October 31 or June 25
Saint of the day:
Saint Dorothy of Montau
Patron Saint of brides, widows, & parents of large families
Saint Dorothy of Montau
Prusso-Dutch peasant, mystic, ecstatic, stigmatic, ascetic, wife of Adalbrecht Slichting, mother of nine, widow, and anchoress at Marienwerder, in her native Prussia—where she died on this day in 1394, aged 47.
Widow and hermitess. She was born a peasant on February 6, 1347, in Montau, Prussia. After marrying a wealthy swordsmith, Albrecht of Danzig, Poland, she bore him nine children and changed his gruff character. He even accompanied her on pilgrimages. However, when she went to Rome in 1390, Albrecht remained at home and died during her absence. A year later Dorothy moved to Marienswerder, where she became a hermitess. She had visions and spiritual gifts. Dorothy died on June 25 and is the patroness of Prussia. She was canonized in 1976.
Dorothea was born at Groß Montau, Prussia (Mątowy Wielkie) to the west of Marienburg (Malbork) to a wealthy farmer from Holland, Willem Swarte (Schwartze). She was married at the age of 16 or 17 to the swordsmith Adalbrecht of Danzig (Gdańsk), an ill-tempered man in his 40s. Almost immediately after marrying she began to experience visions. Her husband had little patience with her spiritual experiences and abused her. Later, she converted him and both made pilgrimages to Cologne, Aachen, and Einsiedeln. While Dorothea, with her husband's permission, was on pilgrimage to Rome, he died in 1389 or 1390. Of their nine children eight died, four in infancy, and four during the plague of 1383. The surviving daughter, Gertrud, joined the Benedictines.
In the summer of 1391 Dorothea moved to Marienwerder (Kwidzyn), and on 2 May 1393, with the permission of the chapter and of the Teutonic Order, established a hermit's cell against the wall of the cathedral. She never left that cell for the rest of her life.
Dorothea led a very austere life. Numerous visitors sought her advice and consolation, and she had visions and revelations. Her confessor, the deacon Johannes of Marienwerder, a learned theologian, wrote down her communications and composed a Latin biography in seven books, Septililium, besides a German life in four books, printed by Jakob Karweyse.
Dorothea died in Marienwerder (called Kwidzyn by Poles) in 1394. A devotee of the Passion of Jesus and the Eucharist, she is the only Polish saint to have stigmata.
Dorothea was venerated popularly from the moment of her death as the guardian of the country of the Teutonic Knights and patron saint of Prussia/Pomerania. In 1405, 257 witnesses described her virtues and miracles. The formal process of canonisation, however, was broken off, and not resumed until 1955; she was finally beatified by Pope Paul VI (cultus confirmed) in 1976.
Dorothea's feast day is celebrated on 25 June. Her relics were lost, probably during the Protestant Reformation.