Weninger’s Lives of the Saints – Saint Megengaudius, Confessor


Saint Megengaudius, or Megangosus, a count of Guelderland, led, from his early youth, a very pious life. He was looked upon as a mirror of devotion and virtue at an age when men generally think more of the world than of God. On arriving at manhood, he married, according to the will of his parents, Gerberga, daughter of Godfrey, Duke of Franconia, who bore him one son and four daughters, two of whom were married to princes, while the other two, Bertrada and Adelaide, left the world and went to Cologne to consecrate their lives to the service of God in a convent. Godfrey, his son, ended his life early; for as a violent war broke out between the Roman Emperor Otho II and the Bohemians, Megengaudius, to show his fidelity to the emperor as his liege, sent Godfrey with a considerable troop of men to assist him. Godfrey fought valiantly with his men, but was slain in battle. The grief of the count, when news reached him of the death of his only son, can easily be conceived; yet not an impatient word escaped his lips. He submitted to the just though incomprehensible decree of the Almighty, and recognizing more and more the vanity of all earthly things, he served the Lord with still greater zeal than before. He determined, with the permission of his pious spouse, to devote all the estates that would have become the property of his son, to the erection of a church and convent, that the praise of the Lord might constantly rise upward from them. He selected a place at Villich, near Bonn, where he built a church and a large convent, endowing both richly. As soon as the building was completed, the pious Gerberga gathered around her many virgins of the nobility, who desired to serve the Lord in perpetual chastity. With the permission of the bishop, she called her daughter Adelaide from the convent at Cologne, and made her superior of the community, of which she herself, with her husband’s leave, became a member. Megengaudius also desired to pass the remainder of his days in the peaceful retirement of a monastery; but God inspired him to remain in the world, as, in governing his people, he would find ample opportunity to labor for the honor of God and the salvation of souls. The holy count obeyed the heavenly will, carefully divided his time between his business and his spiritual duties, and strictly kept the regulations he had made. Several hours were appointed for prayer and devout reading at home, others to visiting the Church, and others to the affairs of the State. To the poor he was extremely charitable; he fed daily a great number of them at court, while to others he sent alms. He was especially kind to widows and orphans, and watched over them so Carefully, that none of his officers ever dared to oppress or harm them. He gave admittance to every one of his subjects, listened patiently to their grievances and complaints, and endeavored to give them aid and comfort. In this manner the holy count continued to live until his end. Three years before his death, his pious spouse Gerberga died in her convent, and although her loss was very painful to him, he bowed submissively to the will of God, without grieving immoderately. His whole life had been a preparation for death, but after Gerberga had closed her eyes, he kept himself still more in readiness for the hour in which his Master would call him. Hence he evinced not the slightest disturbance, when it was announced to him that his end was approaching. He was accustomed frequently to receive the holy Sacraments, and desired to be strengthened with them as soon as he knew that his life was in danger. Having received them with great devotion, he employed the time still left to him in praying, and at last died a holy death, in 1001. He appeared after his death to his daughter Adelaide and to some other religious, surrounded by inexpressible light and glory. The many miracles which took place by his intercession, and the great virtues by which he had shone during his life, were the cause of his being placed among the number of the Saints.

MLA Citation

  • Father Francis Xavier Weninger, DD, SJ. “Saint Megengaudius, Confessor”. Lives of the Saints, 1876. CatholicSaints.Info. 3 June 2018. Web. 20 January 2019. <>