrimage together, to Einsiedeln, Cologne and elsewhere, and they were planning to go to Rome when Albert fell ill. Dorothy therefore went alone, and at her return her husband had just died.

   Thus left a widow at the age of forty-three, she went to live at Marienwerder, and in 1393 became a recluse in a cell by the church of the Teutonic Knights. She was there only a year before her death, on May 25, 1394, but long enough to gain a great repute for holiness and supernatural enlighten­ment. Numerous visitors sought her cell, to ask advice or in hope of obtaining a miraculous cure of their ills.

   Her confessor, from whom we learn that Dorothy had a very intense devotion to the Blessed Sacrament, and was often supernaturally enabled to look upon it, which she greatly desired to do, wrote her life, in Latin and German, with an account of her visions and revelations. In the middle ages great importance was attached to seeing the Body of the Lord, especially at the elevation at Mass, and the “life” of Bd Dorothy shows that in her time it was exposed all day for this purpose in some churches of Prussia and Pomerania. She was greatly revered by the people and soon after her death the cause of canonization was begun, but as soon dropped. Nevertheless the cultus spread, and Dorothy was popularly regarded as the patroness of Prussia.

Regarding this interesting mystic a good deal of information is available. In the Acta Sanctorum, October, vol. xiii, more than a hundred folio pages are devoted to her, and this was supplemented by the publication in the Analecta Bollandiana of the work called the Septililium, compiled from the revelations and utterances of Bd Dorothy by her confessor John of Marienwerder. This was printed by installments in vols. ii, iii and iv of the Analecta (1883—85). More than one biographical sketch seems to have survived, for the most part written shortly after her death, and compiled with a view to the process of her canonization. See also F. Hipler, Johannes Marienwerder und die Klauserin Dorothea (1865); Ringholtz, Geschichte von Einsiedeln (1906), pp. 268 seq., and 689 seq. and a sketch by H. Westpfahl, Dorothea von Montau (1949). For bibliography of recent work, see Westpfahl in Geist und Leben, vol. xxvi (1953), pp. 231—236.
Widow and hermitess. She was born a peasant on February 6, 1347, in Montau, Prussia. After marrying a wealthy swordsmith, Albrecht of Danzig, Poland, she bore him nine children and changed his gruff character. He even accompanied her on pilgrimages. However, when she went to Rome in 1390, Albrecht remained at home and died during her absence. A year later Dorothy moved to Marienswerder, where she became a hermitess. She had visions and spiritual gifts. Dorothy died on June 25 and is the patroness of Prussia. She was never formally canonized.

Dorothy of Montau, Widow (PC) Born at Montau near Marienburg, Prussia, Germany, on February 6, 1347; died June 25, 1394. Though she was never canonized, Saint Dorothy is widely venerated in central Europe, particularly among the Prussians, who have selected her as their patron saint. Like Saint Catherine of Siena and Saint Bridget of Sweden, who were her contemporaries, she was favored by divine grace with many visions, revelations, and ecstasies, especially during the last years of her life.
As a 17-year-old peasant girl, she married a wealthy swordsmith from Danzig named Albert (Albrecht) by whom she had nine children. Of these only the youngest survived, a daughter who later became a Benedictine nun. Albert appears to have been surly and bad- tempered, and it seems likely that their married life, at least in its early years, was far from ideal. However, Dorothy's gentleness, fortitude, and kindness gradually softened him, and in 1384, he agreed to accompany her on a pilgrimage to Aachen.
After other pilgrimages to Einsiedeln and Cologne, they planned to make one to Rome for the jubilee that was to be held in 1390; but while they were making their preparations, Albert fell ill and so Dorothy went alone, travelling on foot and begging her food. By the time she returned from Rome, where she had been delayed by a sickness, her husband had died.
Now that she had become a widow, Dorothy was able to fulfill a dream she had long cherished of retiring from the world. In 1391, she went to Marienwerder where, after spending two years on probation, she became a recluse in the church of the Teutonic Knights.
On May 2, 1393, she had herself walled up in a cell that measured 6' x 6' and was about 9' tall. Of the three windows one opened to the sky, the second to a cemetery (and through which she also received food) and the third on to the altar of the church where, as was often the custom in those regions, the Blessed Sacrament was exposed all day.
Like many others, Dorothy had an intense devotion to the Blessed Sacrament and was often favored with mystic visions of it. Her reputation for holiness grew rapidly and many people came to her seeking counsel or miraculous cures.
However, the rigors of her mode of life, added to the severe austerities she practiced, soon broke her health and she died in May 1394, after living only a little more than a year in her cell. Many miracles were attributed to her, and an account of her visions and ecstasies has been left by her confessor (Benedictines, Delaney, Encyclopedia).

