St. Adelaide was born in 931 in Burgundy, France. The daughter of King Rudolph II of Burgundy, Adelaide was promised in marriage to Lothaire, the heir of her father’s enemy, Hugh of Provence, when she was only two years old.
Lothaire was killed before he and Adelaide were married, which placed her in political turmoil. She appealed to Otto the Great of Germany for help, and was eventually married to him.
After Otto died in 973, Adelaide exercised influence over her son, Otto II, until they were estranged in 978. She left the court to live in Burgundy with her brother, King Conrad. However, Adelaide reconciled with her son a few years later, and before his death, he appointed her his regent in Italy.
Adelaide protected her grandson, Otto III, as a child, until he could claim the German throne. She lived in Lombardy from 985 until 991, when she returned to Germany to serve as sole regent for Otto III.
As regent, Adelaide used her power to increase evangelization efforts, especially in northern Europe. She had many monasteries and churches built, and did much for the country’s poor. When Otto III became Holy Roman Emperor in 996, she retired from court life and devoted herself to founding churches, monasteries, and convents.
In 999, Adelaide died at the monastery of Seltz, Alsace. She was canonized in 1097 by Pope Urban II.