St Bathildis

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Queen, wife, mother and nun. This saint was a English woman whose life went from rags to riches. As a young girl, she was captured by pirates and sold as a slave to Erchinoald, who was in charge of the palace of the Frankish King, Clovis II.

Bathildis was so beautiful and intelligent she attracted the attention of the king. They married and had three sons, each of whom in turn eventually became king. When her husband died in 657, she acted as regent for her son who was only five. When he was old enough to take the throne, she became a nun and devoted the rest of her life to caring for the poor and sick.

During her reign Queen Bathildis founded monasteries, and hospitals and abolished slavery.

She spent her last 15 years at her convent in Chelles where she served the other nuns and was very obedient to the abbess.

Bathildis died in 680. Her cult became very popular in mediaeval France and England. She is portrayed in many images as a nun wearing a crown. One picture of her can be seen in the Sherborne Missal, recently acquired by the British Museum.

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