Matilda, also sometimes known as Maude, was born around 895. Her father was Count Dietrich of Westphalia and her mother’s name was Reinhild. Her grandmother, who was the Abbess of the Eufurt convent, raised Matilda.
In 909, Matilda married Henry (The Fowler) after his first marriage to a woman named Hathburg had been declared invalid. Matilda and Henry had several children: Otto I, who became Emperor of Germany, and Henry, who later became the Duke of Bavaria; St. Bruno, Archbishop of Cologne; Gerberga, who married Louis IV of France; and Hedwig, the mother of Hugh Capet. After Henry succeeded his father as Duke of Saxony, he was chosen to succeed King Conrad of Germany and became King Henry. Matilda was a very devout Christian and her royal status did not change that. She was humble, pious, and very devoted to the poor and afflicted.
In 936, King Henry died. He left everything to Matilda, but his wish was for his eldest son, Otto, to succeed him as King. Matilda, however, preferred their son Henry take the throne. Nonetheless, Otto was elected King. However, three years later, his brother Henry revolted against him to try to win the crown but lost. His mother, Matilda, through her intercession, finally secured the title of Duke of Bavaria for Henry. It wasn’t long after this appointment though, that both boys turned on their mother because they felt that she was squandering their father’s wealth on the poor. Matilda, in humility, relinquished all their father’s inheritance to her two sons and retired to her villa in Westphalia. Later, though, when her sons found themselves in the midst of misfortune they called her back and begged for her forgiveness.
Matilda went on to build many churches, and also founded many monasteries. The most well-known monasteries are at Quedlinburg, Nordhausen, Engern, and Poehiden.
Matilda died at the convent of Sts. Servatius and Dionysius at Quedlinburg on March 14, 968. She is buried there beside her husband, Henry. Matilda is the patron saint of parents of large families.
Heavenly Father, Matilda was a good and devout queen mother on earth. We thank you for her example to her children and others but we also thank you for our Queen Mother in heaven, Blessed Virgin Mary. We pray for their intercession that all mothers may seek their example. Amen.
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