Saint of the Day ~ December 16

Holy woman – Patroness of abuse victims and prisoners

Today, the Church honors Saint Adelaide of Burgundy, once Regent of the Holy Roman Empire who used her influence to aid the poor and evangelize the uninformed and uneducated.

Adelaide was the daughter of King Rudolph II of Burgundy, France, and was born around the year 931. In an arranged marriage as part of a treaty between Rudolf and Hugh of Provence, Adelaide was promised in marriage at the age of two to Lothaire, Hugh’s son and heir. She was married at the age of sixteen, and her husband eventually became king of Italy.

King Lothaire was killed three years later, and Adelaide was to have a tumultuous life including an unjust imprisonment – a life that paralleled the struggle for political power of the times, something she had come to symbolize.

Having been sought after by various kings and nobles after Lothaire’s death, she was finally married to Otto the Great of Germany who had conquered Italy and rescued her from imprisonment. In 962, Pope John XII crowned Otto as the emperor of the Holy Roman Empire, and Adelaide ruled at his side until his death in 973, upon which her stepson, Otto II, became emperor.

For the next eighteen years, Adelaide continued to live a life in turmoil, being ill treated by her step-son, until, in 991, Adelaide was invested as the Regent of the Empire and she used her power as the effective empress to help the poor and to evangelize the Christian truths, especially in northern Europe. She built many monasteries and churches, and eventually retired to a convent in Seltz near Cologne, which she had founded. Though she never became a religious sister, she spent the rest of her days there in prayer until her death on December 16, 999.

Empress Adelaide was canonized a saint by Blessed Pope Urban II in the year 1097.

We commemorate her feastday on December 16.

(From, and



(The following prayer is from the Roman Breviary from the Commons of Holy Women working for the underprivileged)

“Lord God, You teach us that the Commandments of Heaven are summarized in love of You and love of our neighbor. By following the example of Saint Adelaide in practicing works of charity, may we be counted among the blessed in Your Kingdom.

“Grant this through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, who lives and reigns with You in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.”

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