Saint of the Day – 10 February – Saint Austrebertha of Pavilly OSB (630–704) Benedictine Nun and Abbess of Pavilly, France, miracle-worker. Born in 630 at Therouanne, Artois, France and died in 704 at Pavilly, Normandy, France. Patronage – Barentin, France. Also known as Austreberta, Eustreberta, Eustreverte.
Austrebertha was the daughter of Saint Framechildis and the Count Palatine Badefrid, she was born about 630 in Thérouanne, Pas-de-Calais. She refused to be part of an arranged marriage and in around 656 entered the Port-le-Grand Monastery in Ponthieu . She received the veil from Saint Omer before founding another Monastery in Marconne in Artois in the house of her parents. She later established a Monastery at Pavilly.
Although not well known outside of Upper Normandy, Austreberthe performed miracles during her lifetime. Once the water of a spring appeared near a Chapel and gave rise to a river that had healing properties for the disabled and lame.
Her most well-known miracle is that of the wolf. Austreberthe and her nuns used to wash the sacristy cloths of the Abbey of Jumieges a few leagues distant from Pavilly. A donkey used to carry the linen from one Monastery to another. One day, while looking for the donkey, she came across a wolf. The wolf admitted to killing the donkey and begged for forgiveness. Austrebertha reprimanded the wolf but forgave him and commanded that he carry the laundry himself, a task that the wolf performed for the rest of its life.
At the place of the death of the donkey a Chapel was erected in the seventh century, then, when it fell into ruin, a simple stone cross replaced it. It, in turn, was later replaced by an oak, in which was placed a statue of the Virgin.
The miracle of the wolf is depicted in the stained glass window of the Chapel in the village of Sainte-Austreberthe.
There is a Chapel in an open field, in Saint-Denis-le-Ferment, in the Eure where a pilgrimage takes place on Whit Monday. Some of her relics are said to have been brought to Canterbury by the Normans.
Austrebertha died in 704 at Pavilly at the aged of 74.
The two towns named Sainte-Austreberthe refer to her.