Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres (1780–1867). carton pour les vitraux de la chapelle Saint-Louis à Dreux, Eure-et-Loir, France. Sainte Bathilde de Chelles
Sainte Bathilde (ou Bertille)
D'origine anglo-saxonne, elle avait été prise, encore
enfant, par des corsaires et revendue comme esclave à Erkinoald. Quand le roi
Clovis II, fils du roi Dagobert, fut en âge de se marier, il la remarqua.
Erkinoald la lui céda et elle devint reine. Elle eut trois fils. A la mort
prématurée de son mari, elle devient régente de Neustrie, et donna toute sa
mesure, conseillée par saint Eloi et d'autres évêques. Elle supprima
l'esclavage, rendit l'impôt plus équitable et favorisa la vie monastique. Les
aléas des conquêtes conduisirent le Maire du palais à l'évincer. Mais Ebroïn
l'estimait tout en la trouvant encombrante. Il l'obligea à s'enfermer dans un
couvent, à Chelles près de Paris. Elle avait trente et un ans et y resta
jusqu'à sa mort à quarante six ans, en 680, pardonnant à ses ennemis, se
chargeant des besognes les plus basses et se vouant de préférence au soin des
SOURCE : http://www.paroisse-saint-aygulf.fr/index.php/prieres-et-liturgie/saints-par-mois/icalrepeat.detail/2015/01/30/2175/-/sainte-bathilde-ou-bertille
Wife of Clovis II, King of France, time and
place of birth unknown; d. January; 680. According to some chronicles she came
from England and
was a descendant of the Anglo-Saxon kings, but this is a doubtful statement.
It iscertain that
she was a slave in the service of the wife of Erchinoald, mayor
of the palace of Neustria. Her unusualqualities of mind and
her virtues inspired the confidence of her master who gave many
of the affairs of the household into her charge and, after the death of his
wife, wished to marry her. At this the young girl fled and did not
return until Erchinoald had married again. About this time
Clovis II met her at the house of the mayor of the palace, and was impressed by
her beauty, grace, and the good report he had of her. He freed
and marriedher, 649. This sudden elevation did not diminish
the virtues of Bathilde but gave them a new lustre. Her humility,spirit of prayer,
and large-hearted generosity to the poor were particularly
Seven years after their marriage Clovis II died, 656, leaving Bathilde with three sons, Clothaire, Childeric, andThierry. An assembly of the leading nobles proclaimed Clothaire III, aged five, king under the regency of his mother, Bathilde. Aided by the authority and advice of Erchinoald and the saintly bishops, Eloi (Eligius) of Noyon,Ouen of Rouen, Leéger of Autun, and Chrodebert of Paris, the queen was able to carry out useful reforms. She abolished the disgraceful trade in Christian slaves, and firmly repressed simony among the clergy. She also led the way in founding charitable and religious institutions, such as hospitals and monasteries. Through her generosity the Abbey of Corbey was founded for men, and the Abbey of Chelles near Paris for women. At about this date the famous Abbeys of Jumièges, Jouarre, and Luxeuil were established, most probably in large part through Bathilde's generosity. Berthilde, the first Abbess of Chelles, who is honoured as a saint, came fromJouarre. The queen wished to renounce her position and enter the religious life, but her duties kept her at court.Erchinoald died in 659 and was succeeded by Ebroin. Notwithstanding the ambition of the new mayor of the palace, the queen was able to maintain her authority and to use it for the benefit of the kingdom. After her children were well established in their respective territories, Childeric IV in Austrasia and Thierry in Burgundy, she returned to her wish for a secluded life and withdrew to her favourite Abbey of Chelles near Paris.
On entering the abbey she laid down the insignia of royalty and desired to be the lowest in rank among the inmates. It was her pleasure to take her position after the novices and to serve the poor and infirm with her own hands. Prayer and manual toil occupied her time, nor did she wish any allusion made to the grandeur of her past position. In this manner she passed fifteen years of retirement. At the beginning of the year 680 she had a presentiment of the approach of death and made religious preparation for it. Before her own end, that of Radegonde occurred, a child whom she had held at the baptismal font and had trained in Christian virtue. She was buried in the Abbey of Chelles and was canonized by Pope Nicholas I. The Roman martyrology places herfeast on 26 January; in France it is celebrated 30 January.
