Saint Radegund
Radegonde se retire dans le monastère dédié à la Vierge.JPG
Radegund retires to the monastery dedicated to the Virgin Mary.
Born ~520
Died August 13, 586
Venerated in Roman Catholic Church
Canonized 9th century
Feast August 13
Patronage Jesus College, Cambridge

Radegund (also spelled Rhadegund, Radegonde) (ca. 520–586) was a 6th century Frankish princess, who founded the monastery of the Holy Cross at Poitiers. Canonized in the 9th century, she is the patron saint of several English churches and of Jesus College, Cambridge.

Life history

Radegund was born to King Berthar, one of the three kings of Thuringia (a kingdom located in present day Germany), c 520.

Radegund's uncle, Hermanfrid, killed Berthar in battle, orphaning her. Then, after allying with the Frankish King Theuderic, Hermanfrid defeated his other brother Baderic. However, having crushed his brothers and seized control of Thuringia, Hermanfrid reneged on his deal with Theuderic to share sovereignty.

In 531 Theuderic returned to Thuringia with his brother Clotaire I. Together they defeated Hermanfrid and conquered his kingdom. Clotaire I also took charge of Radegund, taking her back to Merovingian Gaul with him and making her his wife.

Radegund was one of Clotaire I’s six wives or concubines (the other five being Guntheuca who was the widow of his brother Chlodomer, Chunsina, Ingund, Ingund’s sister Aregund and Wuldetrada the widow of Clotaire's grand-nephew Theudebald). She bore him no children, and, after Clotaire I had her brother assassinated, she turned to God, founding a nunnery in Poitiers.

Radegund was extensively written about and to by the poet Venantius Fortunatus and the bishop, hagiographer, and historian Gregory of Tours. The three of them seem to have been close and Fortunatus' relations with Radegund seem to have been based on friendship. Another hagiography was authored by the nun Baudovinia. Radegund was also a close friend of Junian of Maire; Junian and Radegonde are said to have died on the same day, on August 13, 586.[1]

Radegund's funeral, at which Venantius Fortunatus and Gregory of Tours attended, was three days later.

Later history

Church of St. Radegund, Grayingham

Church of St Radegund, Grayingham, England


Church of St Radegund, Breg (Žirovnica), Slovenia

Five English parish churches are dedicated to her, and she had a chapel in the old St Paul's Cathedral, as well as in Gloucester, Lichfield, and Exeter Cathedrals. Saint Radegund's Abbey, near Dover, was founded in her honour in 1191. She is also the patron saint of Jesus College, Cambridge, which was founded on the site of the 12th century nunnery of Saint Mary and Saint Radegund.

The St Radegund public house in Cambridge is named in her honour.

There are many places named Sainte-Radegonde in France.



External links

  • Other Women's Voices Useful guide to some of the works on Radegund including links to on-line materials.


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