Austrebertha (635–704)

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Austrebertha (635–704)

Medieval abbess. Born in 635; died in 704; daughter of Count Badefroi of the Palatine and Frametilda.

Much admired as a holy woman, Austrebertha was the child of Count Badefroi of the Palatine and Frametilda , who was canonized. Badefroi and Frametilda tried to arrange a marriage for their daughter to a local noble when she was 16, but Austrebertha refused to go along with her parents' wishes; she preferred to live as a servant of God. To escape the wedding, the young woman secretly took the vows of a nun from a local bishop. During her long life as a holy woman, Austrebertha served as abbess at two establishments, in Port and later in Pavilly. Her noble birth and extreme dedication to serving God influenced the lives of many young noblewomen, who took Austrebertha as their model in freeing themselves from matrimonial ties. The abbess' charitable works and leadership abilities gained her the admiration of believers across Western Europe.

Laura York , Anza, California

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