Acta SS., II; DUBOIS, Histoire ecclésiastique de Paris, 198; BINET, La vie excellente de Sainte Bathilde (Paris, 1624); CORBLET, Hagiographie du diocèse d'Amiens (1874); DES ESSARTS, Sainte Bathilde in Correspondant (1873), XXXII, 227-246; DRIOUS, La reine Bathilde (Limoges, 1865); GREÉCY in Revue archéologique (1865), XII, 603-610.
Fournet, Pierre Auguste. "St. Bathilde." The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 2. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1907. 14 Mar. 2016 <http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/02348b.htm>.
Transcription. This article was transcribed for New Advent by Steven Fanning.
Ecclesiastical approbation. Nihil Obstat. 1907. Remy Lafort, S.T.D., Censor. Imprimatur. +John M. Farley, Archbishop of New York.
Copyright © 2020 by Kevin Knight. Dedicated to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
Statue de sainte Bathilde (reine de France), à Saint-Germain-l’Auxerrois, Paris
Bathildis, OSB, Queen Widow (RM)
(also known as Bathild, Baldechilde, Baldhild, Bauteur)
Died January 30, 680; canonized by Pope Nicholas I; Roman Martyrology sets her feast as January 26.
Bathild, like Saint Patrick, had been a slave. An Anglo-Saxon by birth, in 641 she was captured by Danish raiders and sold to Erchinoald, the chief officer (mayor) of the palace of Clovis II, King of the Franks. She quickly gained favor, for she had charm, beauty, and a graceful and gentle nature. She also won the affection of her fellow-servants, for she would do them many kindnesses such as cleaning their shoes and mending their clothes, and her bright and attractive disposition endeared her to them all.
The officer, impressed by her fine qualities, wished to make her his wife, but Bathild, alarmed at the prospect, both by reason of her modesty and of her humble status, disguised herself in old and ragged clothes, and hid herself away among the lower servants of the palace; and he, not finding her in her usual place, and thinking she had fled, married another woman.
Her next suitor, however, was none other than the king himself, for when she had discarded her old clothes and appeared again in her place, he noticed her grace and beauty, and declared his love for her. Thus in 649, the 19-year-old slave girl Bathild became Queen of France, amidst the applause of the court and the kingdom. She bore Clovis three sons: Clotaire III, Childeric II, and Thierry III--all of whom became kings. On the death of Clovis (c. 655- 657), she was appointed regent in the name of her eldest son, who was only five, and ruled capably for eight years with Saint Eligius as her adviser.
She made a good queen and ruled wisely. Unlike many who rise suddenly to high place and fortune, she never forgot that she had been a slave, and did all within her power to relieve those in captivity. We are told that "Queen Bathild was the holiest and most devout of women; her pious munificence knew no bounds; remembering her own bondage, she set apart vast sums for the redemption of captives." Bathild helped promote Christianity by seconding the zeal of Saint Ouen, Saint Leodegardius, and many other bishops.
At that time the poorer inhabitants of France were often obliged to sell their children as slaves to meet the crushing taxes imposed upon them. Bathild reduced this taxation, forbade the purchase of Christian slaves and the sale of French subjects, and declared that any slave who set foot in France would from that moment be free. Thus, this enlightened women earned the love of her people and was a pioneer in the abolition of slavery.
A contemporary English writer, Eddius (the biographer of Saint Wilfrid), asserts that Queen Bathild was responsible for the political assassination of Bishop Saint Annemund (Dalfinus) of Lyons and nine other bishops. What actually happened is obscure, and it is unlikely that Bathild was guilty of the crime.
She also founded many abbeys, such as Corbie, Saint-Denis, and Chelles, which became civilized settlements in wild and remote areas inhabited only by prowling wolves and other wild beasts. Under her guidance forests and waste land were reclaimed, cornland and pasture took their place, and agriculture flourished. She built hospitals and sold her jewelry to supply the needy. Finally, when Clotaire came of age, she retired to her own royal abbey of Chelles, near Paris, where she served the other nuns with humility and obeyed the abbess like the least of the sisters.
