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St. Radegunde

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Feastday: August 13
Patron of Jesus College, Cambridge
Death: 586

Radegunde, daughter of Berthaire, pagan king of a portion of Thuringia, she was probably born at Erfurt, Thuringia, Germany. Her father was murdered by his brother, Hermenefrid, who in 531 was defeated by king Theodoric of Austrasia and king Clotaire I of Neustria, and Clotaire took twelve year old Radegunde captive. Six years later he married her. She devoted herself to the poor, the sick, and captives, founded a leper hospital, and bore Clotaire's cruelties uncomplainingly until he murdered her brother, Unstrut. She then left the court, received the deaconess habit from Bishop Medard at Noyon, and became a nun at Saix. About 557, she built the double monastery of the Holy Cross at Poitiers, to which she retired and which she developed into a great center of learning. She was active in peacemaking roles, lived in great austerity, and secured a relic of the True Cross for the Church of her monastery. She lived the last years of her life in seclusion and died at the monastery on August 13. Venantius Fortunatus, a priest at Poitiers, wrote her biography. Her feast day is August 13.


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