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 3, 2013

February 3 -- Feast of Saint Berlindis of Meerbeke

The Saint and the cup
Filial piety is a virtue, but there are limits.  Poor Berlindis, daughter of Duke Odelard of Lothringia, was a loyal daughter.  Odelard's wife, Nona, had died when Berlindis was twelve, and being the warrior type, Odelard didn't bother taking another wife.  He had, after all, a daughter to care for him and a son named Eligard to inherit his lands.  Sadly, Eligard was killed in the wars against the Normans and Odelard returned home with leprosy. 

Berlindis tended her dad faithfully as his grew more infirm, but wiped down his wine cup before she herself used it.  He saw this, and waxed wroth, as they say in the epics.  Disinherited, she was.  Out the door and down the road. 

Always with the cup
Knowing that she had failed to keep the Fifth Commandment (or Fourth if you are using the Augustinian count instead of the Talmudic) -- the one about honoring your father and your mother -- she sought a life of penance.  She joined the Sisters of Saint Mary Convent at Moorsel, a hard life since the invading Normans had pillaged the place. 

Oddly enough, she was allowed to reclaim the family property after her father's death.  So much for his wishes to disinherit her.  Perhaps he expressed some regret on his deathbed, or perhaps the local opinion-makers had all thought her badly used.  In any event, she buried the Duke next to Nona in the churchyard and established a convent in the old family home.  The bulk of the estate's producewas given to the poor as the sisters themselves lived very austere lives.  The ground for their mattresses, stones for their pillows, gruel and rough bread for their feasts.  After her death, she was buried beside her parents and acknowledged as a saint. 

I would have assigned her as patroness of filial concord, but somehow she wound up as a healer of livestock.  I'd be more likely to ask Tryphon the Gooseherd's help with sick animals, but folks will ask whatever they want of whomever they want, myself included.  So Saint Berlindis, if you've got a moment, give my Dad an encouraging word if you see him around. 

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