Dorothy's emblem is a lantern and a rosary. Sometimes she is surrounded by arrows in paintings of her. Venerated at Montau and Marienwerder, Prussia (Roeder).
1414 BD JOAN MARY DE MAILLE, WIDOW; No gambling or bad language was permitted in their château, which became the asylum of the poor of the neighbourhood; and they adopted and educated three orphans; Many were the conversions and miracles of healing worked by her, but perhaps what finally won her the fame and recognition which she was far from desiring was her gift of prophecy; she had remarkable revelations about the future, some of which she felt constrained to impart to the king.
ON April 14, 1332, at Roche-Saint-Quentin in Touraine, there was born to Baron Hardouin VI of Maillé or Maillac, and his wife Joan de Montbazon, a girl, who received at her baptism the name of Joan and at her confirmation that of Mary. She showed great piety from infancy, and once, when playing with other children of her age, she is said to have saved by her prayers the life of a little neighbour, Robert de Sillé, who had fallen into a pond. The boy himself became deeply attached to her, and when they grew up a marriage was arranged between them by Mary’s grandfather, her father being dead. The girl had proposed to consecrate herself to God, and her intention had been intensified after her recovery from a serious illness, but she was obliged to obey the old man, who, however, died on the wedding day. The young couple agreed to live together as brother and sister, and this they did for sixteen years. No gambling or bad language was permitted in their château, which became the asylum of the poor of the neighbourhood; and they adopted and educated three orphans.
Their holy and happy existence was disturbed by war: the Baron de Sillé followed the king to defend his country against the English, and in the disastrous battle of Poitiers he was wounded and left for dead. The capture of King John put Touraine at the mercy of the enemy troops, who overran the land and pillaged the chateau of Sills. Robert himself having been made prisoner, the large sum of 3000 forms was demanded for his ransom, and his wife sold her jewels and horses and borrowed what more was required to make up the sum. This entailed delay, and to hasten payment Robert’s gaolers are said to have kept him practically without food for nine days.
His eventual liberation he ascribed to the interposition of our Lady, who appeared to him in a vision to break his chains and enable him to escape. To their former charities they now added donations for the ransom of prisoners, and lived if possible a more holy and self-denying life than ever until Robert’s death in 1362.
     The grief of the widow at the loss of her husband was intensified by the unkindness of his family, who reproached her bitterly for the impoverishment of the estate through the alms which she had encouraged Robert to give. They went so far as to deprive her of her marriage portion and to drive her from her home. She took refuge at first with an old servant, who, however, finding that she had arrived empty-handed, received her grudgingly and treated her with contempt. Afterwards she returned to her mother at Luynes and learnt to make up medicines and salves. Joan was still young, and her peace of mind was soon disturbed by suitors, who were encouraged by her mother and brother. To escape from them, she withdrew to a little house in Tours, adjacent to the church of St Martin, and devoted herself to prayer, to attendance at the canonical offices and to the care of the sick and poor.
Once while Joan Mary was praying in church a madwoman threw a stone which injured her back so severely the surgeon whom Anne of Brittany sent to her relief declared that he could do nothing. But God Himself cured her miraculously, and although she carried the mark of the blow until her death, she was able to resume her former way of life. Her austerities were extreme, and she became a Franciscan tertiary, whose habit she always wore. After one of the several grave illnesses which she had to bear, she determined to strip herself of all earthly possessions, including the Château des Roches, which had been restored to her by her husband’s family. She gave everything to the Carthusians of Liget, and made a declaration of renunciation of any property which might accrue to her in the future. By so doing she alienated her own relations, and when she returned to Tours, completely destitute, no one would house her: she had to beg her bread from door to door and sometimes she slept in disused pigstyes and dog-kennels. At one time she was admitted among the servants of the hospital of St Martin, but her very holiness aroused jealousy, and she was calumniated and expelled.
    At last she found peace in the solitude of Planche-de-Vaux, near Cléry there she lived for a long time, almost hidden from the world. Nevertheless she was able to bring about the restoration of a ruined chapel which was called after her the chapel of the Good Anchoress and became a favourite place of pilgrimage. Later she returned to Tours, and at the age of fifty-seven took up her abode in a tiny room near the Minorite church. Some people still regarded her as a madwoman or a witch, but there were others who recognized that they had a saint living amongst them. Many were the conversions and miracles of healing worked by her, but perhaps what finally won her the fame and recognition which she was far from desiring was her gift of prophecy; she had remarkable revelations about the future, some of which she felt constrained to impart to the king. In memory perhaps of the sufferings of her husband, Joan Mary had a great compassion for prisoners, whether they were criminals or war captives. She visited them in prison, assisted and instructed them, and once obtained from the king liberation of all the prisoners in Tours. On March 28, 1414, Bd Joan Mary de Maillé died.
Her cultus was approved in 1871, and the Friars Minor keep her feast today.
See the Acta Sanctorum, March, vol. iii; and Leon, Auréole Séraphique (Eng. trans.), vol. ii, 106—130. There are also lives in French, the most recent by A. de Crisenoy (1948).
1440 St. Frances of Rome  widow, renowned for her noble family, holy life, and the gift of miracles.
Romæ sanctæ Francíscæ Víduæ, nobilitáte géneris, vitæ sanctitáte et miraculórum dono célebris.
             At Rome, St. Frances, widow, renowned for her noble family, holy life, and the gift of miracles.

