lundi 13 février 2017

Sainte ERMENGILD (ERMENILDA, ERMENILDE) d'ELY, abbesse bénédictine

Sainte Ermenilde

Abbesse (7ème s.)

Reine de Mercie (Grande-Bretagne), veuve du roi Wulfehere, abbesse d'Ely.

Sainte Ermenilda

Abbesse d’Ely dans le Cambridgeshire

Fête le 13 février


† 703

Autres graphies : Ermenilda, Erminilda ou Ermengild d’Ely

Fille de sainte Sexburge et d’Ercombert de Kent, elle était la femme de Wulfhere, roi de Mercie, et la mère de sainte Werburge. Sexburge et Ermenilda furent l’une après l’autre abbesse d’Ely dans le Cambridgeshire ; Sexburge avait elle-même succédé à ce poste à sainte Etheldrède, sa sœur.


Ermengild of Ely, OSB, Widow (AC)
(also known as Ermenilda, Erminilda)

Died 703. The daughter of King Erconbert and Saint Sexburga, Erminilda was herself a queen, for she married Wulfhere, King of Mercia, and used her powerful influence to remove the remaining pockets of idolatry in a land which had been the last stronghold of Anglo-Saxon paganism. By her virtuous example and unwearied kindness she won the hearts of her subjects; she had great pity on all in distress, and throughout her life she bore her witness as a Christian queen.

Like her mother before her, the saintly Sexburga, the widowed Queen of Kent and abbess of Minster in Sheppey, she desired to be wholly devoted to God. On Wulfhere's death Erminilda joined her mother and succeeded her as abbess when her mother moved to Ely.

Later, Erminilda, too, migrated to the abbey of Ely, which was the center of a flourishing community, had the unusual distinction of having as its first abbesses a succession of three queens; for, before Sexburga, her sister, Queen Ethelreda had held the office. Erminilda was the mother of Saint Werburga, and so this royal succession of Christian witness was carried into the fourth generation.

In a primitive age these noble and saintly women by their selfless and devoted lives set before their people a high example of Christian service, and their gracious and ennobling influence had a far-reaching effect upon the period in which they lived. They are counted among the saints of England and take their place among the most faithful and distinguished followers of our Lord (Benedictines, Encyclopedia, Gill).

Saint Ermenilda of Ely

Also known as
  • Ermengild
  • Ermenhild
  • Erminilda

Born a princess, the daughter of King Erconbert of Kent, and Saint Sexburga of Ely. Ermenilda was a pious youth with a strong prayer life. Married to the pagan Wulfhere, King of Mercia whom she converted by setting a good example. Queen. Mother of Saint Werburga of Chester and King Coenrad of Mercia, who abdicated to become a monk in Rome, Italy. Ermenilda used her royal influence to destroy the last of Anglo-Saxon paganism. When widowed, she became a Benedictine nun at Minster-in-Sheppy abbey, which had been founded by her mother. She served as abbess there and at the abbey at Ely, England.


Ermengild of Ely

Eormenhilde, Hermynhild) (d. c.700), queen of Mercia, abbess of Ely. She was the daughter of Erconbert, king of Kent, and of his wife *Sexburga, who was sister of *Etheldreda. Ermengild married Wulfhere, king of Mercia (657–74) and son of Penda. She converted her husband and bore him two children, Coenred, king of Mercia 704–9, and *Werburga. After Wulfhere’s death she became a nun at Minster-in-Sheppey, founded by her mother Sexburga. When the latter resigned this abbacy and went to Ely, Ermengild succeeded her at Minster; when Sexburga died at Ely twenty years later, Ermengild became Ely’s third royal abbess in succession. Nothing is known of her rule there, not even the day of her death. Her daughter Werburga succeeded her as abbess of Ely. Ermengild’s cult was extensive, but several pre-Conquest calendars wrongly describe her as a virgin.

Propers for Ermengild of Ely - Abbess

O GOD, by whose grace the blessed Ermengild enkindled with the fire of thy love, became a burning and a shining light in thy Church: Grant that we may be inflamed with the same spirit of discipline and love, and ever walk before thee as children of light; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

The Epistle - Philippians 3:7-15.

The Gospel - St. Luke 12:22-37.

Reference and Resources:

Farmer, David Hugh (2004-07-22). The Oxford Dictionary of Saints (Oxford Paperback Reference) (p. 176). OUP Oxford.
Kindle Edition.