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Radegunda, St.


Queen of the Franks; d. Aug. 13, 587. Radegunda, born a Thuringian princess, fell as booty to the Frankish King Chlothar I (531) who had her educated and eventually married her. The murder of Radegunda's brother occasioned her leaving Chlothar to enter religion (c. 555). Chlothar helped her build a convent at Poitiers where she gathered many highborn converts (200 in 587), assembled a large collection of relics (notably one of the True cross, which gave the convent its name), introduced the rule of caesarius of arles (c. 570), and, having installed an abbess, strove to live as a simple nun. She maintained excellent relations with her stepsons, though not with the local bishop, and befriended the poet fortunatus. Popular canonization directly followed her death, and pilgrims still seek her tomb in Poitiers.

Feast: August 13.

Bibliography: Sources. gregory of tours, Historiarum libri, 3.4, 7; 6.29, 34; 7.36; 9.2, 3942, Monumenta Germaniae Historica Section: Scriptoes rerum Merovingivarum 1.1; Berlin 1951) 99100, 103105, 295297, 304305, 358, 415, 460474; De gloria confessorum 104, ibid. 1 (1885) 814816. v. fortunatus and baudonivia, De vita sanctae Radegundis libri duo, ibid. 2 (1888) 358395. v. fortunatus, Carmina, Monumenta Germaniae Historica. Auctores antiquissimi 4; Berlin 1881); La vie de sainte Radegonde par Fortunat, ed. r. favreau (Paris 1995). Literature. o. m. dalton, ed. and tr., The History of the Franks , 2 v. (Oxford 1927) 1:6769. a. m. zimmermann, Kalendarium Benedictinum: Die Heiligen und Seligen des Benediktinerorderns und seiner Zweige (Metten 193338) 2:571572. r. aigrain, Sainte Radegonde (new ed. Poitiers 1952). b. pischel, Radegunde: zur europäischen Volkskunde (Frankfurt 1997). d. kleinmann, Radegunde: eine europäische Heilige (Graz 1998).

[w. goffart]

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