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St. Adelaide was a marvel of grace and beauty, according to St. Odilon of Cluny, who was her spiritual director and biographer. Daughter of Rudolph II, King of Burgundy, she was born in 931 and at age 15 married Lothaire II, King of Italy. Later their daughter became Queen of France.
Otto I hastened to her appeal with a powerful army. After defeating her oppressor, Otto became King of Italy and married St. Adelaide. One year later, in 952 he was crowned Holy Roman Emperor in Rome. The eldest son of this marriage, Otto II, succeeded his father as Emperor. At first, influenced by his jealous wife Theohano, Otto II revolted against his mother. Fearing for her life, she fled to Burgundy. There she came to know St. Odilon and became famous for her charities to many French monasteries.
Later, after her son repented, she returned to Germany where she continued her saintly life. She sent a splendid imperial mantle worn by her son to be placed in the grave of St. Martin. She wrote these instructions to the one charged with the mission:
“When you will reach the tomb of the glorious St. Martin, say these words: ‘Bishop of God, receive these humble gifts from Adelaide, servant of the servants of God, sinner by nature and Empress by the grace of God. Receive this mantle of Otto, her eldest son. You, who had the glory to cover Our Lord with your mantle in the person of a poor man, pray for him.’”
After Theophano died, Adelaide became the regent of her grandson, Otto III. She used her position to help the poor, evangelize, and build and restore monasteries and churches. When she felt her end was near, she asked to be taken to the Convent of Seltz in Alsace that she had built. She was laid to rest next to the tomb of Otto the Great, her second husband.
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