Born into a wealthy family, she was promised to marriage at the age of 13. She did not want to get married, but she consented to it because the pressure from family and friends. In 1181, at age 23, after 5 years of marriage, after the death of her husband, she distributes her goods and leaves the house and her three sons to serve in a leprosarium in Huy, then known as the hospital for the very sick. She stays there for 10 years with a small community of men and women following her. Then, in 1190, she decides to be immured by the Abbot of Orval in a cell near the leprosarium.
His father, property manager of the Principality of Liège and other men follow her example as lay without having an approved rule. The Premonstratensian Hugo de Floreffe wrote her Vita.
“She lived according to the principles of proto-beguines in companies of pious sisters, to then cloister for decades in a real cell where she expired in 1228” (Van Aerschot, p. 23).
She was in touch with Julienne de Cornillon. (Lemmens, p. 107) and although she still was an anchorite, she instructed her companions, as written in her Vita (Simons, p. 81). She called herself a beguine.
Van Aerschot Suzanne & Michiel Heriman, Les béguinages de Flandre, Service des monuments et sites du Ministère de la Région Flamande, Editions Racine, 2001
Lemmens Joseph, Une révolution du monachisme en Belgique, XIIIe-XVIIe siècles, Le cri histoire, Bruxelles, 2009, (chpitre IV : les Béguines et les Beguins)
Simons Walter, Cities of Ladies. Beguine communities in the Medieval Low Countries. 1200-1565, University of Pennsylvania Press, 2001