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Thuringia Saints

Saint Radegunde

Radegunde, daughter of Berthaire, pagan king of a portion of Thuringia, she was probably born at Erfurt, Thuringia, Germany. Her father was murdered by his brother, Hermenefrid, who in 531 was defeated by king Theodoric of Austrasia and king Clotaire I of Neustria, and Clotaire took twelve year old Radegunde captive. Six years later he married her. She devoted herself to the poor, the sick, and captives, founded a leper hospital, and bore Clotaire's cruelties uncomplainingly until he murdered her brother, Unstrut. She then left the court, received the deaconess habit from Bishop Medard at Noyon, and became a nun at Saix. About 557, she built the double monastery of the Holy Cross at Poitiers, to which she retired and which she developed into a great center of learning. She was active in peacemaking roles, lived in great austerity, and secured a relic of the True Cross for the Church of her monastery. She lived the last years of her life in seclusion and died at the monastery on August 13. Venantius Fortunatus, a priest at Poitiers, wrote her biography. Her feast day is August 13.

Saint Gertrude

Saint Gertrude was born at Eisleben in Thuringia in 1256. As a young girl she was received into the Cisterian nuns at Helfta and applied herself to her studies, concentrating on literature and philosophy. Devoting her life to God, she dedicated herself to the pursuit of perfection, and gave herself over to prayer and contemplation. She died November 17, 1301.

Saint Elizabeth

Saint Elizabeth, born in 1207, was the daughter of Andrew, King of Hungary. At the age of four she was sent to the court of the Landgrave of Thuringia, to whose infant son she was betrothed. In 1221, she married Louis of Thuringia. She gave birth to three children. In spite of her position at court began to lead an austerely simple life, practiced penance, and devoted herself to works of charity, prayer and meditation. Her husband was himself much inclined to religion and highly esteemed her virtue, encouraging her in her exemplary life. Louis was killed while fighting with the Crusaders. After his death, Elizabeth left the court, made arrangements for the care of her children, and in 1228, renounced the world and embraced a life of poverty. She built the Franciscan hospital at Marburg and devoted herself to the care of the sick until her death at the age of 24 in 1231.