Home  »  Volume X: October  »  St. Anstrudis or Austru, Virgin and Abbess at Laon

Rev. Alban Butler (1711–73). Volume X: October. The Lives of the Saints. 1866.

October 17

St. Anstrudis or Austru, Virgin and Abbess at Laon

SHE was daughter of the virtuous and noble couple, Blandin-Boson and St. Salaberna, who founded the abbey of St. John Baptist at Laon, in which St. Salaberna, with the consent of her husband, took the religious veil, was chosen abbess, and is honoured among the saints on the 22d of September. Anstrudis faithfully walked in her steps, and after her death, though with the utmost repugnance, succeeded her in the abbacy. By a scrupulous observance of monastic discipline in the least points, a tender and affectionate care in conducting her sisters in the paths of Christian perfection, a most profuse charity to the poor, and her constant application to prayer, she was a true model of sanctity. No exterior employments interrupted the union of her heart with God, or her sweet attention to his holy presence. Except on Sundays and on Christmas day she never took any nourishment but at one moderate refection she made in a day at three o’clock in the afternoon, and on fast-days after sunset. Her watchings in devout prayer often kept her the whole night in the church, except that she took a little rest in an uneasy seat before the church door; then returned again to her devotions before the altar. Her sanctity was to be approved and made perfect by the trial of afflictions, in which true virtue is always purified and improved, but that which is weak or counterfeit betrays itself, as a building which wants a firm foundation, or a great tree which has not shot its roots deep into the earth is easily blown down by storms. The saint’s pious brother Baldwin was treacherously assassinated, and she herself terrified with outrageous threats by Ebroin. That tyrant, however, was at length softened by her intrepid constancy, and approved virtue and innocence, and of a persecutor became her patron and friend. Pepin, when Mayor of the palace, declared himself her strenuous protector. She died in 688, and is honoured in Gallican and Benedictin Calendars. The rich Benedictin nunnery of St. John Baptist at Laon was given to monks of the same Order in 1229, and still flourishes. There is in the same town another great Benedictin abbey of St. Vincent, and a third of the Order of Premontré called St. Martin’s. See the life of St. Anstrudis written soon after her death in Mabillon (sæc. 2) and Bulteau, Hist. Mon. d’Occid.  1