Saint Bathild

Saint Bathild
Born: c633 East Anglia, UK
Died: 30th January 680, France
Feast Day: 30th January
Patron Saint: against bodily ills, against illness, against sickness, Children, Sick people, Widows
Shrine: Chelles, France
Also Known As: Baldahildis, Bathilde, Bathilda, Bathild, Bathylle, Batilde, Bathildis, Balthilde, St.Bathilde, Bilihilde, Bilichild,
Canonised: c. 880 by Pope Nicholas I

Saint Bathild was born in East Anglia in England around 633 but was enslaved in 641 when she was captured by the Danish and sold to Erchinoald, chief officer of Clovis II, King of the Franks.  She was a beautiful girl and helped her fellow servants as well as charming those around her.

The Officer wanted Bathild as his wife, but she hid from him in old clothes and stayed with the lower servants.  Thinking she had run away, he married someone else.  Her next suitor was the King.  She was 19 by then and when she took off the poor clothes and went back to her normal duties, Clovis spotted her.  Thus in 649, the slave-girl became queen of France.  She had 3 sons all who became kings.  When Clovis died, she was appointed regent for her eldest son who was only 5 and ruled for 8 years with Saint Eligius as her adviser.

As queen she did all she could to relieve those held as slaves.  She was holy and devout and helped promote Christianity.  At that time, the poorer inhabitants of France were often obliged to sell their children as slaves to meet the crushing taxes imposed upon them. Bathild reduced this taxation, forbade the purchase of Christian slaves and the sale of French subjects, and declared that any slave who set foot in France would from that moment be free. Thus, she earned the love of her people and was a pioneer in the abolition of slavery.

She established many abbeys including Saint-Denis and Chelles, built hospitals and sold her own possessions to help the poor.  When Clotaire was old enough to rule without her, she retire to the Abbey at Chelles near Paris serving and obeying like the least of the sisters.  She died here just before she reached 50, she received a vision of a ladder reaching from the alter to heaven which she climbed and was with angels before her death.