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Wivina

(d. 1170)


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(d. 1170),

abbess. A Fleming of noble birth, as a young woman she decided to be a nun: one of her suitors called Richard fell ill when she refused him. Restored to health by her prayers and counsel, he went his way, while at the age of twenty-three she became a hermit in a wood near Brussels called Grand-Bigard, with one companion. She also took her psalter with her, which survives at Orbais (Brabant). After a while her solitude was much disturbed by curious visitors, but one of them, Count Godfrey of Brabant, offered her land and endowment for a monastery. She ruled it as abbess, helped by monks from nearby Afflighem. The convent prospered in spite of accusations by some of her nuns that she lacked discretion in austerities. She refuted these accusations and died with a high reputation. Her tomb became a place of pilgrimage with many cures reported. A Life was written in the 13th century, but has little historical value. Her relics were translated to Notre Dame du Sablon, Brussels, in the 14th century and Urban VII confirmed her cult in 1625. Feast: 19 December; translation, 25 September.

B.L.S., xii. 147–8; Bibl. SS., xii. 1320–1.

Subjects: Christianity.


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