Dec. 16, St. Adelaide, Empress

"As the thousandth year of our Lord's becoming flesh approaches, I yearn to behold this day, which knows no evening, in the forecourt of our Lord. I want to be dissolved in Christ."

--the Empress Adelaide to Odilo, Abbot of Cluny

She missed seeing the year 1000 by fifteen days. St. Adelaide died on Dec. 16, 999.

For details about the religious and political context in which the most powerful woman in Europe flourished, search for "Adelaide" in A.D. 1000: A World on the Brink of Apocalypse, by Richard Erdoes. (Introduction by Karen Armstrong.)

Adelaide and her beloved husband, Otto, were crowned and anointed Holy Roman Empress and Emperor by the scandalous Pope John XII. They raised five children, including a son who would be Otto II. After her son's death, Adelaide ruled as regent for Otto III, her grandson. When her regency ended, she continued her work for the Church, almsgiving, founding and reforming religious houses, and supporting the conversion of the Slavs. Adelaide withdrew finally to one of her foundations, Selz Abbey in Alsace, where she died at the age of 68.

Click here to see an icon of St. Adelaide.

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