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May 15

St Bertha of Bingen - May 15

Saint Bertha of Bingen
Widow, Layperson
(Unknown – 757)

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Saint Bertha of Bingen

Her Early Years

Bertha’s birth date and location is unknown. She is also known as Barta. As a descendant of the dukes of Lorraine, she had considerable property along the Rhine and Nahe Rivers.

Married, Mother and Widow

She married Robolaus, a pagan. In 712, they had a son named Rupert. When Rupert was three years old, Robolaus died. Bertha devoted her energy to educating Rupert. When Rupert was 15, Bertha went on a pilgrimage with him to Rome, Italy. After his return from this pilgrimage, Rupert used his inherited wealth to found churches. Bertha established several hospices for the poor and needy. Then, Bertha gave away her possessions and wealth to the needy.

Bertha lived with Rupert, who became a hermit, and the priest Wigbert near Bingen, Germany. The hill on which they lived became known as “Rupertsberg”, in his memory, and was a popular site of pilgrimage during the Middle Ages. She adopted Rupert’s eremitical life style. She led a secluded life with much vigilance and fasting.

Her Death

Rupert died from a fever, aged 20. Bertha outlived him by 25 years spent in prayer, fasting, and good works as hermitess. She died in 757 near Bingen, Germany. Bertha was buried in the church founded by her son.

Saint Hildegard of Bingen recovered Barta’s relics, which are now in the former monastery church founded by Hildegard and today’s parish church of Saint Hildegard and Saint John in Eibingen. Saint Hildegard of Bingen fostered the cult of Bertha and Rupert, who were both canonized.

Born :                   Unknown date and location

Died:                    757 in Bingen, Germany

Beatified:            Pre-Congregation

Canonized:         Pre-Congregation

Feast Day:          May 15

Patron Saint:     None

Source:

Reflection 

Saint Bertha of Bingen was born into wealth. However, after a pilgrimage to Rome, Italy, she used her money to establish several hospices for the poor and needy. Then, she went on to lead a life filled with prayer, fasting and good works.

While we may not all be born into wealth like Saint Bertha of Bingen, can you fast today and donate that meal to your local food pantry to help the poor and needy?

Prayers

Saint Bertha of Bingen,

As a widow with young three year-old son, you devoted your energy to raising your son, Saint Rupert of Bingen, in the Christian faith.

May we, like you, devote our energies to our Christian faith leading a life filled with prayer, fasting and good works.

Saint Bertha of Bingen, pray for us. Amen.

Saint Links 

Catholic Online – St. Bertha

The American Catholic – Saint Bertha of Bingen

Video Link

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