Matilda, the daughter of a German count, was brought up at the monastery of Erfurt in Germany. She was betrothed at age 14 to Henry, who became the king of Germany. She would bear him two sons: Otto and Henry.

Matilda became admired by her subjects almost like a mother. She visited and tended the sick, helped those in prison and was famous for her generosity. Henry said he was a better king because of his wife’s good works and example. Though their marriage had been arranged, they grew to sincerely love each other. Matilda founded several Benedictine abbeys and influenced her husband’s kindness toward his subjects.

The couple was married for 23 years when the king died suddenly in 936. Bereft, she had a Mass said for her deceased husband and gave all the jewels she was wearing to the priest, signifying her intention to give up worldly things. Though Otto was the elder of her sons, Matilda favored Henry. Otto did become king and there was a power struggle between the siblings. Unfortunately, Henry had an untimely death and then Otto accused his mother of squandering the royal fortunes on her charities.

After years spent in practicing charity and penance, St. Matilda died peacefully in 968. She was buried beside her husband.

Adapted by A.J. Valentini from: U. (2020, March 4). St. Matilda. UCatholic.