Teach Your Children Well - Blanche Of Castile - The One Year Women in Christian History Devotional

Teach Your Children Well - Blanche of Castile


Was Blanche a power grabber, or did she just fill a vacuum? Historians disagree. Her father was the king of Castile, in Spain. Her mother was an English heiress, and several of her uncles ruled England. Blanche was given in marriage to Prince Louis of France. So she was Spanish, English, and French. Since there were constant battles among those nations, Blanche was often maneuvering behind the scenes.

When her husband, King Louis VIII, died in 1226, she began to rule the nation on behalf of her twelve-year-old son, Louis IX. And here’s where her story takes a Christian turn. Apparently Blanche raised her son right. Amid all the scheming and fighting of thirteenth-century Europe, Louis IX became known as a man of great faith, eventually being declared a saint by the Catholic church. He built chapels, supported Christian art, and arbitrated fair settlements. He credited his mother as the source of his devotion.

What happened here? Did a scheming queen become a trusting mom? We don’t know for sure, but there’s a clue from 1220, when her husband was still alive and her son was just six. Blanche wrote to the pope with a problem. During the illnesses of some of her children, she had made vows to the Lord, but she had forgotten what she had promised. Perhaps he could consult the Lord and remind her? In response, the pope asked a local minister to assign her some good deeds to do.

Was this a turning point for her? Historians acknowledge that as she became more powerful, she was unusually concerned for the poor, freeing many serfs from debtors’ prison. In this highly anti-Semitic culture, she even offered protection to the Jews. Mercy seemed to characterize many of her actions. Were these her ways of keeping a promise to God?

Chances are, you don’t have the power Blanche had. But you always have a choice about how to use the power you do have. Will you scheme and maneuver, using the people around you to your best advantage? Or will you seek God’s direction, living with mercy, and teaching others to do the same?

Come, my children, and listen to me, and I will teach you to fear the LORD.

Psalm 34:11

From the Book:

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The One Year Women in Christian History Devotional
By Randy Petersen and Robin Shreeves

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