Posted by: anna | January 21, 2010

St Gudula

icon image from Western Saints Icon Project shows St Gudula with her great-great aunt and teacher, St Gertrude of Nivelle – the icon is at the parish of St. Athanasius and St. Amandus, Lillois, Belgium, part of the Eglise Orthodoxe des Gaules.

Here in Britain it’s the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. That includes unity among the Orthodox churches…

Today (8 January) we commemorate St. Gudula (late 7th-early 8th century), feasts Jan. 8, July 6, Sept. 14, Nov. 15, 16 (ERGOULE, GAULD, GOULE, GUDILA; in Flemish, SINTE R. GOELEN, or SINTE K. GOOLE), V. -f- 712. Patron of Brussels. This must be a record for number of feast days! From Miss Dunbar:

In art, she often carries a lantern, sometimes an embroidery frame, sometimes a book in one hand and a long candle in the other. In common with ST. GENEVIEVE, of Paris, she is attended by an angel and a devil, the latter blowing out her torch or candle, the angel relighting it (Cahier).

Gudula was the youngest daughter of Count Witger and ST. AMALBERGA, niece of Pepin, of Herstal, mayor of the palace. Gudula was sister of St. Emebert, bishop of Cambrai, and of SS. REYNELD and PHARAILDIS, and related to ALDEGUND and WALTRUDE. She was brought up at Nivelle by her great-great-aunt and godmother, ST. GERTRUDE, after whose death she returned to her father’s house. She made a vow of virginity, and led an austere religious life, giving all her fortune in alms. Early every morning she used to walk two miles to church at Morzelles, accompanied by a maid servant carrying a lantern. One day the light was blown out, but the saint took it in her hands, and it was miraculously lighted again. She used to go into church barefooted, but her humility led her to conceal this act of mortification. The priest, however, perceiving that she had no shoes on, lent her his gloves to put under the soles of her feet; she took them and thanked him, but when he had turned his back, she threw them away, and they remained hanging in the air for an hour. She cured miraculously a woman in an advanced stage of leprosy.

Gudula was buried on Jan. 8, before the door of the oratory of the village of Ham. Next day a poplar that grew close to her grave appeared in full leaf, or, according to another version of the story, it sprang up in one night.

The oldest Life of St. Gudula is by Hubert, who lived 350 years after her death. It is preserved in Bouquet’s Acceuil de Documents, iii. p. 628, by Bollandus, AA.SS., Jan. 8. Duchesne. Some of the legends are of later growth. She also appears in Surius, Butler, Martin, and other collections.

More:

Tropaire à sainte Gudule, vierge, (Natalice en 712 A.D.) Ton 4

Ta mère était la dévote sainte Amalberge,*
Eduquée par sainte Gertrude de Nivelles,*
Tu décidas de te consacrer au Seigneur.*
Tu retournas chez toi en vierge consacrée,*
Consacrant ta vie à la pure charité.*
Sainte Gudule, prie le Christ-Dieu pour nos âmes!

Your mother was the devout St Amalberga,
Educated by St Gertrude of Nivelles,
You resolved to consecrate yourself to the Lord.
You returned home in consecrated virginity,
Consecrating your life to pure charity.
Holy St Gudula, pray to Christ God for our souls!

Tropaire de sainte Gudule Ton 2
Par amour véritable pour le Christ
Tu en es devenue l’illustre fiancée;
Demeurant vierge tu as connu la vraie joie
D’être en esprit la mère des indigents.
Aux misérables tu as voué ta sainte vie
Et dans les pauvres tu as vu l’image du Seigneur;
Sans cesse prie donc le Maître pour nous
Qui fêtons de tout coeur ta mémoire sacrée.

By the true love of Christ
In it you became the illustrious bride;
Remaining a virgin, you knew the true joy
Of being in spirit the mother of the poor.
You vowed your holy life to the wretched
And you saw the image of the Lord in the poor;
Pray without ceasing to the Master
For us who celebrate your sacred memory with all our hearts.
Kondakion de sainte Gudule Ton 2

Dans le siècle tu as vécu la même vie
Que dans le cloître les moniales consacrées;
Sans voeu tu t’es acquittée de ton voeu:
Celui d’irradier autour de toi l’amour du Christ;
Et, pour ce qu’à ses moindres frères tu as fait,
Dans la lumière de Son Royaume Il t’a reçue;
Bienheureuse Gudule, intercède pour tous ceux
Qui vénèrent ta mémoire porteuse de Dieu.

In the world, you followed the same life
As consecrated nuns in the cloister;
Without vows, you fulfilled your vow:
To radiate around you the love of Christ’
And, because you did this for the least of his brothers,
He received you into the light of His Kingdom;
Blessed Gudula, God-Bearer, intercede for all
Who venerate your memory.

Sainte Gudule, priez pour nous.
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