My genealogical researches have uncovered dozens of devout ancestors. This is the first installment of a series of posts titled “Doing God’s Work: Our Families’ Faithful”, documenting the lives of those who served God.
Begga married Ansegisel, son of Arnulf and Doda. Together, they had three children, including Pepin of Heristal (my 39th great-grandfather). Pepin of Heristal was the founder of the Carolingian dynasty of rulers in France.
Sometime before 679, Begga’s husband was killed. Some claim it was a hunting accident, while others assert that Ansegisel was slain by an enemy named Gundewin.
Aggrieved, Begga made a pilgrimage to Rome. Upon her return, she became a nun. She then went on to found seven churches and build a convent at Andenne sur Meuse, where she spent the rest of her days serving as the abbess.
She died on 17 December 693 and is buried in at the abbey, now named Saint Begga’s Collegiate Church. Sometime after her death, Begga was designated a saint by the Catholic Church.
On the same date, 580 years later, in the year 1195, Baldwin V, my twice-over 27th great-grandfather, passed away.
In April 1169, he married Margaret I, Countess of Flanders, his widowed third cousin once removed. Together, they had several children including two of my 26th great-grandmothers, Isabella of Hainault (who married my 26th great-grandfather Philip II de France, the first French monarch to be referred to as king of France) and Yolande de Hainaut (who married my 26th great-grandfather Peter II de Courtenay, emperor of the Latin Empire of Constantinople.)
Baldwin V became Count of Hainaut in 1171 on his father’s death. Sometime after acquiring his father’s title, Baldwin V was described as “the Count Baldwin with eyes of blue.”
In 1189, Baldwin V became the first marquis of Namur. As a child, Baldwin V was named the successor of Henry IV of Luxembourg, his maternal uncle. As such, he acquired Namur on his uncle’s death, even though Henry IV of Luxembourg, who had been childless when he initially named Baldwin his successor, subsequently had fathered a daughter in the latter part of his life.
In 1191, when his wife acquired Flanders, Baldwin V became count of Flanders.
Baldwin V died on 17 December 1195 and was interred in Sainte Waudru Abbey in Mons, Flanders—located in the modern-day province of Hainaut, Belgium.
(An interesting side note: St. Waudru, for which the abbey/church is named, was married to an earlier Count of Hainault. Together, they had four children. Around 643, Waudru’s husband chose to become a monk in the monastery of Hautrnont, which he had founded. In 656, Waudru established a convent and became a nun. The town of Mons grew up around that abbey. Consequently, it is very likely that Baldwin V was related directly to St. Waudru.)