Friday, May 05, 2006

St. Judith of Prussia


This post is dedicated in memoriam of the victims of the Armenian airline crash in Sochi, Russia. Eternal rest grant unto their souls O Lord eternal rest.

Today is the feast day of St. Judith of Prussia. The area known as Prussia was inhabited in early times by West Slavic tribes, ancestors of the modern Poles, in the West, and Baltic tribes, closely related to Lithuanians, in the East. Sometime after the seventh century, the area was invaded and settled by pagan German tribes, later known as Prussians. Read more of the history of Prussia here.

St. Judith lived in the thirteenth century. She was born in Thuringia. This was in what is now central Germany. She wanted to model her life on the example of St. Elizabeth of Hungary. This saint's feast is celebrated on November 17.

St. Elizabeth of Hungary had lived from 1207 until 1231. She had been proclaimed a saint in 1235. In St. Judith's time, many Christian women were influenced by her inspiring example. Judith of Prussia was married at fifteen to a wealthy young nobleman. Judith tried to be a good Christian wife. She was especially generous with the poor. Her husband was a good man, but he was satisfied with his wealthy lifestyle. He expected his wife to dress and live like a rich woman.

He felt that their well-dressed look would win them respect. But Judith gently persuaded him to live and dress more simply. By doing this, they would have more to give to people less fortunate than themselves. Judith's husband died suddenly while on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. The young widow raised her children alone. When the children grew up, Judith listened to a longing that had been in her heart during the busy, happy days of her life. She gave away everything and lived as a hermit.

She moved to Prussia where people would not know that she was from a wealthy family. There she spent her time praying and taking care of weary travelers who passed by her little hut. She prayed especially for the conversion of nonbelievers. She prayed also for the newly baptized Christians to be true to their faith. "Three things can lead us close to God," she once said. "They are painful physical suffering, being in exile in a foreign land, and being poor by choice because of love for God."

St. Judith died of fever in 1260. Whenever we start to worry about the impression we are making, we can pray to St. Judith. We can ask her to help us keep our sights on God. That is more important than worrying over what people say about us.

May 2006 Saints.


Blogger Athanasius contra mundo said...

St Judith lead an inspiring life and she's a good example to follow. Thanks for posting about her.

8:53 PM  
Blogger Saint Peter's helpers said...

You're welcome!

7:50 PM  

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