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Baudonivia was a French nun and scholar at the convent of Holy Cross of Poitiers who, between 600 and 602, was asked by the other nuns to compose a memoir of their founder, Radegund.

Venantius Fortunatus became bishop of Poitiers in 590 and shortly thereafter, wrote a memoir of Radegund called Vita Radegundis.[1] Sometime after 600, the nuns chose Baudonivia, one of their own, to write a memoir that would complement his work.[2] Based on her personal knowledge of Radegund, Fortunatus's biography of the saint, and hagiographical sources, Baudovinia created a portrait of a devout yet politically shrewd woman who used her worldly power to sustain the monastery.[2]

Scholars have noted the thematic differences between Fortunatus' and Baudonivia's biographies: whereas the former focuses on Radegund's deference to authority, the latter highlights her role as diplomat and protector of her community of nuns. While Fortunus relates the extensive self-mutilation Radegund performed, Baudonivia discusses her letter writing, her actions on behalf of the Church and individuals, her traveling to collect relics and, most importantly, her efforts to gain a fragment of The One True Cross from Justin II, the Byzantine Emperor.[3] The book also includes all of the miracles performed by Radegund.[2][4]

She is memorialized in The Dinner Party by Judy Chicago.


  1. ^ Venantius Fortunatus. The Life of the Holy Radegund. Translated by J. McNamara and J. Halborg. 
  2. ^ a b c Dorothy Disse. "Daughters, I Chose You". Other Women's Voices. Retrieved 19 October 2012. 
  3. ^ Emanuel, Curt. "If You Couldn’t Live as a Virgin at Least You Could Die as One". Retrieved 5 February 2013. 
  4. ^ Margaret Schaus (20 September 2006). Women and Gender in Medieval Europe: An Encyclopedia. CRC Press. p. 694. ISBN 978-0-415-96944-4. Retrieved 18 October 2012. 


  • Baudonivia. "Life of Radegund."
  • Eckenstein, Lina. Woman under monasticism: chapters on saint-lore and convent life between A.D. 500 and A.D. 1500. University Press, 1896.
  • McNamara, Jo Ann and John E. Halborg. Sainted Women of the Dark Ages. Durham: Duke University Press,1992.
  • Mulhberger, Steve. “Overview of Late Antiquity--The Sixth Century,” ORB Online Encyclopedia. <>
  • Wemple, Suzanne Fonay. "Scholarship in Women’s Communities" in Women in Frankish Society: Marriage and the Cloister, 500 to 900 : University of Pennsylvania Press, 1981.