Monday, September 22, 2014


St. Ermengild

Feast day: February 13

Ermengild of Ely,
Also known as Ermenilda, Erminilda
Death: 700 OR 703.

Queen and Benedictine nun, also called Ermenilda. The daughter of a king of Kent, England, and St. Sexburga, Ermengild married the king of Mercia. She helped spread the faith in Mercia until her husband's death in 675. She then became a nun at Milton at Minster, Sheppey. When her mother, who had served as abbess, retired, Ermengild succeeded to that Office. She then followed St. Sexburga to Ely, becoming abbess there also.

  She married Wulfhere, King of Mercia, and used her powerful influence to remove the remaining pockets of idolatry in a land which had been the last stronghold of Anglo-Saxon paganism. By her virtuous example and unwearied kindness she won the hearts of her subjects; she had great pity on all in distress, and throughout her life she bore her witness as a Christian queen.  Like her mother before her, the saintly Sexburga, the widowed Queen of Kent and abbess of Minster in Sheppey, she desired to be wholly devoted to God. On Wulfhere's death Erminilda joined her mother and succeeded her as abbess when her mother moved to Ely.  Later, Erminilda, too, migrated to the abbey of Ely, which was the center of a flourishing community, had the unusual distinction of having as its first abbesses a succession of three queens; for, before Sexburga, her sister, Queen Ethelreda had held the office.
Erminilda was the mother of Saint Werburga, and so this royal succession of Christian witness was carried into the fourth generation.

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