Frances was born in the city of Rome in 1384 to a wealthy, noble family. From her mother she inherited a quiet manner and a pious devotion to God. From her father, however, she inherited a strong will. She decided at eleven that she knew what God wanted for her -- she was going to be a nun. And that's where her will ran right up against her father's. He told Frances she was far too young to know her mind -- but not too young to be married. He had already promised her in marriage to the son of another wealthy family. In Rome at that time a father's word was law; a father could even sell his children into slavery or order them killed.
1440 ST FRANCES OF ROME, WIDOW
THE gentle saint who was known first to her fellow-citizens and then to the Church at large as Santa Francesca Romana, St Frances the Roman, possessed to an extraordinary degree the power of attracting the love and admiration of those who came in contact with her. Nor has her charm ended with her death, for she is still honoured by countless souls who seek her intercession and pray before her tomb in Santa Maria Nuova. On her feast day and within its octave, crowds flock to visit Tor de’ Specchi and the Casa degli Esercizi Pu (the successor of the old Palazzo Ponziano), the rooms of which are annually thrown open to the public and every memorial and relic of the saint exhibited.
She was born in the Trastevere district of Rome in 1384, at the beginning of the Great Schism of the West, which was to cause het much grief as well as adversely to affect the fortunes of her family. She did not live to see harmony completely restored. Her parents, Paul Busso and Jacobella dei Roffredeschi, were of noble birth and ample means, and the child was brought up in the midst of luxury but in a pious household. Frances was a precocious little girl, and when she was eleven she asked her parents to allow her to become a nun, only to be met by a point-blank refusal. Her parents, who were excellent people and much attached to her, had quite different plans for their attractive little daughter. Within a year they announced to her that they had arranged to betroth her to young Lorenzo Ponziano, whose position, character and wealth made him a suitable match. After a time Frances withdrew her objections, and the marriage was solemnized when she was barely thirteen. At first she found the new life very trying, although she did her best to please her husband as well as her parents-in-law, and Vannozza, the young wife of Lorenzo’s brother Paluzzo, discovered her one day weeping bitterly. Frances told her of her frustrated hopes, and learnt to her surprise that this new sister of hers would also have preferred a life of retirement and prayer. This was the beginning of a close friendship which lasted till death, and the two young wives strove together henceforth to live a perfect life under a common rule. Plainly dressed they sallied out to visit the poor of Rome, ministering to their wants and relieving their distress, and their husbands, who were devoted to them, raised no objection to their charities and austerities. This life was for a time interrupted by a severe and somewhat mysterious illness to which Frances fell a victim, and whichh er relatives sought to remedy by the aid of magic. We are told that after a year St Alexis appeared to her in a vision. He inquired if she was prepared to die or if she wished to recover. She replied that she had no will but the will of God. The saint then informed her that it was God’s will that she should recover and work for His greater glory, and, after throwing his cloak over her, he disappeared. Her infirmity had disappeared also.

