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Bertha of val d'Or, St.


Foundress and abbess of Avenay, France (near Reims); d. c. 690. By mutual consent she lived in a state of virginity with the saintly Gombert, the founder of the convent of St. Peter at Reims. When he was murdered on a missionary journey, Bertha founded a convent at Avenay in a place once called Val d'Or and was made its first abbess. She is said to have been murdered by two nephews of her husband. The chief sources for her life are the chronicler flodoard of reims (d. c. 966) and a later and largely worthless vita, which may contain, however, some material from the earlier vita used by Flodoard, but subsequently lost. Bertha and Gombert are honored together as saints and martyrs in the Proper of Reims for May 1.

Bibliography: a. m. zimmermann, Kalendarium Benedictinum (Metten 193338) 2:132133. Acta Sanctorum May 1 (1866) 115120. Flodoard, Monumenta Germaniae Historica: Scriptores 13:416548, 595596. f. baix, Dictionnaire d'histoire et de géographie ecclésiastiques, ed. a. baudrillart et al. (Paris 1912) 8:943944. p. sÉjournÉ, ibid. 5:101618.

[m. r. p. mcguire]

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