St. Bertha, Widow, Abbess of Blangy in Artois
SHE was daughter of count Rigobert and Ursana, related to one of the kings of Kent in England. In the twentieth year of her age she was married to Sigefroi, by whom she had five daughters, two of whom, Gertrude and Deotila were saints. After her husband’s death, she put on the veil in the nunnery which she had built at Blangy in Artois, a little distance from Hesdin. Her daughters Gertrude and Deotila followed her example. She was persecuted by Roger or Rotgar, who endeavoured to asperse her with king Thierri III. to revenge his being refused Gertrude in marriage. But this prince, convinced of the innocence of Bertha, then abbess over her nunnery, gave her a kind reception, and took her under his protection. On her return to Blangy, Bertha finished her nunnery, and caused three churches to be built, one in honour of St. Omer, another she called after St. Vaast, and the third in honour of St. Martin of Tours. And then, after establishing a regular observance in her community, she left St. Deotila abbess in her stead, having shut herself in a cell, to be employed only in prayer. She died about the year 725. A great part of her relics are kept at Blangy. 1 See Mabillon, sec. 3. Ben. part. 1, p. 451, Bulteau, Hist. de l’Ordre de St. Benoît, t. 2, l. 4, c. 31, and Baillet on the 4th of July. 1
Note 1. The monastery of Blangy was founded in 686. Having been destroyed during the incursions of the Normans, it was rebuilt in the eleventh century, and given to the religious of the Order of St. Benedict. It is still in being.
Rev. Alban Butler (1711–73). Volume VII: July.
The Lives of the Saints. 1866.