Saint of the Day – 9 April – Saint Waltrude of Mons (c612-686) Married, Mother, Widow, later a Nun. Born at Cousolre in northern France in c612 as Waldetrude and died on 9 April 686 of natural causes. Patronages – of Hainault, Belgium and of Mons, Belgium. Also known as – Waldetrude, Valdetrudis, Vaudru, Vautrude, Waldeltrude, Waldetrude, Waldetrudis, Waltrudis, Waudru.
The Roman Martyrology reads: “At Mons, in Hainault, blessed Waltrude, renowned for holiness of life and miracles.”
Waltrude was the daughter to the Princess St Bertille, elder sister to St Aldegondes and wife to Madelgaire, Count of Hainault and one of the principal Lords of King Dagobert’s Court. After bearing him two sons and two daughters, she induced him to embrace the monastic state at Haumont, taking the name of Vincent. He is honoured in Flanders among the Saints on the 20 September and called St.Vincent of Soignies.
For two years longer, she remained in the world, devoting herself entirely to exercises of piety, under the direction of the holy Abbot Saint Guislain. Being by that time disengaged from the encumbrances of the world,in 656, she received the Religious Veil at the hands of St.Aubert, Bishop of Cambray and lived in a little cell, adjoining to which was a Chapel in a solitary place called Castriloc, now Mons. Many other ladies resorting to her, she formed a Religious Community, which became a rich royal chapter of canonesses.
From her reputation and from this community arose the City of Mons, now the Capital of Hainault. While her sister Aldegondes governed her great Monastery at Maubeuge, Waltrude sanctified herself in her little cell by holy poverty, meekness, patience, continual fasting and prayer. She suffered much from the slanders of men and from severe interior trials and temptations but God, after some years, recompensed her fidelity with a holy peace and great spiritual consolations.
On the 9 April, 686, she went to receive the crown promised by God to those who serve Him. Her Relics are esteemed the most precious treasure of the great Church which bears her name in Mons. She is titular Patroness of Mons and all of the district of Hainault.
By the life of St Waltrude, we should learn to despise the unjust censures of the world. It persecutes by its calumnies those by whose lives its false maxims are condemned. But it can only hurt a counterfeit virtue, as the fire consumes only the dross but renders true gold brighter and more pure. Solid virtue is not only tried by humiliations but gains the greatest advantage and improvement by making a good use of them.
The Shrine of Saint Waltrude is kept in the Saint Waltrude Collegiate Church in Mons. Each year, as part of the Ducasse de Mons Festival, the Shrine, which is within a gilded cart, is drawn by horses through the City streets.
Both her parents – Walbert and Bertille and her sister (Aldegund) were Canonised. Her four children were also declared Saints, (Landericus, Dentelin, Aldetrude, and Madelberte) and so was her husband, Madelgaire.
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