Women's Biography: Adelaide of Leuven
There are letters written to and by Adelaide of Leuven.
Adelaide of Leuven was the daughter of Henry III of Leuven and Gertrude of Flanders. She was married to Simon I, Duke of Lorraine (1076-1139). Their children were: Matthias, who succeeded his father and married a Hohenstaufen, Judith/Bertha, daughter of Frederick II, Duke of Swabia, sister of Frederick Barbarossa; Robert, lord of Floranges; Agatha who married Renaud III, Count of Burgundy (their daughter Beatrice was the second wife of the emperor Frederick Barbarossa and mother of emperor Henry VI and Philip of Swabia and she inherited Burgundy from her father); Hedwige, who married Frederick III, Count of Toul; Bertha, who married Margrave Hermann III of Baden; and Mathilde, who married Gottfried I, Count of Sponheim; and Baldwin. After the death of her husband, Adelaide retired to the Cistercian house of Tart, where according to Gottfried of Auxerre, she lived “in great humility and poverty” (Fragmenta de vita et miraculis Sancti Bernardi, cited by Gerhard B.Winkler, Bernhard von Clairvaux, 2.1111). In 1148, with her son’s consent, she founded a new house, the abbey of Etanche in the diocese of Toul. She died there in 1153.
Adelaide is the object of one of the miracles related by William of St. Thierry in his life of Bernard of Clairvaux: “the Duchess of Lorraine, a noble woman, but one not living very nobly, when she saw once in her sleep that man of God [Bernard] drawing seven horrible serpents from her womb with his own hands, afterwards converted by his admonition to living religiously, takes pride to this day that it was she from whom he ejected the seven demons.” Ducissa Lotharingiae, femina nobilis, sed non tam nobiliter victitans, cum vidisset aliquando in somnis hominem illum Dei serpentes septem horribiles de utero suo manibus propriis attrahentem, postmodum ad religiose vivendum ejus admonitione conversa, usque hodie se esse de qua septem daemonia ejecerit, gloriatur. [PL185, c.264C]