Wednesday’s Women: Saints Waltrudis and Aldegundis

by Melanie on July 12, 2017

in Catholicism, Nonfiction, Saints, Sisterhood of Saints, Spirituality, Wednesday's Woman

Note: For the next several weeks I’ll be featuring women saints who knew each other personally–mothers and daughters, grandmothers and granddaughters, sisters, and friends.

The Basics: Waltrudis, born in Belgium; died about 688 in Belgium; canonized precongregation; feast day April 9; wife, mother, and woman religious. Aldegundis, born about 639 in Belgium; died 684 in


Belgium; precongregation;  feast day, January 30. Woman religious.

The Story: More than age separated these sisters, whose parents (Walbert and Bertilia) also are saints. But their strong faith and love for each other and the Lord spanned the differences in the lives they led.

Waltrudis, the elder, married Vincent, the son of another noble family. The marriage began and ended in celibacy. The pair agreed to be chaste for the initial year or so, then went on to have four children, three of whom entered religious life and all of who also are saints. Waltrudis and Vincent returned to celibacy later, and Vincent became a monk in about 643. Waltrudis stayed in the world for about another two years, then took up residence in a chapel cell. So many people came to ask for her advice (and, perhaps, also because of gossip about her) that Waltrudis eventually founded a convent that spawned the city of Mons, which still hosts a special eight-day event every year to thank her for delivering the city from the plague. However, she chose to remain a member, not to lead the congregation. She devoted her life to prayer and sacrifices.

And what of Aldegundis? She too had been slated for marriage to a nobleman, but was reluctant to do so.


She convinced her mother to let her visit Waltrudis at the convent first, and that only cemented Aldegundis’s certainty that she was called to the consecrated life. The marriage was delayed yet again, and Aldegundis slipped out to Maubeuge where she declared her intent to become a hermit. The fiance gave up, as did the disappointed Bertilia. Still, Bertilia came around eventually, left Aldegundis enough of an estate to found the monastery at Maubeuge, about twenty miles from Waltrudis’s convent. Aldegundis, who would go on to serve as abbess for thirty years, encouraged Waltrudis to join her there, but Waltrudis found the environment to be at odds with her desire to live in poverty.

The sisters remained close. Waltrudis’s two daughters, Adeltrudis and Madelberta, were sent to live with their aunt at an early age, and both went on to be abbesses at Maubeuge. And, Waltrudis was with Aldegundis when she died, and said she saw angels carrying her sister’s soul to heaven.

What We Can Learn from Their Relationship: Waltrudis served God as a wife, mother, and as a contemplative woman religious. Aldegundis’ gifts were more administrative in nature. Yet they loved and supported each other. Consider ways in which you can draw closer to a sister or friend who seems very different from you on the surface.

To Learn More About Them: Check out the website for the Collegiate Church of St. Waltrudis in Mons.

To Learn More About Other Women Saints and Blesseds: Come back next week, or consider buying my book, Sisterhood of Saints: Daily Guidance and Inspiration.

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