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September 16

St Ludmila of Bohemia - September 16

Saint Ludmila of Bohemia

Duchess, Mother, Grandmother, Wife, Widow

(Around 860 – 921)

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Saint Ludmila of Bohemia

Saint’s Life Story

Her Early Life  

Ludmila or Ludmilla was born in Mělník, Czech Republic around 860. She was the daughter of Slavibor, a Slavic prince who ruled in one of the smaller principalities, either directly in Bohemia, probably at Pšov Castle in the vicinity of today’s town of Mělník, or in nearby Lužice.

Married at Fifteen

At the age of 15, Ludmila was married to Bořivoj I or Boriwoi, Duke of Bohemia, who was the ruler of Central Bohemia. It was probably through the efforts of Sts. Cyril and Methodius, the ‘apostles of the Slavs’ that the couple were converted to Christianity in 874, becoming the first Christian rulers of the dukedom. Together with her husband, Ludmila was baptized. 

Unsuccessful In Converting Others

Their attempts to convert their Bohemian subjects were greeted with such hostility that for a time they were driven out of the land. But, after a while, they were able to return and ruled in peace for several years. With her hudband, Ludmila retired to Tetín, near Beroun, leaving their son Spytihněv to rule in his father’s place.

Widow

Ludmila’s husband was not even 40 years old when he died. This death left Ludmila a widow to rause her six children. Unfortunately, there is only information on two of her sons, Spytihněv and Vratislav. Ludmila managed to sustain the family’s influence until her eldest heir, Spytihněv could take the reigns of power on his own. However, after only two years Spytihněv died, and his brother Vratislav succeeded to the dukedom.

In-Law Problems

Ludmila became the governess of Wenceslas also known as Václav, her grandson, who was to rule in his father’s wake. She had been largely responsible for the upbringing of her grandson,  also known as Saint Wenceslaus. When Vratislav died in 921, Ludmila acted as regent educating the young Saint Wenceslaus. Vratislav’s wife, Drahomíra, had remained a pagan. She grew increasingly resentful of the influence of Ludmila had over their son. 

Death

Drahomíra’s jealousy became so intense that on September 15,  921, she despatched two assassins, Tunna and Gommon to murder Ludmila in her castle at Tetín. Tradition has it that they strangled Ludmila with her own veil in the Castle in Tetín, Czech Republic. For this reason, in art, Ludmila is usually depicted with a veil. Her body was initially buried in the castle church of St. Michael, but at some date before 1100 it was reinterred in the basilica of St George in Prague. 

Born :                  Around 860 in Mělník, Czech Republic

Died:                  September 15,  921 in her castle in Tetín, Czech Republic

Beatified:           Pre-Congregation

Canonized:        Pre-Congregation

Feast Day:         September 16

Patron Saint:    Against In-Law Problems; Bohemia; Czech Republic; Educators; Widows

Source:

Reflection

Saint Ludmila, you were a widow, who not only raised your own six children, but you also took on the upbringing and education of your grandson, Saint Wenceslaus.  This act caused your own death and martydom plotted by your jealous daughter-in-law, Drahomíra. 

How is your relationship with your in-laws? While you may not have a murderess son-in-law or daughter-in-law, prayer can always help in any tense, disagreeable in-law situations.

Prayers

Saint Ludmila of Bohemia, you suffered a martyr’s death from your own daughter-in-law. May you intercede for any married couples who need your prayers to deal patiently and lovingly with any problems they have with their in-laws.

Saint Ludmila of Bohemia, pray for us. Amen.

Saint Links 

British Library – St. Ludmila, Patroness of Bohemia

CatholicSaints.Info – Saint Ludmila

New Advent – Ott, M. (1910). St. Ludmilla. In The Catholic Encyclopedia

Prague.Eu – Saint Ludmila – 1100 years since the death of the first Czech saint

Svata LudmilaThe life of the famous Czech saint
is still inspiring after 1100 years

Wikipedia – Saint Ludmila of Bohemia

Video Link

Saint Ludmila “The first pearl and the first flower of Bohemia” – YouTube (Heralds of the Gospel)