Feast of Sts. Adalbald of Ostrevant, Rictrudis of Marchiennes, and Their Relations (March 16)   Leave a comment

Above:  Gaul in 628 C.E.

Image in the Public Domain

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SAINT GERTRUDE THE ELDER (DIED CIRCA 652)

Roman Catholic Abbess

Her feast transferred from December 6

Mother or Grandmother of 

SAINT ADALBALD OF OSTREVANT (DIED 651)

Frankish Nobleman

His feast transferred from February 2

Husband of

SAINT RICTRUDIS OF MARCHIENNES (CIRCA 612-688)

Roman Catholic Abbess

Her feast transferred from May 12

Mother of

SAINT EUSEBIA OF HAMAY (DIED 680)

Roman Catholic Abbess

Sister of

SAINT ADALSINDE OF HAMAY (DIED CIRCA 715)

Roman Catholic Nun

Her feast transferred from December 25

Sister of

SAINT CLOTSIND OF MARCHIENNES (CIRCA 635-714)

Roman Catholic Nun

Her feast transferred from June 30

Sister of

SAINT MAURONT OF DOUAI (DIED 701)

Roman Catholic Monk

His feast transferred from May 5

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HOLINESS RAN IN THIS FAMILY.

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Without sounding like a postmodernist, which I am not, I admit that distinguishing between reality and legend can be a great challenge in writing hagiographies of figures from the 700s and previous centuries.  I am, of course, reading, synthesizing, and repeating what others have written.  And they wrote based on the work of others.  Nevertheless, I have attempted to repeat only the best information I have found and to leave legendary material out of this post.  So, for example, I tell you, O reader, that either St. Bertha of Blangy, the alleged aunt of St. Eusebia, was either legendary or her biography was.  This situation calls the stories of her (alleged) daughters, Sts. Deotila and Gertrude of Blangy into serious question.

We can trust reasonably, however, that St. Adalbald of Ostrevant (died 651) was a real historical figure.  A nobleman in the court of Merovingian monarchs Dagobert I (King of Austrasia from 623 to 628 and King of all Franks from 629 to 639) and Clovis II (King of Neustria and Burgundy frm 639 to 657) , he married St. Rictrudis of Machiennes (circa 612-688), daughter of Ernold, a Gascan nobleman.  Sts. Adalbald and Rictrudis, married for sixteen years, spent much of their time helping the ill and the poor and raising their five children, four of whom we know as saints.  St. Adalbald’s death resulted from a political murder; some of his wife’s relatives took out their discontent with Clovis II’s policies on him.

St. Rictrudis remained unmarried as a widow despite Clovis II’s order that she wed again.  Her old friend, St. Amand, interceded with the monarch on her behalf.  The widow became abbess at Marchiennes, Flanders, where she had founded an abbey.  She governed it for over thirty years.  In 652, after St. Adalhard’s murder, St. Rictrudis had sent her young daughter, St. Eusebia of Hamay (died 680) to the convent at Hamay, where St. Eusebia’s grandmother or great-grandmother, St. Gertrude the Elder (died circa 652)  was abbess.  St. Gertrude died, having named the twelve-year-old St. Eusebia as her successor.  Yet St. Rictrudis intervened, merging the Hamay convent with hers for a few years, until St. Eusebia was older.  The daughter spent most of her life as abbess at Hamay and as spiritual mentor to her sister, St. Adalsinde of Hamay (died circa 715), a nun there.

The other two sainted siblings were St. Clotsind (circa 635-714), a nun at Marchiennes under her mother, St. Rictrudis, and St. Mauront of Douai (died 701).  He spent time in the royal court before becoming a monk.  He also founded the monastery at Breuit-sur-Lys, near Douai.

A family, when it is at its best, functions as a nest of faithfulness to God.  We will influence each other, for we are social creatures.  May we influence each other for good, for God.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

DECEMBER 16, 2011 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF GUSTAF AULEN, SWEDISH LUTHERAN THEOLOGIAN

THE FEAST OF SAINT ADELAIDE, HOLY ROMAN EMPRESS

THE FEAST OF MARIANNE WILLIAMS, ANGLICAN MISSIONARY

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Lord God,

you have surrounded us with so great a cloud of witnesses.

Grant that we, encouraged by the example of your servants

Saint Gertrude the Elder,

Saint Adalbald of Ostrevant,

Saint Rictrudis of Marchiennes,

Saint Eusebia of Hamay,

Saint Adalsinde of Hamay,

Saint Clotsindof Marchennes,

and Saint Mauront of Douai,

may persevere in the course that is set before us and,

at the last, share in your eternal joy with all the saints in light,

through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord,

who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,

one God, now and forever.  Amen.

Micah 6:6-8

Psalm 9:1-10

1 Corinthians 1:26-31

Luke 6:20-23

–Adapted from Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006), page 59

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Revised from December 24, 2016

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