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Saint Matilda

Saint Matilda
  • Century: 9th & 10th Century
  • Patronage: -
  • Feast Day: March 14th

Patronage – Death of Children, Disappointing Children, Falsely Accused People, Large Families, People Ridiculed for Piety, Queens, Second Marriages, Widows

St. Matilda was the Queen of Germany, and the wife of King Henry I.  She was brought up at the Monastery of Erfurt.  King Henry was married to a young widow, and his marriage had been declared invalid.  At this point, he asked Matilda to marry him in 909.  They had several children, Otto I – Emperor of Germany, Henry – Duke of Bavaria, St. Bruno – Archbishop of Cologne, Gerberga – wife of Louis IV of France, and Hedwig – the mother of Hugh Capet.  

In 912, Matilda’s husband succeeded his father as Duke of Saxony, and in 918 he became King Conrad of Germany.  As Queen, Matilda was humble, pious, generous, and was always ready to help the oppressed and unfortunate.  She had a wholesome influence over his husband, King Henry I.  After his reign of seventeen years, he died in 936.  She inherited all of his possessions, numerous and in many locations throughout Germany.  It was the king’s wish that his eldest son, Otto should succeed him, but Matilda wanted her son Henry to take the Royal throne.  

Otto pleaded that he was the first-born son, so Matilda had some nobles cast their vote for Henry, but Otto was elected and crowned King in 936.  Three years later, Henry revolted against his brother Otto, but was unable to take the crown from him.  Matilda then made Henry the Duke of Bavaria.  It wasn’t long after that however, the two brothers joined in persecuting their mother, whom they accused of having impoverished the crown by her lavish almsgiving.  St. Matilda, in an effort to satisfy her sons for her helping the Church and the poor, renounced her possessions and retired to her villa at Engern in Westphalia.  Shortly after when misfortune overtook her sons, Matilda was called back to the Palace, and both Otto and Henry begged her pardon.  

St. Matilda built many churches, and founded or supported numerous Monasteries.  Her main foundations were the monasteries at Quedlinburg, Nordhausen, Engern and Poehden.  She spent many days at these monasteries and was especially fond of Nordhausen.  She died at the Convents of Sts. Servatius and Dionysius at Quedlinburg.   She was buried there by the side of her husband, and was venerated immediately after her death for her heroic generosity and charity towards the Church and those in need.   

Practical Take Away

St. Matilda was the Queen of Germany, and the wife of King Henry I.  She was brought up at the Monastery of Erfurt.  She was the mother of King Otto I, emperor of Germany, and Henry, the Duke of Bavaria.  She was also the mother of St. Bruno, the Archbishop of Cologne. Her husband King Henry died early in their marriage, and she spent a lot of her inheritance on almsgiving, and building many churches and monasteries.  She led a life of helping those in need, and is venerated for her charity to the church.