2nd March 


The servant of God Philippia of Lorraine

also known as Philippia of Gelderland


Widow, Second Order

Philippa of Guelders was born on November 9, 1467. Her father was Adolf of Egmond, Duke of Guelders and Count of Zutphen and her mother was Catharine of Bourbon. Philippa had a twin brother Charles and they were born at Graves, Netherlands and were the only children of their parents. The duchy was named after the town of Geldern which is now located in Germany. The present province of Gelderland in the Netherlands occupies most of the area of the former duchy.

 Philippa was to grow up to be a celebrated beauty. Her emblem was a thistle leaf with the motto “Do not touch me, or I will prick”. A marriage was arranged with René II, Duke of Lorraine and the nuptials took place on September 1, 1485 in Orléans. Phillipa and René were to have at least 13 children.

 Philippa’s husband died in 1508, leaving her with many young children. She tried to undertake the duties of regent for Antoine, the new Duke of Lorraine but it was agreed he was old enough to rule on his own, even though he was only nine years old. After her husband’s death, Philippa was the supreme head of the family.

 When her son Claude had a daughter Mary on December 2, 1515, Philippa was present. Mary of Guise was to marry King James IV of Scotland, and her daughter was Mary, Queen of Scots. In 1519, at the age of fifty-two, Philippa’s health was in decline. She suffered from headaches, dizziness and dropsy and told her children she was going to stay for a week or two at the convent of the Poor Clares in Pont-à-Mousson, north of Nancy.

 Shortly after arriving at the convent, she decided she wanted to retire and spend the rest of her life there. Her children were stunned. The Poor Clares lived in poverty and under strict guidelines. The children begged her to go to a less severe establishment and that they needed her to guide the family. She held fast to her decision and on December 19, 1519 she was inducted into the order while all her offspring and their spouses watched. 1

“The fame of her sanctity attracted many devout and noble women to her to obtain advice and consolation, and she gladly used every opportunity to comfort the sorrowing, strengthen the wavering, advise the doubtful, and encourage the wealthy to be beneficent. But she found her greatest delight in prayer and in the meditation on the Passion of our lord, especially at the Gethsemane or Calvary grottoes which she had built in the convent garden. Often she was so affected interiorly during these mediations that the sisters would find her unconscious.


Her love of God and neighbour was generously repaid by God Himself. She received the gifts of contemplation, of ecstasy, and of foreseeing future events. Thus, on February 24, 1525, she beheld how her son Francis fought bravely and fell in the bloody battle of Pavia, and she urged her sisters to pray for him and the others who had fallen. After several days word was brought which confirmed her vision in detail.

Philippa had spent twenty-seven years in the convent and had borne her last painful illness with admirable patience, when she died peacefully in  the Lord in 1547 at the age of eighty-five she was laid to rest in the chapel of the Immaculate Conception which she had built adjoining the church of the Poor Clares at Pont a Mousson.” 2




Prayer of the Church

(Third Secret under 'Various Prayers")



Grant unto us Thy servants, O Lord, the pardon of our sins,

comfort in life, and continual guidance, that, serving Thee,

we may deserve duly to attain to Thy mercy.

Through the same Christ Our Lord Who liveth
and reigneth with Thee  and the Holy Spirit,  One God, now and forever.  Amen


 1. Susan Abernethy, September 16, 2012, Philippa of Guelders, Duchess of Lorraine, Saints on Sisters and Sluts, Famous and Infamous women in History, saintssistersandsluts.com, Accessed 23 January 2013,<web:saintssistersandsluts.com/philippa-of-guelders-duchess-of-lorraine/>

2.Habig, Marion A., O.F.M., 1959, ed., The Franciscan book of Saints, Franciscan Herald press, Chicago, Illinois


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