St Begga

Widow (entered heaven in 693)

Dear Bridget,

Today begins our final countdown to the great Solemnity of Christmas.  Ah, what joy filled my soul at the mere thought of that first Christmas night when our Lady brought forth the Savior Child!  I do hope you are taking full advantage of this blessed season to fill your heart with its graces.

I meant to answer your last note a while ago, but I lost track of my correspondence and have only now relocated it.  Yes, I agree that there is a desperate need for authentic Christian feminism in this day and age, and I see no reason why you can’t be one of the sparks that gets it burning.  As you do, however, be careful not to downplay the importance of Christian motherhood, which, in the humble opinion of this son of the Church, is the keystone to the entire edifice of authentic feminism.  Due to the gaps in the historical record, we will never in this life be able to appreciate the profound impact of holy mothers on the course of human history (Mary’s is one of the few that God has deigned to open up for our admiration), but if we learn to read between the historical lines, I am sure we’ll be able to discern a bit of its grandeur.  Take today’s saint, for example.

Begga was a Frankish nobleman’s wife with a firm foundation of Christian faith.  She spent almost her entire life “in the world,” tending the affairs of her household and playing her proper role as an elegant and charming noblewoman.  It just so happens, however, that she fulfilled all these duties fully aware that they were the manifestation of God’s will for her. Thus, she filled them to the brim with faith in and love for Christ.  And the world was transformed because of it. Her eldest son, Pepin of Herstal, became the founder of the Carolingian dynasty and the grandfather of Charlemagne, the first of the Frankish emperors and one of the Christian kings who did most for the preservation of western civilization and the spread of the Christian faith among the Germanic tribes.  And I’ll bet that you never once ran into the name of “Begga” in any of your fancy history textbooks – the fruits of her feminine genius (which involved authentic motherhood) have received much more attention than her genius itself. What an injustice.

In any case, I’ll join my prayers to St Begga’s, so that your efforts to initiate a flow of feminist saints will bear abundant fruit.

Your affectionate uncle, Eddy

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