GREAT BRITAIN OF MY HEART
FRANCE OF MY HEART
Queen of France & Nun of Chelles in France, from England (+680)
Saint Balthild of Ascania (Old English: Bealdhild, ‘bold sword’ or ‘bold spear; around 626 – January 30, 680), also called Bathilda, Baudour, or Bauthieult, was the wife and queen of Clovis II, the king of Burgundy and Neustria (639–658).
Saint Balthild was sold into slavery as a young girl and served in the household of Erchinoald, the mayor of the palace of Neustria to Clovis.
Saint Balthild was born circa 626–627. She was beautiful, intelligent, modest and attentive to the needs of others. Erchinoald, whose wife had died, was attracted to Balthild and wanted to marry her, but she did not want to marry him. She hid herself away and waited until Erchinoald had remarried. Later, possibly because of Erchinoald, Clovis noticed her and asked for her hand in marriage.
Even as queen, Saint Balthild remained humble and modest. She is famous for her charitable service and generous donations. From her donations, the abbeys of Corbie and Chelles were founded: it is likely that others such as Jumièges, Jouarre and Luxeuil were also founded by the queen. She provided support for Saint Claudius of Besançon and his abbey in the Jura Mountains.
Saint Balthild bore Clovis three children, all of whom became kings: Clotaire, Childeric and Theuderic.
When Clovis died (between 655 and 658), his eldest son Clotaire succeeded to the throne, aged five. His mother St Balthild acted as the queen regent. As queen, she was a capable stateswoman. She abolished the practice of trading Christian slaves and strove to free children who had been sold into slavery. This claim is corroborated by Jane Tibbetts Schulenburg, who mentions that St Balthild and Saint Eloi (who was also known as Eligius, according to Dado) “worked together on their favorite charity, the buying and freeing of slaves”. After her three sons reached adulthood and had become established in their respective territories (Clotaire in Neustria, Childeric in Austrasia, and Theuderic in Burgundy), St Balthild withdrew to her favourite Abbey of Chelles near Paris.
Saint Balthild died on January 30, 680, and was buried at the Abbey of Chelles, east of Paris. Saint Balthild was canonised by Pope Nicholas I, around 200 years after her death.
Saints of France