This calendar of saints is drawn from several denominations, sects, and traditions. Although it will no longer be updated daily, the index on the right will guide visitors to a saint celebrated on any day they choose. Additional saints will be added as they present themselves to Major.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

February 5 -- Feast of Saint Adelaide of Vilich

It's good to be good, but it is also good to have connections.  I don't dispute that Adelaide was good, but the connections were probably the difference between sainthood and obscurity.  [Okay, I admit that Saint Adelaide IS obscure.  But think how much more obscure she would be if she had not been canonized.]

First, the good.  As an abbess, first at Vilich and then at Koln (Cologne), her rule was marked by kindness and generosity to the poor, especially during a famine.  That's certainly goodness, but no more than one might hope from a religious community.  She also insisted that the sisters under her direction studied Latin so they could better understand the Mass.  That's a remarkably progressive view for the tenth century.  Of course my Latin students would say that insisting that the sisters all study the language is a crime against humanity rather than an act of goodness and progressive vision.  It was said that miracles occurred at her tomb, and that water from her spring can heal or cure afflictions of the eyes.

Der Alte -- Konrad Adenauer
Okay, that was the good; now, the connections.  She was the daughter of Count Megengose of Guelder, the founder of several convents.  He and his wife placed her in the Ursuline convent in Koln, but later bought her back out of it and placed her in a new convent in Vilich (Bonn, near Koln).  Her mom may have been the abbess of this house; after her mom's death, Adelaide became the abbess.  She discontinued the Ursuline affiliation, installing instead the Benedictine Rule.  This wasn't terribly successful, so she subordinated her house to a larger Benedictine abbey in Koln, Our Lady of the Capitol.  An older sister of Adelaide was the abbess of the big house; upon her death, Adelaide took over.

Konrad Adenauer was the post-War Chancellor of Germany, a Roman Catholic, and an advocate for the formal canonization of Adelaide.  Having been Mayor of Bonn, Adenauer spoke forcefully for the local girl.  In 1966, three years after Adenauer resigned from the office of Chancellor and a year before his death, Adelaide was formally recognized as a canonical saint.  In 2008, she was further recognized as the Patron of the Bonn / Cologne region.

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