Wife of Clovis II, King of France, time and place of birth unknown; d. January; 680. According to some chronicles she came from England and was a descendant of the Anglo-Saxon kings, but this is a doubtful statement. It is certain that she was a slave in the service of the wife of Erchinoald, mayor of the palace of Neustria. Her unusual qualities of mind and her virtues inspired the confidence of her master who gave many of the affairs of the household into her charge and, after the death of his wife, wished to marry her. At this the young girl fled and did not return until Erchinoald had married again. About this time Clovis II met her at the house of the mayor of the palace, and was impressed by her beauty, grace, and the good report he had of her. He freed and married her, 649. This sudden elevation did not diminish the virtues of Bathilde but gave them a new lustre. Her humility, spirit of prayer, and large-hearted generosity to the poor were particularly noticeable.
Seven years after their marriage Clovis II died, 656, leaving Bathilde with three sons, Clothaire, Childeric, and Thierry. An assembly of the leading nobles proclaimed Clothaire III, aged five, king under the regency of his mother, Bathilde. Aided by the authority and advice of Erchinoald and the saintly bishops, Eloi (Eligius) of Noyon, Ouen of Rouen, Leéger of Autun, and Chrodebert of Paris, the queen was able to carry out useful reforms. She abolished the disgraceful trade in Christian slaves, and firmly repressed simony among the clergy. She also led the way in founding charitable and religious institutions, such as hospitals and monasteries. Through her generosity the Abbey of Corbey was founded for men, and the Abbey of Chelles near Paris for women. At about this date the famous Abbeys of Jumièges, Jouarre, and Luxeuil were established, most probably in large part through Bathilde’s generosity. Berthilde, the first Abbess of Chelles, who is honoured as a saint, came from Jouarre. The queen wished to renounce her position and enter the religious life, but her duties kept her at court. Erchinoald died in 659 and was succeeded by Ebroin. Notwithstanding the ambition of the new mayor of the palace, the queen was able to maintain her authority and to use it for the benefit of the kingdom. After her children were well established in their respective territories, Childeric IV in Austrasia and Thierry in Burgundy, she returned to her wish for a secluded life and withdrew to her favourite Abbey of Chelles near Paris.
On entering the abbey she laid down the insignia of royalty and desired to be the lowest in rank among the inmates. It was her pleasure to take her position after the novices and to serve the poor and infirm with her own hands. Prayer and manual toil occupied her time, nor did she wish any allusion made to the grandeur of her past position. In this manner she passed fifteen years of retirement. At the beginning of the year 680 she had a presentiment of the approach of death and made religious preparation for it. Before her own end, that of Radegonde occurred, a child whom she had held at the baptismal font and had trained in Christian virtue. She was buried in the Abbey of Chelles and was canonized by Pope Nicholas I. The Roman martyrology places her feast on 26 January; in the Province of Europe it is celebrated 30 January.
Vitae Sancte Bathildis
INTROIT Psalm 118: 75, 120
I know, O Lord, that Thy judgments are equity, and in Thy truth Thou hast humbled me : pierce Thou my flesh with Thy fear, I am afraid of Thy judgments. (Psalm 118) Blessed are the undefiled in the way : who walk in the law of the Lord. v. Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Ghost, as it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end. Amen. Repeat I know, O Lord…
O God, Who didst teach blessed Bathildis to leave the pomp of the world for the humble following of Thy cross, grant that, through her merits and intercession, we may learn to trample under foot the perishable delights of the world and in the embrace of Thy cross to overcome all things that oppose us. Who livest and reignest, with God the Father, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, Forever and ever. R. Amen
Of the Blessed Virgin Mary
O God, it was through the motherhood of the Blessed Virgin Mary that Thou didst bestow the gift of eternal life upon mankind. Grant that we may feel the powerful intercession of Mary, through whom we were privileged to receive the giver of life, Jesus Christ, Thy Son, our Lord…
For the Church
Graciously accept the prayers of Thy Church, we beseech Thee, O Lord, that, overcoming all hostility and error, She may serve Thee in safety and freedom. Through the same Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, one God Forever and ever. R. Amen
EPISTLE Wisdom 31: 10-31
Lesson from the Book of Wisdom. Who shall find a valiant woman? the price of her is as of things brought from afar off, and from the uttermost coasts. The heart of her husband trusteth in her, and he shall have no need of spoils. She will render him good and not evil all the days of her life. She hath sought wool and flax, and hath wrought by the counsel of her hands: she is like the merchant’s ship, she bringeth her bread from afar: and she hath risen in the night, and given a prey to her household, and victuals to her maidens: she hath considered a field and bought it; with the fruit of her hands she hath planted a vineyard. She hath girded her loins with strength, and hath strengthened her arm. She hath tasted and seen that her traffic is good; her lamp shall not be put out in the night. She hath put out her hands to strong things, and her fingers have taken hold of the spindle. She hath opened her hand to the needy, and stretched out her hands to the poor. She shall not fear for her house in the cold of snow: for all her domestics are clothed with double garments. She hath made for herself clothing of tapestry; fine linen and purple is her covering. Her husband is honorable in the gates, when he sitteth among the senators of the land. She made fine linen and sold it, and delivered a girdle to the Chanaanite. Strength and beauty are her clothing: and she shall laugh in the latter day. She hath opened her mouth to wisdom, and the law of clemency is on her tongue: she hath looked well to the paths of her house, and hath not eaten her bread idle. Her children rose up, and called her blessed; her husband, and he praised her. Many daughters have gathered together riches; thou hast surpassed them all. Favor is deceitful, and beauty is vain: the woman that feareth the Lord, she shall be praised. Give her of the fruit of her hands; and let her works praise her in the gates.
