Mechthildis, St

Mechthildis, ST.

a younger sister of St. Gertrude (q.v.), of the ancient and renowned family of Hackeborn, was born at Eisleben in the early part of the 13th century. She early manifested a decided taste for religious exercises, and at the age of seven, having gone one day with her mother to visit the Convent of Rodersdorf, occupied by Benedictine nuns, she was so much delighted with it that she insisted one remaining in it. She was allowed to become a novice, and fulfilled all the duties imposed upon her in that position with great zeal, showing herself particularly serviceable in taking care of the poor' and the afflicted. At the end of her noviciate she took the veil, and remained in the convent until 1258, when, together with the other nuns.

she removed to that of Helpede, where she died shortly after. Inclining from youth to mysticism, she, like her sister Gertrude, claimed to have had visions, but she steadfastly declined writing them down; this was, however, done against her will, by one of her friends, under the title Revelationes selectae S. Mathildis, together with a short biographical notice. These mystic pieces are not only full of elevated thoughts and aspirations, but give evidence of a thorough acquaintance with Scripture. The best edition is that published, together with a German translation, in the Bibliotheca mystica et ascetica (Cologne, 1854, pt. x).

Another Mechthildis, also honored as a saint in the Roman Catholic Church, flourished near the middle of the 12th century. She was a descendant of the counts of Andechs. In early youth she commenced to manifest signs of piety, and when she attained the requisite age she became a nun in the Convent of Diessen, in Bavaria. Here she acquired such reputation for piety and zeal that she was elected abbess ins 1153. Some years afterwards she was obliged, at the command of the bishop, to go as abbess to the Convent of Edelstetten, which she was to renovate. She labored there with her usual zeal, and proved very successful, yet she always regretted leaving her former convent, and during her last illness. was removed to it. She died May 31, 1160. She is commemorated April 10. See Herzog, Real-Encyklop. 9:223; Wetzer u. Welte, Kirchen-Lex. 12:788.

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