What Is the History of Saint Ava?

Not much is known about the life of Saint Ava, but what is known is that she was the daughter of King Pepin II of Aquitaine and that she was cured of blindness by Saint Rainfredis before becoming a Benedictine nun. Saint Ava’s feast day is the 29th of April.

Saint Ava presided as a Benedictine nun dianant in the County of Hainaut in what is now known as Belgium. This would have made her a woman of great spiritual and material standing even without the bolstering influence of Saint Rainfredis having cured her of her blindness. How she became blind, whether from a birth defect or a childhood illness, is not known.

Saint Ava was an abbess by the time of her death, the highest office a woman could hold within the religious hierarchy of the Catholic faith at that time. Her veneration is now relatively obscure.

Saint Ava’s father, King Pepin II, was rumored to have abandoned Christianity and gone to live among the Vikings, worshiping Woden, or Odin as he is more commonly known. Pepin’s reign was largely disastrous, involving ill-advised alliances with Viking warlords and several failed wars that saw him stripped of much of his power and status before his eventual abdication and death abroad from Aquitaine.