Bertha of Artois

Bertha of Artois

Infobox Saint
name=Saint Bertha of Artois
birth_date=c. mid 7th century
death_date=July 4, 725
feast_day=July 4
venerated_in=Roman Catholic Church


imagesize=
caption=
birth_place=Artois
death_place=Blangy-sur-Ternoise (near Lille), département of Pas-de-Calais, Nord-Pas de Calais, France
titles=Abbess
beatified_date=
beatified_place=
beatified_by=
canonized_date=Pre-Congregation
canonized_place=
canonized_by=
attributes=a nun kneeling before an altar with her daughter
patronage=widows
major_shrine=
suppressed_date=
issues=
prayer=
prayer_attrib=

Saint Bertha of Artois or Saint Bertha of Blangy (mid 7th century - July 4, 725) was a Frankish and Anglo-Saxon Abbess of noble blood.

Life

Saint Bertha was the daughter of Count Rigobert, the Mayor of the Palace under King Clovis II prior to Ebroin. Her mother Ursana, was the daughter of the King of Kent (in England). ["Lives of the Saints, For Every Day of the Year," edited by Rev. Hugo Hoever, S.O.Cist., Ph.D., New York: Catholic Book Publishing Co., 1955, p. 254]

At the age of twenty Bertha married Siegfried or Sigfrid, a relation of the king. ["Lives of the Saints, For Every Day of the Year," p. 254] When her husband Siegfried died in 672, after nearly twenty years of marriage and five daughters, Bertha was determined to become a Religious. In the year 682 or 685 Bertha had founded a convent at Blangy, Artois (now Blangy-sur-Ternoise). She retreated there with her two eldest daughters, Deotila and Gertrude. ["Married Saints and Blesseds: Through the Centuries," Ferdinand Holbock, San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2002, p. 114] Later, her daughter Deotila succeeded her as Abbess, when Bertha retired to live the life of a recluse, solely devoted to prayer. ["Lives of the Saints, For Every Day of the Year," p. 254] St Bertha died at an advanced age of natural causes on July 4, 725. ["Lives of the Saints, For Every Day of the Year," p. 254] Her feast day is celebrated on July 4. (See "Ste. Berthe et son Abbaye de Blangy", Lille, 1892).

Hagiography

Two buildings which Bertha constructed had fallen down, but an angel in a vision guided her to another spot, and there after many difficulties a nunnery was built, which she entered with her two eldest daughters, Deotila and Gertrude.

A still later legend represents Gertrude as much persecuted by the attentions of a great noble, Roger, who wished to marry her by force, but she was saved from his violence by her mother's firm courage and trust in God.

Some time before her death Bertha is said to have resigned her office of abbess and to have shut herself up in a little cell built against the church wall.

The whole story of St Bertha, as her biographers agree, is of a very late date but not entirely legendary.

References

*Herbert J. Thurston and Donald Attwater, eds. "Butler's Lives of the Saints," vol. 3. Allen, TX: Christian Classics, 1956, pp 14-15.
*Ferdinand Holböck, "Married Saints and Blesseds: Through the Centuries," San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2002, 400 pp, ISBN 0898708435
*"Lives of The Saints, For Every Day of the Year," edited by Rev. Hugo Hoever, S.O.Cist., Ph.D., New York: Catholic Book Publishing Co., 1955, 511 pp

External links

* [http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/02519a.htm Catholic Encyclopedia: "Bertha"]
* [http://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=1769 Catholic Online-Saints & Angels: "St. Bertha"]
* [http://www.saintpatrickdc.org/ss/0704.htm#bert Saints O' the Day: "St. Bertha"]


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