Saints Gilda and Bathilda, a Virgin and a Queen

Saint Gilda of Rome (+226) was an early Roman martyr, the orphaned daughter of an ex-consul, a faithful consecrated virgin who perished during the persecution of Severus Alexander. She was thrown to the wild beasts, but they would not touch her, and when they tried to burn her, the flames did not harm her, and when. A number of her executioners were converted, and were beheaded. The same fate befell Gilda, one of the countless witnesses who gave their life for Christ, and for the Faith. She is one of the patrons of Rome.

And on this penultimate day of January, we also celebrate Saint Bathild of Chelles, who lived a Cinderella-type life. As a child, she was sold into slavery. Her widowed master wanted to marry her upon her maturity, but she did no reciprocate, and hid herself – or avoided him – until he found someone else. But the King of the Franks, Clovis, also noticed her beauty and charm, and offered his hand, which she accepted, and became a wise, prudent and noble ruler with the king – his ‘consort’ –  the mother of three future kings of France, Clotaire, Childeric and Theueric. She was regent after Clovis died, and Clotaire took the throne. She spent her final years at the Abbey of Chelles, outside Paris, and died on this day in the year 680.