After this the lives of the sisterly pair became even stricter than before, and daily they went to the hospital of Santo Spirito in Sassia to nurse the patients, singling out more particularly those suffering from the most repellent diseases. Their mother-in-law, Donna Cecilia, not unnaturally, was afraid lest they might injure their health, and thought that their avoidance of banquets and entertainments might be misconstrued in society and bring discredit on the family, but her Sons, to whom she appealed, refused to interfere in any way. In 1400 a son was born to Frances, and for a time she modified her way of life to devote herself to the care of little John Baptist (Battista). The following year Donna Cecilia died, and Frances was bidden by her father-in-law take her place at the head of the household. In vain she pleaded that Vannozza was the wife of the elder brother: Don Andrew and Vannozza insisted that she was the more suitable, and she was obliged to consent. She proved herself worthy of this position, discharging her duties efficiently whilst treating her household not as servants but as younger brothers and sisters, and trying to induce them to labour for their own salvation, in all the forty years that she lived with her husband there was never the slightest dispute or misunderstand­ing between them. When she was at her prayers, if summoned by Lorenzo or asked to give orders about the house, she laid all aside to respond to the call of that duty. “It is most laudable in a married woman to be devout”, she was wonton say, “but she must never forget that she is a housewife. And sometimes she must leave God at the altar to find Him in her housekeeping.” Her biographers relate that once when she was reading our Lady’s office a page was sent to fetch her. “Madonna, my master begs you to come to him”, said the lad. She immediately closed the book and went. Three more times this interruption happened; but when at last she opened the book for the fifth time she found the words of the antiphon were written in letters of gold. In addition to the eldest, two other children of Frances are known, a younger boy, Evangelist, and a girl, Agnes; and she allowed no one but herself to look after them during childhood.

Although, like so many other interior souls, Frances was sorely tried all her life by violent, temptations, which in her case sometimes took the form of hideous or enticing visions, and sometimes resembled bodily assaults, still for several years outward prosperity seemed to smile upon her and her family. The first indication of the clouds that were gathering came in the form of a famine and pestilence, mainly the result of the civil wars which were then convulsing Italy. Plague-stricken people were dying in the streets, and disease and starvation decimated Rome. Frances was unremitting in her efforts to relieve the sufferers and, with the help of Vannozza, tried to succour all she came across. Even the plentiful stock of provisions at the Palazzo Ponziano was exhausted at last and the two women went from door to door begging for food for the poor in spite of rebuffs and insults. It was then that she received her father-in-law’s consent to sell her jewels, and she never from that time forth wore any but the plainest dresses.

In 1408 the troops of Ladislaus of Naples, the ally of the antipope, had entered Rome and a soldier of fortune, Count Troja, had been appointed governor. The Ponziani had always supported the legitimate pope, and in one of the frequent conflicts Lorenzo was stabbed and carried home to Frances, to whose devoted nursing he owed his restoration to health. Troja resolved to leave the city after having wreaked his vengeance on the principal papal supporters. Amongst these were the Ponziani, and he not only arrested Vannozza’s husband Paluzzo, but also demanded as a hostage little. Battista but whilst his mother Frances was praying in the church of Ara Coeli the boy was released in circumstances that seemed to be miraculous. Then, in 1410 when the cardinals were assembled at Bologna for the election of a new pope, Ladislaus again seized Rome. Lorenzo Ponziano, who as one of the heads of the papal party went in danger of his life, managed to escape, but it was impossible for his wife and family to follow him. His palace was plun­dered and Battista was taken captive by the soldiers of Ladislaus, though he after­wards got away and was able to join his father. The family possessions in the Campagna were destroyed, farms being burnt or pillaged and flocks slaughtered whilst many of the peasants were murdered. Frances lived in a corner of her ruined home with Evangelist, Agnes and Vannozza, whose husband was still, a prisoner, and the two women devoted themselves to the care of the children and to relieving as far as their means would allow the sufferings of their still poorer neighbours. During another pestilence three years later, Evangelist died. Frances then turned part of the house into a hospital, and God rewarded her labours and prayers by bestowing on her the gift of healing.

