Saint Waltrude who died April 9, circa 688 AD is the patron saint of Mons, Belgium, and of Herentals, Belgium. Both cities boast a large medieval church that bears her name. Married to the Count of Hainault, she raised four children. After her husband retired to an abbey, she herself became a nun in 656. She founded her own convent (Sainte-Waudru) and the city of Mons grew around it. Her biography celebrates her for “the pious intention under vow to free captives. She arranged the ransom price weighed out the silver. … When the captives had been bought back with the ransom money out of her own purse, at her command they returned to their families and homes.” The shrine of Saint Waltrude is kept in the Saint Waltrude Collegiate Church in Mons. Each year, as part of the Ducasse de Mons festival, the shrine is placed on the car d’or, a gilded cart, and drawn by horses through the city streets. Her parents Walbert and Bertille and her sister Aldegund and her four children and husband were also canonized.
REFLECTION FOR THE DAY Just after daybreak, Jesus stood on the beach; but the disciples did not know that it was Jesus. John 21:4 Near an interstate off-ramp, a woman on the curb holds a cardboard sign: “No food, no job, please help.” She’s easy to ignore. She is clearly one of society’s cast offs, we might tell ourselves. She might use the money for drugs or alcohol. She can’t be trusted. But is hers the face of Jesus staring back at us? We pass a homeless shelter. Several people are mingling outside, looking well worn, hovering around their belongings in bulging plastic bags and old rusted shopping carts. You can barely see their faces, but under those hoods or caps or scarves, do we see the face of Jesus, struggling to survive? Like the disciples on the shore, do we not realize it is Jesus beckoning us? All around us are images of Jesus, hoping to get our attention, for a moment, for a smile, for a prayer. His face is everywhere. We can’t ignore it.