Saint Berlinda of Meerbeeke

Berlinda Saint of the 7th century, was the daughter of a nobleman, Odelard, who lived at Meerbeeke, near Mirore, in Brabant, in the reign of Dagobert. She had gifts of intellect, unlike many saints, but like many female saints she had beauty; but was disliked by her own father.

Being disinherited, she retired to the monastery of Moorsel, near Alost, where she lived in penitence and prayer, and and became a Benedictan nun. On the death of her father, Berlinda returned to Meerbeeke where her father had been buried.

The tradition states that she spent her life helping the poor and suffering. She continued her life of austerities until her death, Feb. 3 (her festival day), 690. Miracles were said to be wrought at her tomb; her coffin was petrified. A church was built to her honor, and her relics were enshrined May 2, 728.

The Saint has remained in great honor at Meerbeeke, is invoked against cattle-diseases, and pilgrims pray before a wooden image of the saint beside a cow. According to a popular saying, Berlinda protects trees transplanted on her festival. She is mentioned in the martyrologies of Wyon, Menardus, Ferrarius, and Molanus. in his addition to Usuardus. There is an ancient Life (anonymous) published by Bollandus. — Baring- Gould, Lives of the Saints, ii, 50 (sub Feb. 3).

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