Twelve months after the death of Evangelist, as his mother was praying one day, a bright light suddenly shone into the room and Evangelist appeared accom­panied by an archangel. After telling her of his happiness in Heaven he said that he had come to warn her of the impending death of Agnes. A consolation was, however, to be vouchsafed to the bereaved mother. The archangel who accompanied Evangelist was henceforth to be her guide for twenty-three years. He was to be succeeded in the last epoch of her life by an angel of still higher dignity. Very soon Agnes began to fail, and a year later she passed away at the age of sixteen. From that moment, as Evangelist had promised, the angel was always visible to St Frances, though unseen by others. Only when she committed a fault did he fade away for a time, to return as soon as she felt compunction and made confession. The form he took was that of a child of about eight years old. But, weakened by what she had gone through, Frances herself fell a victim to the plague. So ill was she that every hope of recovery was abandoned, but the disease suddenly left her, and she began to regain her health. It was at this time that she had a vision of Hell so terrible that she could never allude to it without tears.

After many delays Pope John XXIII summoned the Council of Constance which was to prepare the healing of the Great Schism, and in that same year 1414 the Ponziani regained their property after being recalled from banishment. Lorenzo was now a broken man and lived in retirement, being tended with the utmost devotion by his faithful wife. It was his great wish to see his son Battista married and settled before his death, and he chose for him a beautiful girl called Mobilia, who proved to have a violent and overbearing temper. She conceived a great contempt for Frances, of whom she complained to her husband and his father, and whom she ridiculed in public. In the midst of a bitter speech she was struck down by a sudden illness, through which she was nursed by the saint. Won by her kindness Mobilia found her contempt turned to love, and thenceforward she sought to imitate her saintly mother-in-law. By this time the fame of the virtues and miracles of St Frances had spread over Rome, and she was appealed to from all quarters, not only to cure the sick but also to settle disputes and heal feuds. Lorenzo, whose love and reverence for her only increased with age, offered to release her from all the obligations of married life provided only that she would continue to live under his roof.

She was now able to carry out a project which had been taking shape in her mind of forming a society of women living in the world and bound by no vows, but pledged to make a simple offering of themselves to God and to serve the poor. The plan was approved by her confessor Dom Antonio, who obtained the affiliation of the congregation to the Benedictines of Monte Oliveto, to which he himself belonged. Known at first as the Oblates of Mary, they were afterwards called the Oblates of Tor de’ Specchi. The society had lasted seven years when it was thought desirable to take a house adapted for a community, and the old building known as Tor de’ Specchi was acquired. Whatever time she could spare from her home duties St Frances spent with the oblates, sharing in their daily life and duties. She never allowed them to refer to her as the foundress, but insisted that all should be subject to Agnes de Lellis who was chosen superioress. Three years later Lorenzo died and was laid beside Evangelist and Agnes; and St Frances announced her intention of retiring to Tor de’ Specchi. On the feast of St Benedict she entered her founda­tion as a humble suppliant and was eagerly welcomed. Agnes de Lellis immediately insisted upon resigning office and Frances had to take her place in spite of her protestations.

Her life was now lived closer than ever to God. Her austerities indeed she could not well increase, for she had long subsisted on dry bread with occasionally some vegetables; she had scourged herself and made use of horsehair girdles and chains with sharp points. But now visions and ecstasies became more frequent, and she sometimes spent whole nights in prayer. One evening in the spring of 1440, though feeling very ill she tried to get back home after visiting Battista and Mobilia. On the way she met her director, Dom John Matteotti, who, shocked at her appearance, ordered her to return at once to her son’s house. It was soon evident that she was dying, but she lingered on for seven days. On the evening of March 9 her face was seen to shine with a strange light: “The angel has finished his task: he beckons me to follow him”, were her last words. As soon as it was known that she was dead, the Ponziani Palace was thronged by mourners and by those who brought their sick to be healed. Her body was removed to Santa Maria Nuova, where the crowds became even greater as the report of miracles wrought there was spread abroad. She was buried in the chapel of the church reserved for her oblates. Her congregation still survives at Tor de’ Specchi, where the oblates carry on educational work; their dress remains that of the Roman noble ladies of the period. St Frances was canonized in it 1608, and Santa Maria Nuova is now known as the church of Santa Francesca Romana.

