St. Matildis

St. Matildis

March 14

St. Matildis is also known as St. Maud. She was the Queen of Germany and died on March 14, 968. Our Saint was born a noble, the daughter of Theodoric, a powerful Saxon count. Her parents, being sensible that piety is the only true greatness, placed her very young in the monastery of Erford, of which her grandmother Maud was then abbess. She remained in that house till her parents married her to Henry, son of Otho, Duke of Saxony, in 913. Her husband, surnamed the Fowler, from his fondness for hawking, became Duke of Saxony in 916 and in 919 was chosen King of Germany. Whilst he, by his arms, checked the insolence of the Hungarians and Danes and enlarged his dominions, Maud gained domestic victories over her spiritual enemies. It was her delight to visit, comfort and exhort the sick, to serve and instruct the poor, teaching them the advantages of their state, from the example of Christ; and to afford her charitable succours to prisoners, procuring them their liberty where motives of justice would permit it, or at least easing the weight of their chains by liberal alms; but her chief aims was to make them shake off their sins, by sincere repentance. Her husband, edified by her example, concurred with her in every pious undertaking.

After twenty-three years' marriage, God was pleased to call the king to Himself by an apoplectic fit in 936. Maud, during his sickness, went to the church to pour forth her soul in prayer for him. As soon as she understood, by the tears of the people, that he had expired she cut off the jewels which she wore and gave them to the priest, as a pledge that she renounced from that moment the pomp of the world.

She had three sons: Otho, afterwards emperor; Henry Duke of Bavaria; and St. Bruno, Archbishop of Cologne. Maud, in the contest between her two elder sons for the crown which was elective, favoured Henry, who was the younger. These two sons conspired to strip her of her dowry on the unjust pretense that she had squandered away the revenues of the state on the poor. This persecution was long and cruel, coming from all that was most dear to her in this world. The unnatural princes at length repented of their injustice, and restored all that had been taken from her. She then became more liberal in her alms than ever, and founded many churches, with five monasteries; of which the principal were that of Folden, in the duchy of Brunswick, in which she maintained three thousand monks, and that of Quedlinbourg in the duchy of Saxony.

In her last sickness she made her confession to her grandson William, the Archbishop of Mentz, who yet died twelve days before her, on his road home. She again made a public confession before the priests and monks of the place, received a second time the last Sacraments, and lying on a sackcloth with ashes on her head, died on the 14th of March in 968.


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