The Strangulation of Godelina. Image in Procession Chapel in Gistel, Belgium.
|Died||July 6, 1070|
|Roman Catholic Church|
|Feast||July 6; July 30|
|Patronage||the weather; invoked against throat trouble|
Saint Godelina (also Godelieve, Godeliève, Godeleva) (Dutch: Sint-Godelieve) (c. 1049 – July 6, 1070) was a Flemish saint. Tradition states that she was pious as a young girl, and became much sought after by suitors as a beautiful young woman. Godelina, however, wanted to became a nun. A nobleman named Bertolf (Berthold) of Gistel, however, determined to marry her, successfully invoked the help of Godelina's father's suzerain, Eustace II, Count of Boulogne. Godelina's mother-in-law soon forced the young bride to live in a narrow cell with little food to support her. Godelina shared this food with the poor.
Bertolf also spread false rumors about Godelina; the marriage was not consummated.
Godelina managed to escape to the home of her father, Hemfrid, seigneur of Wierre-Effroy. Hemfrid, appealing to the Bishop of Tournai and Soissons and the Count of Flanders, managed to have Bertolf restore Godelina to her rightful position as his wife.
After her death
Bertolf married again; a daughter was born blind. Tradition states that Bertolf's daughter was cured through the intercession of Saint Godelina. Bertolf, now repentant of his crimes, went to Rome to obtain absolution. He went on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land, and became a monk at St-Winnoc at Bergues.
Drogo, a monk at the former St. Winnoc abbey in Bergues, wrote Godelina's biography, the Vita Godeliph, about ten years after her death.
Godelina's body was exhumed in 1084 by the Bishop of Tournai and Noyon, in the presence of Gertrude of Saxony, the wife of Robert I, Count of Flanders, the Abbot of Saint Winnoc's at Bergues and a number of clergymen. Godelina's popular cult developed thereafter.
Every year, on the Sunday following July 5, a procession celebrating St. Godelina takes place in Gistel.
The Godelieve Polyptych
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