Ida of Herzfeld

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Saint Ida of Herzfeld (c. 788 – c. 825) was the widow of a Saxon duke who devoted her life to the poor following the death of her husband in 811. Among her reported acts of kindness were filling a stone coffin with food each day, then giving it to the poor; she also reportedly founded the church at Hovestadt, Westphalia, and the convent of Herzfeld, Westphalia, sometimes recorded as Hirutveldun.

She was canonized on November 26, 980, is the patron saint of brides and widows and is frequently depicted either as carrying a church or with a dove hovering over her head. Her feast day is September 4. Her Life is sometimes quoted in support of the proposition that sexual congress within the institution of marriage reflects spiritual unities as well:

At the moment when the two are united in one flesh, there is present in them a single and similar operation of the Holy Spirit: when they are linked together in each other's arms in an external unity, which is to say, a physical unity, this indivisible action of the Holy Spirit inflames them with a powerful interior love directed towards celestial realities.


She has sometimes also been identified as Redburga or Raedburh, who was, by some accounts, either the sister-in-law of Charlemagne, his sister, the daughter of his sister-in-law. his niece or his great-granddaughter. This Raedburh reportedly married king Egbert of Wessex in 800.

The details of Saint Ida's life, however, make it unlikely that she was married to the Egbert who was...
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