The story begins around the year 630. A frightened, Christian English girl could have never imagined what her future would be like. What she did know was that she had been kidnapped and was on a pirate ship. Where was she going? Who could she ask? Finally, the ship docked and she heard people saying they were in France. Bathildis was quickly sold as a slave to the manager of King Clovis' palace.
The rest of the story is like a Cinderella fairy tale, except that this tale is really true. The quiet girl paid careful attention as her chores were explained or demonstrated to her. Day after day, she went from one task to another doing the very best she could. She was shy and gentle, but even King Clovis began to notice her. The more he observed, the more he was impressed. This was the kind of girl who would make a wonderful wife-even a king's wife. In 649, Clovis married Bathildis. The little slave girl had become the queen. They had three sons. Clovis died when the oldest son was only five, so Bathildis would be ruler of France until her sons grew up.
It must have been surprising to just about everybody that Bathildis could rule so wisely. She remembered too well what it was like to be poor. She remembered also her years as a slave. She had been sold as if she were a "thing of little value." Bathildis wanted everyone to know how precious they were to God. She was filled with love for Jesus and his Church. She used her position to help the Church in every way she could. She did not be-come proud or arrogant. Rather, she cared for the poor. She also protected people from being captured and treated as slaves. She filled France with hospitals. She started a seminary to train priests and a convent for nuns. Later, Queen Bathildis entered the convent herself. As a nun, she set aside her royal dignity. She became one of the nuns, humble and obedient. She never demanded or even expected that other people should wait on her. She was also very kind and gentle with the sick. When she became ill, she suffered a long, painful illness until her death on January 30, 680.
Our lives donít always follow the pattern of fairy-tales, but through the life of St. Bathildis we can learn to hope in Godís providence and loving care for us.