She died at Chelles before she had reached her 50th birthday. Death touched her with a gentle hand; as she died, she said she saw a ladder reaching from the altar to heaven, and up this she climbed in the company of angels.
Her life was written by a contemporary. Chelles convent had many contacts with Anglo-Saxon England, which led to the spread of her cultus to the British Isles (Attwater, Attwater2, Benedictines, Bentley, Butler, Coulson, Delaney, Farmer, Gill, Husenbeth, White).
Saint Bathildis is generally pictured as a crowned queen or nun before the altar of the Virgin, two angels support a child on a ladder (the ladder implies the pun échelle-Chelles) and also the vision she is said to have had at her death. She might also be shown: (1) holding a broom; (2) giving alms or bread; (3) seeing a vision of the crucified Christ before her; or (4) holding Chelles Abbey, which she founded (Roeder, White).
She is the patroness of children (Roeder).
St. Bathildes, Queen of France
From her life written by a contemporary author, and a second life, which is the same with the former, except certain additions of a later date, in Bollandus and Mabillon, sec. 4. Ben. p. 447. and Act. Sanct. Ben. t. 2. See also Dubois, Hist. Eccl. Paris, p. 198. and Chatelain. Notes on the Martyr. 30 Jan. p. 462. See Historia St. Bathildis et Fundationem ejus, amongst the MS. lives of saints in the abbey of Jumieges, t. 2. Also her MS. life at Bec, &c.
ST. BATHILDES, or BALDECHILDE, in French Bauteur, was an Englishwoman, who was carried over very young into France, and there sold for a slave, at a very low price, to Erkenwald, otherwise called Erchinoald, and Archimbald, mayor of the palace under King Clovis II. When she grew up he was so much taken with her prudence and virtue, that he committed to her the care of his household. She was no ways puffed up, but seemed the more modest, more submissive to her fellow-slaves, and always ready to serve the meanest of them in the lowest offices. King Clovis II. in 649 took her for his royal consort with the applause of his princes and whole kingdom: such was the renown of her extraordinary endowments. This unexpected elevation, which would have turned the strongest head of a person addicted to pride, produced no alteration in a heart perfectly grounded in humility and other virtues. She seemed even to become more humble than before, and more tender of the poor. Her present station furnished her with the means of being truly their mother, which she was before in the inclination and disposition of her heart. All other virtues appeared more conspicuous in her; but above the rest an ardent zeal for religion. The king gave her the sanction of his royal authority for the protection of the church, the care of the poor, and the furtherance of all religious undertakings. She bore him three sons, who all successively wore the crown, Clotaire III. Childeric II. and Thierry I. He dying in 655, when the eldest was only five years old, left her regent of the kingdom. She seconded the zeal of St. Owen, St. Eligius, and other holy bishops, and with great pains banished simony out of France, forbade Christians to be made slaves, 1 did all in her power to promote piety, and filled France with hospitals and pious foundations. She restored the monasteries of St. Martin, St. Denys, St. Medard, &c. founded the great abbey of Corbie for a seminary of virtue and sacred learning, and the truly royal nunnery of Chelles, 2 on the Marne, which had been begun by St. Clotildis. As soon as her son Clotaire was of an age to govern, she with great joy shut herself up in this monastery of Chelles, in 665, a happiness which she had long earnestly desired, though it was with great difficulty that she obtained the consent of the princes. She had no sooner taken the veil but she seemed to have forgotten entirely her former dignity, and was only to be distinguished from the rest by her extreme humility, serving them in the lowest offices, and obeying the holy abbess St. Bertilla as the last among the sisters. She prolonged her devotions every day with many tears, and made it her greatest delight to visit and attend the sick, whom she comforted and served with wonderful charity. St. Owen, in his life of St. Eligius, mentions many instances of the great veneration which St. Bathildes bore that holy prelate, and relates, that St. Eligius, after his death, in a vision by night, ordered a certain courtier to reprove the queen for wearing jewels and costly apparel in her widowhood, which she did not out of pride, but because she thought it due to her state whilst she was regent of the kingdom. Upon this admonition, she laid them aside, distributed a great part to the poor, and with the richest of her jewels made a most beautiful and sumptuous cross, which she placed at the head of the tomb of St. Eligius. She was afflicted with long and severe cholics and other pains, which she suffered with an admirable resignation and joy. In her agony she recommended to her sisters charity, care of the poor, fervour and perseverance, and gave up her soul in devout prayer on the 30th of January, in 680, on which day she is honoured in France, but is named on the 26th in the Roman Martyrology.
