Saint Begga of Austrasia
Saint Begga (also Begue, Begge) (615 – 17 December 693 AD) was the daughter of Pepin of Landen, mayor of the palace of Austrasia, and his wife Itta of Metz.
On the death of her husband, she took the veil, founded seven churches, and built a convent at Andenne on the Meuse River (Andenne sur Meuse) where she spent the rest of her days as abbess.
She was buried in Saint Begga’s Collegiate Church in Andenne.
The daughter of Pepin of Landen and his wife, Itta, Begga was the older sister of St Gertrude of Nivelles. She married Ansegisel, son of Arnulf, Bishop of Metz, and had three children: Pepin of Heristal, Martin of Laon, and Clotilda of Heristal, who married Theuderic III of the Franks. Ansegisel was killed sometime before 679, slain in a feud by his enemy Gundewin. Begga made a pilgrimage to Rome, and upon her return built seven churches at Andenne on the Meuse.
She is commemorated as a saint on her feast days, 6 September and 17 December. St Begga’s feast day is 17 December according to “www.catholic.org”. Some hold that the Beguine movement which came to light in the 12th century was actually founded by St Begga; and the church in the beguinage of Lier, Belgium, has a statue of St Begga standing above the inscription: St. Begga, our foundress.
The Lier beguinage dates from the 13th century. More than likely, however, the Beguines derived their name from that of the priest Lambert le Bègue, under whose protection the witness and ministry of the Beguines flourished.