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St. Cunegundes, Empress (Patroness of Lithuania) Feast - March 3
The father of St. Cunegundes was Sigfrid, first Count of Luxemburg. After a pious education, she was married to St. Henry, Duke of Bavaria, who, upon the death of Emperor Otho III, was chosen King of the Romans. St. Cunegundes was crowned at Paderborn in 1002. In 1014 she went with her husband to Rome and became Empress, receiving together with him the imperial crown from the hands Pope Benedict VIII. Though married, she lived in continence, for, with her husband's consent, she had made a vow of virginity before marriage. Calumniators accused her of scandalous conduct, but her innocence was signally vindicated by Divine Providence, as she walked over pieces of flaming irons without injury, to the great joy of the Emperor. Her husband, Henry II, died in 1024, leaving his widow comparatively poor, for she had given away nearly all her wealth in charitable works. In 1025, on the anniversary of his death, and on the occasion of the dedication of a monastery which she had built for Benedictine nuns at Kaffungen, she clothed herself with a poor habit, adopted the veil, which she received from the hands of the Bishop, and entered that same monastery. Her occupations consisted in prayer, reading, and manual labor, and thus she spent the last fifteen years of her life. She died in 1040, and her body was carried to Bamberg, where it was laid near that of her husband, St. Henry.
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