Saint Emma, also known as Emma of Lesum, or Emma of Stiepel, lived in what is now known as Bremen. She was the first female inhabitant of the city to be known by name. Little specific information about St. Emma survives.

Emma lived in the early 11th century and was born into the Immedinger family. The Immedingers were Saxon nobility descended from the legendary King Widuking, who fought against Charlemange.

Emma’s father was a count, and her brother a bishop. She married Liudger, the son of a Saxon duke. Their marriage resulted in one child, a boy named Imad, who became bishop of Paderborn in 1051.

Emma’s husband made a visit to Russia in 1011, fell ill and died. Following this tragedy, Emma drew into her faith. Her temperament became mild. She was a great benefactor of churches, establishing many small parishes. She donated to the Bremen Cathedral.

After her death, she was buried in a tomb in Bremen Cathedral. When her tomb was opened, it showed all of her body turned to dust except for her right hand, which she used to give gifts. Her intact hand was sent to the abbey of St. Ludger at Werden.

She was venerated as a saint following her death, but there are no official dates of her beatification or canonization. She has two known feast days, December 3, which is the recorded date of her death in 1038, and April 19.

To learn more about St. Emma: http://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=272


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