by Maura Kreuger
used with permission
Feast Day: March 14
Patronage: death of children, disappointing children, large families, falsely accused persons, people ridiculed for their piety, queens, second marriages, widows.
St. Matilda was born about 895, the daughter of a German count. When she 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 lifestyle with times for daily prayer.
Everyone who saw her realized how good and kind she was. She was more like a mother than a queen. She loved to visit and comfort the sick. She helped prisoners. Matilda 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 an extraordinary person. He told her many times 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 really loved each other.
Matilda founded several Benedictine abbeys, and was free to use the treasures of the kingdom for charity. King Henry never questioned her. In fact, he became more aware of the needs of people. He realized that he had the power to ease suffering because of his position. The couple were happily married for twenty-three years. Then King Henry died quite suddenly in 936.
The queen suffered the loss very much. She decided then and there 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. She did this to show that she meant to give up the things of the world from then on.
Although she was a saint, Matilda made a big mistake. She favored her son, Henry, more than her son, Otto, in the struggle to be king. She was sorry for having done this. She made up for it by accepting without complaint the sufferings that came her way. Nevertheless, she was betrayed by Otto after Henry's death when he falsely accused her of financial mismanagement.
After years spent in practicing charity and penance, St. Matilda died peacefully in 968. She was buried beside her husband.
From St. Matilda we can learn to offer up little sufferings to make up for our sins and mistakes.