05 May Saint Jutta of Thuringia, Widow
Today is the feast day of Saint Jutta of Thuringa. Ora pro nobis.
Saint Jutta (Judith in English), Jutta of Kulmsee, Jutta of Sangerhausen, or Judith of Prussia was born on Thuringa. She was a member of the very noble family of Sangerhausen with which the dukes of Brunswick were related. She was espoused to a nobleman of equal rank, but in the married state she was more intent upon virtue and the fear of God than upon worldly honor.
In the beginning the piety of Jutta displeased her husband, Freiherr Johannes Konopacki von Bielczna. But later he learned to value it and was heart and soul with her in her pious endeavors. He made a pilgrimage to the holy places in Jerusalem and died on the way. Saint Jutta received the news of his death with deep sorrow, but also with the most perfect conformity with the will of God, and resolved to spend her widowhood in a manner pleasing to God. (1)
She then decided in 1256, with her relative Anno von Sangerhausen, the Grand Master of the Teutonic Order, in the German Order area in the area of Kulmse, to enter an order. (6) Her several children embraced a religious life, in various Orders. (4) Saint Jutta, who had all been reared in the fear of God, with the consent of her confessor, disposed of her costly clothes and jewels. (1) She then entered the Third Order of St Francis, and wore the simple garment of a religious. (1)
By divine inspiration, Saint Jutta went into this neighborhood about 1260, and built a little hermitage near a large body of water. There she prayed unceasingly for the conversion of the Prussians. The Christian inhabitants of the neighborhood sometimes beheld her raised high in the air in the fervor of her devotion. She had as her confessor the Franciscan Father John Lobedau, who died in the odor of sanctity, and later the bishop of Kulm. (1)
She lived in great sanctity in the forest for four years, and died in 1264. Her friend and confessor, Henry, bishop of Culuza, wanted to bury her quietly according to her own inclination, but he could not prevent an immense concourse of people assembling from the surrounding country, so that such a multitude had never been seen in Culuza before. Thirteen priests were present at the funeral, a great number at that time, when none but missionaries had settled there, and most of those had been massacred by the barbarians.
She was buried in the Church of the Holy Trinity. Fifteen years afterwards, steps were taken for her canonization, in consequence of her great renown for sanctity and the numerous miracles wrought at her tomb. (4)
Image: Église Notre-Dame de l’Assomption de Brie. Détail. Sainte-Judith. (7)