By far the most important source for the Life of St Frances of Rome is the collection of visions, miracles and biographical details compiled first of all in Italian by John Matteotti and afterwards, with omissions and additions, translated by him into Latin. Matteotti had been the saint’s confessor during the last ten years of her life, but there is no evidence that he had been acquainted with her at an earlier date. The seventeenth-century biography which has been printed under the name of Mary Magdalen Anguillaria, superioress of Tor de’ Specchi, adds little to the materials provided by Matteotti, though it may have incor­porated some new facts from the processes which preceded the canonization. All these sources in a Latin version will be found in the Acta Sanctorum, March, vol. ii. There is a short but very sympathetic life of St Frances in English by Lady Georgians Fullerton published in 1853; and lives in French by Rabory (1884), Rambuteau (1900) and Mrs Berthem-Bontoux (1931), the last a solid but rather prolix work. The Italian text of Matte­otti has been edited by Armellini, but cf M. Pelaez in the Archivio Soc. Pomona di Storia patria, vols. xiv and xv (1891—1892).

Frances probably felt that's what he was doing by forcing her to marry. But just as he wouldn't listen to her, Frances wouldn't listen to him. She stubbornly prayed to God to prevent the marriage until her confessor pointed out, "Are you crying because you want to do God's will or because you want God to do your will?"
She gave in to the marriage -- reluctantly. It was difficult for people to understand her objection. Her future husband Lorenzo Ponziani was noble, wealthy, a good person and he really cared for her. An ideal match -- except for someone who was determined to be a bride of Christ.  Then her nightmare began. This quiet, shy thirteen year old was thrust into the whirl of parties and banquets that accompanied a wedding. Her mother-in-law Cecilia loved to entertain and expected her new daughter-in-law to enjoy the revelry of her social life too. Fasting and scourging were far easier than this torture God now asked her to face.
Frances collapsed from the strain. For months she lay close to death, unable to eat or move or speak.

At her worst, she had a vision of St. Alexis. The son of a noble family, Alexis had run away to beg rather than marry. After years of begging he was so unrecognizable that when he returned home his own father thought he was just another beggar and made him sleep under the stairs. In her own way, Frances must have felt unrecognized by her family -- they couldn't see how she wanted to give up everything for Jesus. St. Alexis told her God was giving her an important choice: Did she want to recover or not?

It's hard for us to understand why a thirteen-year-old would want to die but Frances was miserable. Finally, she whispered, "God's will is mine." The hardest words she could have said -- but the right words to set her on the road to sanctity.
St. Alexis replied, "Then you will live to glorify His Name."
Her recovery was immediate and complete. Lorenzo became even more devoted to her after this -- he was even a little in awe of her because of what she'd been through.
But her problems did not disappear. Her mother-in-law still expected her to entertain and go on visits with her. Look at Frances' sister-in-law Vannozza --happily going through the rounds of parties, dressing up, playing cards. Why couldn't Frances be more like Vannozza?
In a house where she lived with her husband, his parents, his brother and his brother's family, she felt all alone. And that's why Vannozza found her crying bitterly in the garden one day. When Frances poured out her heart to Vannozza and it turned out that this sister-in-law had wanted to live a life devoted to the Lord too. What Frances had written off as frivolity was just Vannozza's natural easy-going and joyful manner. They became close friends and worked out a program of devout practices and services to work together.
They decided their obligations to their family came first. For Frances that meant dressing up to her rank, making visits and receiving visits -- and most importantly doing it gladly.
The two spiritual friends went to mass together, visited prisons, served in hospitals and set up a secret chapel in an abandoned tower of their palace where they prayed together.