A Christian, who seriously considers that he is to live here but a moment, and will live eternally in the world to come, must confess that it is a part of wisdom to refer all his actions and views to prepare himself for that everlasting dwelling, which is his true country. Our only and necessary affair is to live for God, to do his will, and to sanctify and save our souls. If we are employed in a multiplicity of exterior business, we must imitate St. Bathildes, when she bore the whole weight of the state. In all we do, God and his holy will must be always before our eyes, and to please him must be our only aim and desire. Shunning the anxiety of Martha, and reducing all our desires to this one of doing what God requires of us, we must with her call in Mary to our assistance. In the midst of our actions, whilst our hands are at work, our mind and heart ought to be interiorly employed on God, at least virtually, that all our employments may be animated with the spirit of piety: and hours of repose must always be contrived to pass at the feet of Jesus, where in the silence of all creatures we may listen to his sweet voice, refresh by him our wearied souls, and renew our fervour. Whilst we converse with the world, we must tremble at the sight of its snares, and be upon our guard that we never be seduced so far as to be in love with it, or to learn its spirit. To love the world, is to follow its passions; to be proud, covetous, and sensual, as the world is. The height of its miseries and dangers, is that blindness by which none who are infected with its spirit, see their misfortunes, or are sensible of their disease. Happy are they who can imitate this holy queen in entirely separating themselves from it!
Note 1. The Franks, when they established themselves in Gaul, allowed the Roman Gauls to live according to their own laws and customs, and tolerated their use of slaves; but gradually mitigated their servitude. Queen Bathildes alleviated the heaviest conditions, gave great numbers their liberty, and declared all capable of property. The Franks still retained slaves with this condition, attached to certain manors or farms, and bound to certain particular kinds of servitude. The kings of the second race often set great numbers free, and were imitated by other lords. Queen Blanche and Saint Lewis contributed more than any others to ease the condition of vassals, and Lewis Hutin abolished slavery in France, declaring all men free who live in that kingdom according to the spirit of Christianity, which teaches us to treat all men as our brethren. See the life of St. Bathildes, and Gratiguy, Œuvres posthumes, an 1757. Disc. sur la Servitude et son Abolition in France. [back]
Note 2. In the village of Chelles, in Latin Cala, four leagues from Paris, the kings of the first race had a palace. St. Clotildis founded near it a small church under the invocation of St. George, with a small number of cells adjoining for nuns. St. Bathildes so much enlarged this monastery as to be looked upon as the principal foundress. The old church of Saint George falling to decay, Saint Bathildes built there the magnificent church of the holy Cross, in which she was buried. Gisela, sister to the emperor Charlemagne, abbess of this house, rebuilt the great church, which some pretend to be the same that is now standing. At present here are three churches together; the first which is small, the oldest, and only a choir, is called the church of the holy Cross, and is used by six monks who assist the nuns; the lowest church is called St. George’s, and is a parochial church for the seculars who live within the jurisdiction of the monastery: the great church which serves the nuns is dedicated under the invocation of the Blessed Virgin, and is said to be the same that was built by the abbess Gisela, and much enlarged and enriched by Hegilvich, abbess of this monastery, mother to the empress Judith, whose husband, Lewis le Debonnaire, caused the remains of our saint to be translated into this new church, in 833, and from this treasure it is more frequently called the church of St. Bathildes, than our Lady’s. Two rich silver shrines are placed over the iron rails of the chancel, in one of which rest the sacred remains of St. Bathildes, in the other those of St. Bertilla, first abbess of Chelles, these rails, which are of admirable workmanship, were the present of an illustrious princess of the house of Bourbon, Mary Adelaide of Orleans, abbess of this house in 1725, who not thinking her sacrifice complete by having renounced the world, after some years abdicated her abbacy, and died in the condition of humble obedience, and of a private religious woman, near the
shrines of SS. Bathildes and Bertilla, and those of St. Genesius of Lyons, St. Eligius and Radegondes of Chelles, called also little St. Bathildes. The last-mentioned princess was god-daughter to our saint, and died in her childhood, in this monastery, two or three days before her. See Piganiol’s Descr. de Paris, t. 1. and 8. Chatelain’s notes in martyr. p. 464, and especially Le Bœuf, Hist. du Diocess de Paris, t. 6. p. 32. This author gives (p. 43.) the full relation of a miracle approved by John Francis Gondé, archbishop of Paris, mentioned in a few words by Mabillon and Baillet. Six nuns were cured of inveterate distempers, attended with frequent fits of convulsions, by touching the relics of Saint Bathildes, when her shrine was opened on the 13th of July, in 1631. [back]
Rev. Alban Butler (1711–73). Volume I: January. The Lives of the Saints. 1866.