GRADUAL (Ps 9: 10,11,19, 20) TRACT (Ps 129: 1-4)
Grace is poured abroad in thy lips: therefore hath God blessed thee for ever. V. Because of truth, and meekness, and justice: and thy right hand shall conduct thee wonderfully.
Come, O spouse of Christ, receive the crown which the Lord hath prepared for thee for ever. V. Thou hast loved justice and hated iniquity: therefore God, thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows. V. With thy comeliness and thy beauty set out prosperously to reign.
GOSPEL St. Matthew 13: 44-52
At that time, Jesus spoke this parable to His disciples: “The kingdom of heaven is like unto a treasure hidden in a field; which a man having found, hid it, and for joy thereof goeth, and selleth all that he hath, and buyeth that field. Again, the kingdom of Heaven is like to a merchant seeking good pearls. Who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went his way and sold all that he had, and bought it. Again, the kingdom of Heaven is like to a net cast into the sea, and gathering together of all kinds of fishes; which, when it was filled, they drew out, and sitting by the shore, they chose out the good into vessels, but the bad they cast forth. So shall it be at the end of the world. The angels shall go out, and shall separate the wicked from among the just, and shall cast them into the furnace of fire; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Have ye understood all these things?” They say to Him, ‘Yes.’ He said unto them,”Therefore every scribe instructed in the kingdom of Heaven, is like to a man who is a householder, who bringeth forth out of his treasure new things and old.”
OFFERTORY ANTIPHON Psalm 44: 3
Grace is poured abroad in thy lips : therefore God hath blessed thee for ever and for ages of ages.
May the offerings of thy holy people be accepted by Thee, O Lord, in honor of Thy saints, through whose merits they know that they have received aid in time of trouble. Through our Lord Jesus Christ Thy Son our Lord, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, one God Forever and ever. R.Amen.
Of the Blessed Virgin Mary
Through Thy clemency, O Lord, and by the intercession of blessed Mary ever Virgin, may this offering avail unto our prosperity and peace, now and for evermore…
For the Church
Protect us, we beseech Thee, O Lord, who assist at Thy mysteries, that holding fast to things divine, we may serve Thee both in body and soul. Through the same Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, one God Forever and ever. R. Amen
PREFACE of the Common
It is truly meet and just, right and for our salvation that we should at all times and in all places, give thanks unto Thee, O holy Lord, Father almighty, everlasting God: through Christ our Lord. Through Whom the Angels praise Thy Majesty, the Dominations worship it, the Powers stand in awe. The Heavens and the Heavenly hosts together with the blessed Seraphim in triumphant chorus unite to celebrate it. Together with them we entreat Thee, that Thou mayest bid our voices also to be admitted, while we say in lowly praise: HOLY, HOLY, HOLY…
COMMUNION ANTIPHON Psalm 44: 8
Thou hast loved injustice and hated iniquity : therefore God thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows.
Thou hast filled Thy household, O Lord, with sacred gifts; ever comfort us, we beseech Thee, by the intercession of the saint whose festival we celebrate. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Who livest and reignest, with God the Father, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, one God For ever and ever. R. Amen.
Of the Blessed Virgin Mary
May this Communion, O Lord, cleanse us from sin and bestow on us spiritual health from heaven through the intercession of blessed Mary ever Virgin, the Mother of God…
For the Church
We beseech Thee, O Lord our God, that Thou wouldst not allow to be exposed to human perils, those whom Thou hast been pleased to make sharers of these divine mysteries. Through the same Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, one God Forever and ever. R. Amen