Saint Mathilda, Regina et Mater

Saint Mathilda (c. 892 – 968) of Ringleheim – which has a melodious mediaeval ring to it – was of royal vintage, when that meant something, back in the early Middle Ages. She was married to Henry I, King of Francia, also called Henry the Fowler, for he loved his hunting, and was apparently fixing his birding nets – shades of the first apostles – when messengers arrived announcing he was to be king.

He and Mathilda had a happy marriage, producing five royal children, including Otto I, future Holy Roman Emperor, deposer and installer of popes during the dark age of the papacy – the saeculum obscurum, also known more vividly as the pornocracy. We would no longer consider such depositions fully canonically regular, but God uses what means He may, and Mathilda’s son Otto helped to shore up, if not save, the Church. Hence, Henry and Mathilda are the founders of the ‘Ottonian’ dynasty, which would be the foundation of mediaeval Christendom.

Mathilda raised her children well, firmly implanting the Faith in their souls. Another son, Bruno, was the future archbishop of Cologne; and her daughter Hedwig married duke Hugh the Great; while Gerberga, was wed to King Louis IV of France. The hand that rocks the cradle, is the hand that rules the world was rarely more true that with Mathilda.

When her husband Henry died in 936, Mathilda founded a convent, which she joined, spending the remained of her days – over three decades – in prayer and good works for the poor, in the midst of it all reconciling conflicts with her children and subjects. After her death on this day, March 14, in 968, she was entombed next to her husband in the magnificent Quedlinberg Abbey, which she had helped to found (of course, later usurped by the revolutionary Protestants). But we hope that the Faith for which Mathilda fought so valiantly may one day resurge in her native land, and throughout the world.

Adveniat regnum tuum! Et Sancti Mathilda et Henrice, orate pro nobis! +