On this day in 1136, the Benedictine Abbess Jutta died at Disibodenberg.
"Jutta was like a river with many tributaries, overflowing with the grace of God." --Hildegard of Bingen
Jutta, anchoress and foundress of the women's cloister at Disibodenberg, and spiritual mother to Hildegard, was born to Count Stephan II of Sponheim and his wife Sophia of Formbach in 1092.
Her father died when she was three, and she was "nurtured with great care by her widowed mother". At the age of twelve when "she was laid low by a severe illness, . . . she vowed to God that if she survived she would undertake a holy way of life". After recovering, the beautiful girl had many suitors. "Many nobles and wealthy landowners were coming to her, even from far-off places, panting to be joined to her in the marriage union."
--fromhttp://books.google.com/books?id=L_WL9R92dF4C&pg=PA46&lpg=PA46&dq=death+of+blessed+jutta&source=bl&ots=HcDpZwcjMW&sig=lOfpG6OtauQTlWfTgxOkFAJN2HY&hl=en&ei=vOAQTfTZE8X6lwfkltS3DA&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=3&ved=0CCEQ6AEwAg#v=onepage&q=death%20of%20blessed%20jutta&f=false>Jutta & Hildegard: The Biographical Sources, by Anna Silvas, Pennsylvania State University Press, 1999.
Jutta kept her vow, and at the age of twenty, with two companions, she was enclosed as an anchoress attached to the monastery at Disibodenberg.
Throughout her religious life, Jutta practiced extraordinary penance and became known as a healer. "Through her consoling words, many were restored from all kinds of wretched conditions." She was so renowned for her wisdom that "all those from round about of whatever rank, nobles or common people, rich or poor, pilgrims or tenants, were asking only after the anchoress, the lady Jutta; they waited on her alone as on a heavenly oracle".
On December 2, 1136, Jutta had a vision of a saint beloved by the Germans. "Do not be afraid, for I am Oswald, once king of the English people, and I have now come to you, that I might let you know the day of your departure, which you have obtained today from the Lord by your daily prayers."
For the next twenty days, suffering with fever, Jutta comforted her ten disciples. She received Viaticum almost every day, and on December 22, she died. Hildegard and two other disciples prepared her body for burial.
Hildegard succeeded Jutta as abbess, and when she left Disibodenberg to found her own convent at Rupertsberg, it was with the financial assistance of Jutta's brother, Count Meinhard.
On this day at Vespers, we sing: O King of the Gentiles and the Desired of all, you are the cornerstone that binds two into one. Come and save man whom you fashioned out of clay.