Saints of the Day – Dorothy of Montau, Widow

Blessed Dorothy of MontauArticle

Born at Montau near Marienburg, Prussia, Germany, on February 6, 1347; died June 25, 1394. Though she was never canonized, Saint Dorothy is widely venerated in central Europe, particularly among the Prussians, who have selected her as their patron saint. Like Saint Catherine of Siena and Saint Bridget of Sweden, who were her contemporaries, she was favored by divine grace with many visions, revelations, and ecstasies, especially during the last years of her life.

As a 17-year-old peasant girl, she married a wealthy swordsmith from Danzig named Albert (Albrecht) by whom she had nine children. Of these only the youngest survived, a daughter who later became a Benedictine nun. Albert appears to have been surly and bad- tempered, and it seems likely that their married life, at least in its early years, was far from ideal. However, Dorothy’s gentleness, fortitude, and kindness gradually softened him, and in 1384, he agreed to accompany her on a pilgrimage to Aachen.

After other pilgrimages to Einsiedeln and Cologne, they planned to make one to Rome for the jubilee that was to be held in 1390; but while they were making their preparations, Albert fell ill and so Dorothy went alone, travelling on foot and begging her food. By the time she returned from Rome, where she had been delayed by a sickness, her husband had died.

Now that she had become a widow, Dorothy was able to fulfill a dream she had long cherished of retiring from the world. In 1391, she went to Marienwerder where, after spending two years on probation, she became a recluse in the church of the Teutonic Knights.

On May 2, 1393, she had herself walled up in a cell that measured 6′ x 6′ and was about 9′ tall. Of the three windows one opened to the sky, the second to a cemetery (and through which she also received food) and the third on to the altar of the church where, as was often the custom in those regions, the Blessed Sacrament was exposed all day.

Like many others, Dorothy had an intense devotion to the Blessed Sacrament and was often favored with mystic visions of it. Her reputation for holiness grew rapidly and many people came to her seeking counsel or miraculous cures.

However, the rigors of her mode of life, added to the severe austerities she practiced, soon broke her health and she died in May 1394, after living only a little more than a year in her cell. Many miracles were attributed to her, and an account of her visions and ecstasies has been left by her confessor (Benedictines, Delaney, Encyclopedia).

Dorothy’s emblem is a lantern and a rosary. Sometimes she is surrounded by arrows in paintings of her. Venerated at Montau and Marienwerder, Prussia (Roeder).

MLA Citation

  • Katherine I Rabenstein. Saints of the Day, 1998. CatholicSaints.Info. 7 August 2020. Web. 5 December 2020. <>