Monegonde, Sainte

Monegonde, Sainte a French Roman Catholic woman, noted as the foundress of a religious order, was born at Chartres in the early part of the 6th century. She was the descendant of a noble family, and was married, contrary to her own wishes, in obedience to her parents' will, and had two daughters, who died at an early age. The period of mourning having passed, she withdrew to a narrow cell, with no other opening than a shutter, where she received a little barley-flour, which she kneaded into bread. This was her sole nourishment, and even in this she indulged only when pressed by extreme hunger. After a considerable period, Sainte Monegonde left the city of Chartres in order to continue the same kind of life at Tours, near the tomb of St. Martin. The sensation produced by the miracles attributed to her aroused her husband and many of her friends, who took her back to Chartres; but, convinced by her urgent solicitations, they permitted her to return to Tours, where she formed a small religious order of women, called Les Filles spirituelles, with whom she continued her austerities until her death. St. Gregory of Tours refers to her so-called miracles, and aided her in building a monastery, called Saint-Pierre-le-Puellier. This edifice became a collegiate church for secular canons. It was burned in 1562 by the Calvinists, and Sainte Monegonde's body perished in the flames. She died at Tours, July 2, 570, and this day is still observed in her honor. See St. Gregoire, De Gloriae Confessorum; Martyrol. Rom. (July 2); Baillet, Vies des Saints, volume 2 (July 2); Richard and Giraud, Bibliotheque Sacree.

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