Statue en pierre de sainte Bathilde (XIVe siècle); abbatiale Saint-Pierre de Corbie.
Santa Batilde Regina dei Franchi
m. Chelles, Parigi, 680
Di origine anglosassone, Batilde durante un viaggio fu catturata da alcuni pirati e venduta in Francia, nel 641, ad Erchinoaldo, dignitario di corte di Neustria, che, dopo essere rimasta vedovo, voleva sposarla. L'ex schiava si rifiutò, accettando poi di sposare Clodoveo II re di Neustria e di Borgogna. Ebbe tre figli, Clotario III, Tierrico III e Childerico II. Nel 657 Batilde divenne vedova e quindi reggente del regno in nome del figlio Clotario; con la guida dell'abate Genesio, si diede alle opere di carità, aiutando i poveri e i monasteri. Lottò strenuamente contro la simonia e contro la schiavitù, che fu interdetta per i cristiani, mentre con proprio denaro restituì la libertà a moltissimi schiavi. Quando il figlio Clotario III raggiunse la maggiore età, Batilde si ritirò nel monastero di Chelles, nella diocesi di Parigi, che lei stessa nel 662, aveva fatto restaurare. Vi morì nel 680. Fu sepolta a Chelles, accanto al figlio Clotario III, morto nel 670. (Avvenire)
Martirologio Romano: A Chelles vicino a Parigi in Francia, santa Batilde, regina: fondò cenobi sotto la regola di san Benedetto secondo il costume di Luxeuil; dopo la morte del marito Clodoveo II, assunse il governo del regno dei Franchi e, durante il regno del figlio, visse i suoi ultimi anni nell’assoluta osservanza della regola di vita monastica.
Era di origine anglosassone, durante un viaggio fu catturata dai pirati e venduta in Francia nel 641, ad Erchinoaldo, dignitario di corte di Neustria, il quale poi rimasto vedovo, voleva sposarla.
L’ex schiava si rifiutò, accettando poi di sposare Clodoveo II re di Neustria e di Borgogna, antiche regioni della Gallia; ebbe tre figli, Clotario III poi re di Neustria e di Borgogna, Tierrico III che succedette a Clotario III e Childerico II re di Austrasia, regione orientale della Gallia.
Nel 657 Batilde divenne vedova e quindi reggente del regno in nome del figlio Clotario; con la guida dell’abate Genesio, si diede alle opere di carità, aiutando i poveri ed i vari monasteri.
Lottò strenuamente contro la simonia e contro la schiavitù, che fu interdetta per i cristiani, mentre con proprio denaro restituì la libertà a moltissimi schiavi.
Come per altre sante regine di quel lontano periodo storico, raggiunta la maggiore età il figlio Clotario III, si ritirò (prima del 673) nel monastero di Chelles, nella diocesi di Parigi, che lei stessa nel 662, aveva fatto restaurare per penitenza.
Nel monastero si mise umilmente al servizio delle religiose, lì visse per circa 7-8 anni morendo il 30 gennaio del 680; fu sepolta a Chelles, accanto al figlio Clotario III, morto prima di lei nel 670.
La sua tomba fu oggetto di pellegrinaggi di fedeli attirati dalla fama dei miracoli; nell’833 fu fatta una traslazione alla chiesa della Madonna di Chelles.
La festa religiosa della santa regina Batilde è al 26 gennaio.
Autore: Antonio Borrelli