Saint of the Day – 22 September – Saint Gunthildis of Suffersheim (Died c 1057) Laywoman, apostle of the poor. Patronages – cattle, lepers, servants. Also known as Gunthild.
Historical certainty of her life has not been passed down. The name comes from Old High German and means “the combative fighter.” She is said to have been a pious maid who was distinguished by special charity. She died around 1057 in Suffersheim in Bavaria. According to another tradition, Gunthildis is said to have been a disciple of St Willibald who came to Germany from southern England in the 8th century.
Gunthildis from Suffersheim served as a cattle maid and led a very pious and devout life in the midst of her rural work. She remains a constant model for all the maidservants in the country. Devoted to all virtues, she was especially distinguished by compassion and merciful love. Her greatest joy was giving alms to the poor. Through her prayer God caused two crystal-clear springs to appear, one from a rock. Through the latter, a leper obtained perfect healing. Gunthildis drove the cattle to these sources of clear and refreshing water. After drinking from these springs, the cows gave an extraordinary amount of milk. Gunthildis shared this abundant blessing with the poor of the neighbourhood.
When she once wanted to carry the milk she had saved from her own mouth to poor people, she met her employer. Very angry, he asked her what she was carrying. She replied that it was only lye. And the employer only saw lye when he opened the vessel. In this service, the pious maid endured until the end of her life. She died a blessed death, rich in graces and virtues.
The body of the maid, generally venerated as a Saint, was loaded onto a cart and two untamed oxen hitched to it. They calmly carried her body to Suffersheim. Here they stopped. Thus it was understood that Gunthildis should be buried there. Soon afterwards, many miracles occurred at her grave. As a result, a Chapel was built over this grave, although it no longer exists. Today, next to the foundations of this Chapel uncovered in 1957, there is a new Gunthildis Chapel built from 1993 to 1995.