Saints of the Day – Mechtildis of Edelstetten, Abbess

detail of a memorial stone for Saint Mechtild; date and artist unknown; Dießen, Landsberg am Lech, Bayern, Germany; photographed on May 2011 by Richard Huber; swiped from Wikimedia CommonsArticle

(also known as Mechtildis of Diessen)

Born at Andechs, Bavaria, in 1125; died at Diessen on the Ammersee, Bavaria, May 31, 1160. At the age of five Mechtildis, the daughter of Count Berthold of Andechs and his wife Sophia, and sister of Blessed Euphemia, was given into the care of the double monastery of Diessen in Bavaria, which they had founded. Her education by the sisters helped her to grow into a pious maiden of prayer and austerity. The Cistercian monk, Engelhard, tells us that she rarely spoke, but when she did her words were jewels. She stayed at the convent, received the habit, and eventually was elected abbess.

The bishop of Augsburg, who highly esteemed her, requested that she take charge of the convent of Edelstetten, which was in need of reform. Mechtildis knew that at the age of 28, she was incapable of handling the situation with her own powers. With the Holy Spirit’s help, however, all things are possible. When Pope Anastasius IV enjoined her to meet the challenge, she allowed herself to be installed as abbess. At first the young, noblewoman was well received, but when she began to enforce the rule, she met opposition. The bishop came to her assistance and expelled the worst malcontents.

The rest of the sisters were won over by the holy life of their superior, enhanced as it was by the extraordinary gifts and graces which became evident to all. She healed the sick, restored speech to the dumb, and sight to one of the nuns. Often she was rapt in ecstasy for hours. Her fame spread. Emperor Frederick I (Barbarossa) was proud to claim her as a kinswoman. Having a premonition of her own death, Mechtildis resigned from her office and returned to Diessen, where she died (Benedictines, Encyclopedia, Walsh).

MLA Citation

  • Katherine I Rabenstein. Saints of the Day, 1998. CatholicSaints.Info. 20 June 2020. Web. 16 May 2021. <>