It wasn't fashionable for noblewomen to help the poor and people gossiped about two girls out alone on the streets. Cecilia suffered under the laughter of her friends and yelled at her daughters-in-law to stop theirs spiritual practices. When that didn't work Cecilia then appealed to her sons, but Lorenzo refused to interfere with Frances' charity.

The beginning of the fifteenth century brought the birth of her first son, Battista, after John the Baptist. We might expect that the grief of losing her mother-in-law soon after might have been mixed with relief -- no more pressure to live in society. But a household as large as the Ponziani's needed someone to run it. Everyone thought that sixteen-year-old Frances was best qualified to take her mother-in-law's place. She was thrust even more deeply into society and worldly duties. Her family was right, though -- she was an excellent administrator and a fair and pleasant employer.

After two more children were born to her -- a boy, Giovanni Evangelista, and a girl, Agnes -- a flood brought disease and famine to Rome. Frances gave orders that no one asking for alms would be turned away and she and Vannozza went out to the poor with corn, wine, oil and clothing. Her father-in-law, furious that she was giving away their supplies during a famine, took the keys of the granary and wine cellar away from her.  Then just to make sure she wouldn't have a chance to give away more, he sold off their extra corn, leaving just enough for the family, and all but a cask of one. The two noblewomen went out to the streets to beg instead.
Finally Frances was so desperate for food to give to the poor she went to the now empty corn loft and sifted through the straw searching for a few leftover kernels of corn. After she left Lorenzo came in and was stunned to find the previously empty granary filled with yellow corn. Frances drew wine out of their one cask until one day her father in law went down and found it empty. Everyone screamed at Frances. After saying a prayer, she led them to cellar, turned the spigot on the empty cask, and out flowed the most wonderful wine. These incidents completely converted Lorenzo and her father-in-law.
Having her husband and father-in-law completely on her side meant she could do what she always wanted. She immediately sold her jewels and clothes and distributed money to needy. She started wearing a dress of coarse green cloth.
Civil war came to Rome -- this was a time of popes and antipopes and Rome became a battleground. At one point there were three men claiming to be pope. One of them sent a cruel governor, Count Troja, to conquer Rome. Lorenzo was seriously wounded and his brother was arrested. Troja sent word that Lorenzo's brother would be executed unless he had Battista, Frances's son and heir of the family, as a hostage. As long as Troja had Battista he knew the Ponzianis would stop fighting.  When Frances heard this she grabbed Battista by the hand and fled. On the street, she ran into her spiritual adviser Don Andrew who told her she was choosing the wrong way and ordered her to trust God. Slowly she turned around and made her way to Capitol Hill where Count Troja was waiting. As she and Battista walked the streets, crowds of people tried to block her way or grab Battista from her to save him. After giving him up, Frances ran to a church to weep and pray.

As soon as she left, Troja had put Battista on a soldier's horse -- but every horse they tried refused to move. Finally the governor gave in to God's wishes. Frances was still kneeling before the altar when she felt Battista's little arms around her.
Troubles were not over. Frances was left alone against the attackers when she sent Lorenzo out of Rome to avoid capture. Drunken invaders broke into her house, tortured and killed the servants, demolished the palace, literally tore it apart and smashed everything. And this time God did not intervene -- Battista was taken to Naples. Yet this kidnapping probably saved Battista's life because soon a plague hit -- a plague that took the lives of many including Frances' nine-year-old son Evangelista.  At this point, her house in ruins, her husband gone, one son dead, one son a hostage, she could have given up.
She looked around, cleared out the wreckage of the house and turned it into a makeshift hospital and a shelter for the homeless.

One year after his death Evangelista came to her in a vision and told her that Agnes was going to die too. In return God was granting her a special grace by sending an archangel to be her guardian angel for the rest of her life. She would always been able to see him. A constant companion and spiritual adviser, he once commanded her to stop her severe penances (eating only bread and water and wearing a hair shirt). "You should understand by now," the angel told her, "that the God who made your body and gave it to your soul as a servant never intended that the spirit should ruin the flesh and return it to him despoiled."

Finally the wars were over and Battista and her husband returned home. But though her son came back a charming young man her husband returned broken in mind and body. Probably the hardest work of healing Frances had to do in her life was to restore Lorenzo back to his old self.
When Battista married a pretty young woman named Mabilia Frances expected