March 3. cunegund, deliverer of holy face slaps
Patron saint of Luxembourg, Lituania, Poland, and the Archdiocese of Bamberg, Germany
Lived 973 to 1024
Cunegund was the devout daughter of a noble couple. She was married to the Duke of Bavaria and fellow saint, Henry, who consented before marriage to a vow of chastity.
While an empress, Cunegund became the victim of slander; that is, no one believed she was really a virgin. At her own request, Cunegund submitted to the ordeal of fire to prove her own innocence. She walked barefoot across a bed of red-hot plowshares (aka the "cutting blades of a plow") and suffered no harm.
MIRACULOUS FACE SLAPS
Cunegund elected her own niece to run a convent. Though Cunegund had prepared her niece with a pious upbringing and sound advice, the new abbess soon fell down on the job due to her "giddy behavior and love of eating." When she failed to cease feasting and carousing, the empress and the abbess threw down. When Cunegund struck her niece on the face, the mark of the blow remained on her cheek until her dying day. It brought the abbess to her senses, and served as a constant reminder of self-discipline to the rest of the nuns.
DOWAGER EMPRESS EXTRAORDINAIRE
After the death of her husband, Cunegund gave in to a thirst to embrace perfect evangelical poverty. On the one year anniversary of her husband's death, she renounced her earthly possessions and offered at the altar a piece of the true cross. Cunegund swapped her imperial robes for a poor habit, cut off her hair, and donned a veil.
WHITE MARRIAGE / JOSEPHITE MARRIAGE
"A spiritual marriage or chase marriage comes from the original divine law that marriage should be the union between soulmates who are attracted to each other by divine magnetism and not by the animal magnetism of sexual activity." - Wikipedia
Cunegund and Henry's marriage was called a 'white marriage;' that is, they married for companionship alone.
Ferdinand Holbock, in his book about married saints and blesseds, descibes their marriage as a Josephite marriage "in which the spouses, remarkably, vowed and practiced continence from beginning to end." He advises childless couples who can't conceive to take the "saintly imperial couple" as role models. Rather than insisting on realizing their desires by artificial means, they should submit all humility to the will of god and show love to each other and orphaned children.