FEAST OF SAINT IRMINA, ABBESS
FEAST DAY – 24th DECEMBER
Saint Irmina or Irma was a Benedictine abbess and patroness of St. Willibrord. The daughter of Frankish king Dagobert II, Irmina entered Oehren Convent, near Trier, built for her by her father after the death of Count Herman, the man whom she had betrothed. She built Echternacht for Willibrord in 698. A benefactress of Irish and English monks, Irmina donated to Willibrord and his monks the land for their monastery. Irmina was adopted as the patroness of the Diocese of Trier in the 14th century. Historian Ian Wood stated that Irmina is “traditionally, and probably correctly, identified as Plectrude’s mother”. She was also identified as the great-great-great grandmother of Charlemagne.
Adela and Irmina refers to two sisters and princesses, Adela of Pfalzel and Irmina of Oeren, who are jointly venerated on 24 December. According to many versions of Irmina’s biography, when she was fifteen years old, she was engaged to marry a man named Count Hermann, but just before they were to marry, he was killed in a murder-suicide by one of his servants, who “admired Irmina and could not bear that his master should have her”. Irmina’s father was ready to marry her to another man, but she chose to become a nun instead, a decision he supported, building her a convent in Oeren, which was eventually named after her and where she later became its second abbess.
She was succeeded as abbess by her sister, Saint Modesta. Irmina donated lands to help co-found, with Saint Willibrord of Northumberland, the convent in Echternacht in 697 or 698. Historian Jamie Kreiner called the founding of the Echternacht convent “a cooperative venture” between Willibrord and Irmina’s family, who later promised to protect the convent and its holdings after Willibrord promised fidelity to them in 706. Watkins reported that Irmina was “generous to both Celtic and Saxon missionary monks”.
Irmina died in 720 at the monastery at Weissenburg, which was also founded by her father. Irmina’s feast day is December 24. She is the patron saint of Trevos and is represented with a church in her hand, signifying her status as a church founder, and with two angels above her head, carrying her soul to heaven.
Saint Irmina, though you were of royal standing, you dedicated your life to God, by becoming a nun and the Abbess of a monastery, co-founding a convent, church, and donating lands to missionaries, for their monastery. God gave you a generous and pious heart.
Pray that we may increase in our love for God, and place no possessiveness in earthly things. May we work for the glory of God, in Jesus’ Christ our Lord. Amen