Died: 999 Alsace, (Germany at the time but
now part of France) Feast Day: 16th December Patron Saint: Abuse Victims, Empresses, People in
Exile, In-law Problems, Parents of Large Families, Princesses, Prisoners,
Second Marriages, Step-parents
Saint Adelaide, daughter of Rudulph II of Upper
Burgundy was married to Lothair, King of Italy, at the age of 16, after having
been betrothed to him at 2. She gave birth to Emma but Lothair, probably
poisoned by his successor Berengar died.
Berenger ordered Adelaide to marry his son, she refused and was imprisoned.
Not long after this Otto the Great of Germany
defeated Berenger, freed Adelaide and married her on Christmas Day 951 at
Pavia. In 962 they were crowned emperor
and empress by Pope John XII. After Otto’s
death in 973 Adelaide lived a turbulent life for 20 years, her daughter-in-law Theophano
turning her son Otto II against her, who she was influencing. However, by 983
they had reconciled, and Otto appointed her Viceroy.
Not long after this, Otto II died leaving his son
Otto III entrusted to the throne with his mother and grandmother. Again, Theophano evicted Adelaide from the
court. Theophano died in 991 when Adelaide took over the regency until Otto
came of age in 995.
From this point, Adelaide was able to devote her
time to founding and restoring monasteries and convents, evangelising Slavs,
and helping the poor. She had a special friendship with the monastery of Cluny
and its Abbots St Majolus and St Odilo. In
Odilo’s memoir of Adelaide, he wrote she was ‘a marvel of beauty and goodness’.
Adelaide eventually retired to Seltz, a convent
near Cologne, which she had helped to have built. Although she never became a Nun, she spent
the rest of her days there in prayer.