I missed her Feast day, June 3rd, but I have a special fondness for the extraordinary saints from this much maligned period of history called the Middle-ages. The medieval era opened with a woman and a saint named Clotilda.
She was a princess, her parents ruling over Burgundy. Her family was Catholic; this is important because most of the barbarian kings at the time were arians, they denied the divinity of Christ. Her own mother was said to be a remarkable woman herself and schooled her in the truths of the Catholic faith. After the death of her father, her uncle Gondebaud, who was arian became King of Burgundy. Despite the pressure that she must have encountered, she remained faithful to the Church.
Clovis, the King of the Franks, having heard of her beauty, wisdom and royal descent, asked for her hand in marriage. Yes, said Clotilde, but to this yes she puts a condition: she must be free to practice her Catholic faith. She then left an arian nation for a pagan nation.
Clotilde gave birth to a first son, Ingomir and immediately asked for his baptism. Clovis accepted and the child was baptised by St. Remi in Rheims. However, he died suddenly a few days after. Mourning the death of her firstborn, Clotilde stated calmly to her furious husband:
"I thank Almighty God, creator of heaven and earth, who did to my indignity the honor of opening His Kingdom to the one I have given birth to. My soul is not crushed by the pain, because, I know, taken from this world in his baptismal innocence, my son contemplates the face of God". (translation mine, from "La femme au temps des cathedrales", Regine Pernoud, Editions Stock, 1980: p.14)
She gave birth to a second son, Clodomir and Clovis also agreed to have him baptized. This time, the child survived. Clovis had an heir, a Catholic heir. Clotilda would have three more children, Childebut, Clotaire and Clotilda.
However, Clotilda didn't not give up her goal of converting her husband, she prayed, she beseeched God, she spoke plainly to her pagan husband about the true God.
Her perseverance and faith would be rewarded...