Lüfthildis, St.

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Virgin known also as Leuchteldis, Liuthild, Lufthold, or Luchtel; fl. ninth century. Place names, inscriptions, and local devotion testify to the influence exerted by Lüfthildis, of whose life there is no other tangible trace. Tradition has it that she was persecuted by her stepmother because of her generosity to the poor, and eventually retired to a hermitage. Lüftelberg, in the Archdiocese of Cologne, is named for her. As a result of the miracles that occurred after her death, her grave in the parish church there became the center of a cult of which the first evidence is in the work of caesarius of heisterbach in 1222. Her relics were exhumed in 1623 and enclosed in a marble sarcophagus in 1902. Her aid is invoked by sufferers of head and ear maladies.

Feast: Jan. 23.

Bibliography: Acta Sanctorum Jan. 3:750753. a. steffens, Die hl. Lüfthildis v. Lüftelberg (Cologne 1903). a. butler, The Lives of the Saints, rev. ed. h. thurston and d. attwater (New York 1956) 1:157. j. torsy, ed., Lexikon der deutschen Heiligen, Seligen, Ehrwürdigen und Gottseligen (Cologne 1959) 358. m. frank, Die Volksheilige L. von L. und ihre Attribute in Legende, Kult und Brauch (Düsseldorf 1959).

[m. b. ryan]