Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art: The Dinner Party: Heritage Floor: Bertille

signature image

Judy Chicago (American, b. 1939). The Dinner Party (Heritage Floor; detail), 1974–79. Porcelain with rainbow and gold luster, 48 x 48 x 48 ft. (14.6 x 14.6 x 14.6 m). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of the Elizabeth A. Sackler Foundation, 2002.10. © Judy Chicago. Photograph by Jook Leung Photography

Bertille
b. Soissons, France, date uncertain; d. circa 703, Chelles, France

Bertille (Bertilla) was born to a noble family in the kingdom of Soissons, France, and decided at an early age to devote her life to Christianity. She entered the convent at Jouarre, near Meaux, and quickly commended herself to the abbess as an able administrator. She tended the sick and became headmistress of the convent school. In 646, when Queen Balthilde refounded the monastery at Chelles, she appointed Bertille as abbess. Under her forty-six-year tenure, the convent school became a famous training ground for noblewomen who entered monastic life. Bertille was known for her devotion to self-denial. As one biographer put it, she "was ambitious of martyrdom, but as no persecutors were forthcoming, she martyred herself with austerities" (Dunbar, Saintly Women, 121).

Related Place Setting

Hrosvitha

Related Heritage Floor Entries

Agnes
Aisha
Maria Alphaizuli
Athanarsa
Frau Ava
Baudonivia
Begga
Bertha
Bertha of France
Berthildis
Carcas
Claricia
Dhuoda
Diemud
Eadburga
Eanswith
Ebba
Ende
Ethelberga
Ethylwyn
Gertrude of Nivelles

Gisela
Gisela of Kerzenbroeck
Gormlaith
Guda
Hardlind
Hilda of Whitby
Hygeburg
Joanna
Leela of Granada
Liadain
Libana
Lioba
Mabel
Maryann
Mathilda
Reinhild
Elizabeth Stagel
Thoma
Lady Uallach
Valada

Primary Sources

Dunbar, Agnes. A Dictionary of Saintly Women. London: George Bell & Sons, 1904.

SEARCH