In 496, Clovis is at war, and losing the battle of Tolbiac. Desperate, he prays to the "God of Clotilde"; if he wins, he will convert to the Catholic church. The battle was won and Clovis is baptized on Christmas Eve 496 at Rheims by the bishop St. Remi. The story says that a dove descended from Heaven, bearing the Ampulla containing the sacred oil to anoint the Kings of France. Clotilde also received the banner of France, with three fleur-de-lys on it instead of three frogs. Three thousands of Clovis' soldiers, following his example, were also baptized that day.
Clotilde stood next to the baptismal font, spiritual mother to a whole nation.
Clovis decides to make Paris his capital and with Clotilde, he visits St. Genevieve. If Clotilde is the icon of motherhood, Genevieve is the icon of consecrated virginity; the beauty of both vocations represented for the glory of God and of his Church in France.
However, suffering was to be ever present in the life of Clotilde. When Clovis dies in 511, Clodomir becomes King, only to die in battle in 524. Here I have to be precise, for many a tale has sought to defame Clotilde's memory, presenting her as cruel and vengeful. History tells us otherwise, after the death of her son, she takes her three grandsons to be with her and care for their education. Her younger sons, Childebert and Clothaire, wanting to divide the kingdom between themselves, find and kill the two oldest sons of Clodomir. Only the third one escaped and entered a cloister to which he gave his name: Saint Cloud. The grief of Clotilde was so great, that she withdrew from Paris to Tours, where she could live a religious life, near the tomb of the great St. Martin.
Her only daughter had married the King of the Visigoths, Amalric. He so abused her, that she pleaded for her brother to rescue her. She died on her journey to join Clotilde, exhaused by the cruelty of her husband.
Soon, afterward, Childebert and Clothaire made war on each other for the control of the realm. It is said that Clotilde threw herself before tomb of St. Martin and begged the Lord that such a crime be spared her and the house of Clovis.
She died after thirty-eight years of widowhood, purified by the sufferings of motherhood, knowing that, as Catholic mothers, our place is often with Our Lady of Sorrows, at the foot of the Cross.
St. Clotilde, pray for us