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March 14

St Matilda - March 14

Saint Matilda

Queen of Germany

(Around 892 – 968)

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Saint Matilda

Saint’s Life Story

Her Early Life 

Matilda, also called Mathilde, was born in Engern, Westphalia, Germany around 892 to Count Detrich and his wife, Reinhild. From an early age, Mathilda demonstrated great piety and love for the Lord and was raised by her pious grandmother, Maud, the abbess of Enford, in the cloister. There, as she grew up, Matilda practiced daily prayer and penance and learned a love of labor and spiritual reading.   Mathilda would have been more than content to spend her life dedicated to religious pursuits.  

Queen of Germany

However, her father arranged her marriage to Henry, the son of the Duke of Saxony in 909.   Within seven years, Henry found himself the King of Germany, and Mathilda, the queen. King Henry demonstrated through his actions that he was a God-fearing and pious spouse. He financed Mathilda’s longing to live a life of charitable service to others.   

Mother

Matilda became the mother of five children – 3 sons and two daughters: Otto I, Emperor of Germany; Henry, Duke of Bavaria; Saint Bruno, Archbishop of Cologne; Gerberga, who married Louis IV of France; Hedwig, the mother of Hugh Capet. As queen, Matilda was humble, holy, charitable, and very generous — always ready to help the poor and the down-trodden. She was pious, religious, and humble that it was recorded that her husband always resorted to her for advice.

Devoted

While Henry ruled his kingdom, Mathilda devoted herself to penance and spent her days visiting the poor and sick, offering them consolation and comfort.   She also founded schools to provide education to all, visited incarcerated prisoners and worked for the conversion of souls.   Overall, her life was relatively a simple one, despite her royalty, with her primary focus on daily prayer.

His Husband’s Death

In 936, her husband, Henry, passed away and was interred in Quedlinburg, where Matilda would later build a monastery.

Following her husband’s death, trouble began to fester when it was time for her oldest son Otto to assume the role of King. She was convinced that the role was better suited for the younger Henry. When Matilda tried to convince Otto to relinquish the throne to his younger brother, he became enraged. Matilda’s attempt to secure the throne for her favorite son Henry was unsuccessful. Otto was elected and crowned in 936.

Accused by Her Sons

Later, the two brothers joined in persecuting their mother, Matilda. They accused Matilda of having impoverished the crown by her lavish almsgiving. She continued to establish convents with the possessions that her late husband had left for her. Matilda split her riches and distributed them to the poor. Known for her great charity, she built many churches and founded and supported numerous monasteries.These acts further annoyed her sons Otto and Henry who never saw eye-to-eye.

To satisfy her sons, Matilda renounced the possessions her husband, the deceased king, had left her, and retired to her villa at Engern in Westphalia. Later, when she suffered financial difficulties, Matilda was called back to the palace, and both Otto and Henry asked for her forgiveness.

Her Death

In the presence of the whole community, Matilda made a public confession of her sins. She received the last sacraments from the hands of William, Archbishop of Mayence, who was her nephew. At the age of 74, Matilda died of natural causes on the 14th of March in 968 after battling sickness for a while.  She was buried in the monastery at Quedlinburg, Germany next to her husband. Matilda was venerated as a saint immediately after her death. Matilda passed on the authority of the convents to her granddaughter in 966. Her name was also Matilda. 

Beatified:            Pre-Congregation

Canonized:         Pre-Congregation

Feast Day:          March 14

Patron Saint:     Disappointing Children; Falsely Accused People; Large Families; People Ridiculed For Their Piety; Queens; Widows

Sources:

Reflection

Just image as a mother being charitable, you are falsely charged for money mismanagement – by your own sons! Well, that is exactly what Saint Matilda experienced from her sons, Otto and Henry. Her generosity knew no bounds as she built many churches, founded and supported numerous monasteries, gave money to the poor, comforted the sick and visited prisoners. So, to satisfy her son, she renounced the possessions her husband, the deceased king had left her, and retired to a convent. 

While you may not be a Queen or King with worldy possessions, you do possess the ability to renounce your possessions and give what you do have to the poor.  Remember when Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything—all she had to live on.” Can you give your “two small coins” today to someone in need?

Prayers

Saint Matilda, you patiently bore the injuries inflicted on you by your own children. Your persecution was long and cruel. May we endure our own family trails and persecutions, lifting up to God in prayer, for our own forgiveness. So like Saint Matilda, we can be reconciled with all our family members.

Saint Matilda, pray for us. Amen.

Saint Links 

Aleteia – Place your family under the patronage of these 10 saints

All Saints & Martyrs – Saint Matilda of Saxony

AnaStpaul – Saint of the Day – 14 March – St Matilda of Saxony

Catholic Fire – St. Matilda: Queen of Germany

Catholic Ireland – Mar 14 – St Matilda (895-968)

Catholic News Agency – St. Matilda Feast Day: Mar 14

Catholic Online – St. Matilda

CatholicSaints.Info – Saint Matilda of Saxony

Independent Catholic News – St Matilda

New Advent – Ott, M. (1911). St. Matilda. In The Catholic Encyclopedia

uCatholic – Saint Matilda

Wikipedia – Matilda of Ringelheim

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