Saturday, March 16, 2013

St. Eusebia, Benedictine Abbess

The saint of the day for March 16 is St. Eusebia (637-680), a Benedictine abbess, the daughter of Sts. Adalbald and Rictrudis and the great-granddaughter of Saint Gertrude the Elder.

Eusebia's father was murdered when she was eight. Following his death, she was sent to the abbey of Hamage, Doudi, France, which her great-grandmother had founded and served as abbess. Gertrude died when Eusebia was twelve years old and she was elected to replace her. Rictrudis, realizing her daughter had no hope of governing the abbey, but wanting to keep it under the protection of a noble house, merged Hamage with her own house of Marchiennes, and ordered all the sisters to move in together under her rule. Many of the uprooted sisters, including Eusebia, were unhappy with this order as it kept them from obeying Saint Gertrude‘s last request. After much time and debate, the dissident sisters were permitted to return to their old house, taking Gertrude‘s relics with them, and taking Eusebia as their abbess. The delay had allowed her to grow into the position, and she proved an excellent abbess.

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