Anchoress and Abbess in Ninth-Century Saxony: The Lives of Liutbirga of Wendhausen and Hathumoda of Gandersheim (Paperback)
The Lives of Liutbirga of Wendhausen and Hathumoda of Gandersheim
Catholic University of America Press, 9780813215693, 204pp.
Publication Date: March 10, 2009
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Around the year 840, Liutbirga, the adopted daughter of a noble Saxon widow, asked to be walled into a cell in a church at one of the familys cloisters for religious women. She spent the last thirty years of her life in her cell, doing penance for her sins, fending off attacks by the devil, and instructing women in religion and handiwork through its one small window. Hathumoda, the daughter of a noble Saxon couple whose progeny would establish the first German empire, became abbess of a similar community of women when she was twelve years old. She too spent the rest of her life there, dying at the age of thirty-four in the course of an epidemic that swept across northwestern Europe. In spite of their confinement, both women made so great an impression on those who knew them that substantial biographies appeared within a few years of their deaths.