Spirituality for Today – Summer 2018 – Volume 22, Issue 4

Saint for June 2018
St. Emma – June 29

According to legend, Emma was a young girl in Germany during the last 10th century. She lived at the court of Emperor Henry II and his wife, Cunegund, both of whom were later canonized as saints. Cunegund was childless and trained Emma, along with several other gifts, then gave her in an arranged marriage to William of Friesach, a wealthy count.

The couple was blessed with two sons. When the children were grown, William placed a few of the mines he owned under their direction. But the young men encountered problems with some miners who were unhappy with their working conditions. Tensions mounted, and the counts ordered that a miner be hanged for immoral behavior. The other miners rebelled and murdered both of Emma's sons.

At first, Emma withdrew and William threatened to execute the rebels and their families. Then the couple turned to prayer and William pardoned everyone but the leaders. Afterward, he made a pilgrimage to Rome, leaving Emma in Friesach. On his return, William became ill and died just before he reached home. It was then that Emma made a decision that transformed her life forever.

Emma dedicated herself to serving God. She gave her money to the poor and founded several churches and monasteries, one of them a double monastery near her castle in the Austrian town of Gurk. There the monks and nuns could be heard singing the Divine Office day and night without interruption. When Emma died in 1045, she was buried there. She was beatified by the Church in 1938, but she is commonly called a saint by many for her good works and foundations.

it is difficult to lose someone we love,
the parent who nurtured and loved us,
the spouse who shared in our joys and sorrows,
the child who brightened our hopes for the future.
Help us endure this dark night of suffering,
and let us recall our joy in the promise
that Christ's death and resurrection
will join us again in eternal life.

For Ordinary Lives, Extraordinary People.