Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Saint Matilda

Matilda was the daughter of Count Dietrich of Westphalia, Germany. When Matilda was still quite young, her parents arranged her marriage to a nobleman named Henry. Soon after their marriage, Henry became king of Germany.

As queen, Matilda lived a simple life and made time for daily prayer. Everyone who saw her realized how good and kind she was. She was more like a mother than a queen. Matilda loved to visit and comfort the sick. She taught the ignorant, helped prisoners and did not let herself be spoiled by her position, but tried to reach out to people in need.

King Henry realized that his wife was a very special person. He often told her that he was a better person and a better king because she was his wife. Even though their marriage had been arranged, Henry and Matilda loved each other very much. They were happily married for twenty-three years.

Matilda was free to use the treasures of the kingdom for her charities and Henry never asked her how she planned to use it. Because of her he became more aware of the needs of people. He realized that as king he had the power to lessen their suffering.

King Henry died quite suddenly in 936. The queen was very sad and felt his loss very much. She made up her mind to live for God alone. So she called the priest to celebrate Mass for King Henry's soul. Then she gave the priest all the jewels she was wearing to show that she meant to give up the things of the world from then on.

Although she was a saint, Matilda favored her son, Henry, more than her son, Otto, in the struggle to be king but she was later very sorry for having done this. She made up for it by accepting without complaint the sufferings that came her way.

She spent the rest of her years practicing charity and penance. Matilda died peacefully in 968 and was buried beside her husband. Her feast day is March 14th.

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