Adela (d. 735) and Irmina (d. 716?)

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Adela (d. 735) and Irmina (d. 716?)

Frankish saints. Birth dates unknown; Adela died on December 24, 735; Irmina died around 716; daughters of St. Dagobert II, Merovingian king of Austrasia (r. 674–678), and Matilda (an Anglo-Saxon princess); Adela married Alberic (a noble); children of Adela: one son.

Upon the 656 death of his father St. Sigibert III, king of Austrasia, Dagobert succeeded him. Since Dagobert was a boy of seven, it was easy for the mayor of the palace, Grimoald, to replace him with his own son. Dagobert was then spirited out of the country by defenders and taken to Ireland for refuge. Seventeen years later, in 673, Dagobert returned to Metz, capital of Austrasia in northeast France, and took possession of his throne.

While in exile, he had married and fathered one son (Lothair IV, r. 717–719) and four daughters, including Adela and Irmina. When Irmina's betrothed, Count Herman, died before setting their wedding date, she became a nun and subsequently founded a convent under Benedictine rule in an old castle in Horren, at Trier. Irmina's religious community was threatened when an epidemic broke out, and she asked for help from St. Willibrord, whose prayers, it was thought, ended the danger. In gratitude, Irmina offered Willibrord the land of Echternach, where he established his abbey.

Adela, meanwhile, had married, borne a son, and been widowed. Though she had many suitors, she followed her sister into the religious life. In about 690, Adela founded the convent of Palatiolum, not far from Trier (on the site of the town of Pfalzel), and became its first abbess. Adela died in 735, 20 years after the death of her sister Irmina. Both sisters were canonized as saints.