It was Countess Juliana van Stolberg who ignited the inspiration for our "herbal" series. Some know her as the mother of "William of Orange", some knew her as Dr. Oma, while some (like the author of this blog) wished they had the opportunity to have known her… However, many years later, there is a lot which we (as wives and mothers) can still learn from her...
"Lavender: A reminder of your first herbal lesson.
It speaks to you of devotion and virtue-two things you will always need
if you are to become a true noblewoman.
It will cheer you on a gray day, with its purple colour,
and its aroma will add beauty to the room you sleep."
~Dr. Oma: The Healing Wisdom of Countess Juliana von Stolberg by Ethel Herr
Countess Juliana van Stolberg (1506-1580), a gifted herbal healer, was given the endearing title, "Queen Mother of the Netherlands" by her people. She was responsible for raising her family of 17 to trust in the Lord. This teaching furthered a movement that led to religious freedom for the persecuted people of Holland and beyond.
Interesting facts about her life:
- Juliana was raised a Roman Catholic but later converted to Lutheranism and then Calvinism.
- Her first marriage lasted six years and after her husband's death, she married Willem von Nassau. They shared Protestant beliefs and taught them to their 17 children. This marriage lasted for 28 years until he passed away.
- Juliana spent her time managing her large household (a castle to be exact!), growing herbs and tending to the needs of her family and nearby villagers with medicinal remedies created from her garden. She even had her own apothecary on the premises. There she stored her dried herbs and recipes which would be handcrafted into poultices, salves and teas.
- Juliana and her husband also ran a school for the nobleman's children and she continued to run that alone as a widower, for the rest of her life.
- She lived in turbulent times during the rule of King Philip II of Spain and therefore lost four of her five sons to the cause of religious freedom and independence for modern day Holland, Belgium and Luxemburg. (King Phillip wanted all his subjects to worship like himself, Roman Catholic, which was unfortunate for the vast Dutch Protestant population who were being persecuted because of their beliefs.) Juliana's son, William of Orange (also known as William the Silent) was basically the "George Washington" of Holland. She helped to fund this cause of freedom and sold many of the family treasures in order to accomplish it (eventually the Netherlands become independent in 1648).
- Juliana was also a mentor to her grand-daughter Maria, who lived with her while her father (William of Orange) was at war and educated her in the arts of herbal healing. Her influence later caused Maria to form an orphan home in which she educated the young ladies there in the wisdom of natural cures.
- Dr. Oma, as she was called by the local villagers (which means grandmother in Dutch) lived to be 74 years of age and died in her own bed in Dillenberg Castle with a legacy of 123 grandchildren.
Dillenburg Castle 1540, Home of Juliana van Stolberg
What is special about this woman, is that she knew the truth about reform. It starts in the family. She raised her 17 children with the Bible as their foundation. She instilled the conviction that man should should have "freedom of religion" (does this concept sound familiar?*). During a time in history when blood was spilled because of your faith, this teaching through her children flourished into a cause of liberty! This clearly shows the influence of mothers and the important ministry they have within the walls of their own little castle, called home.
* It is also interesting to note that some trace the ideals of religious freedom in America to this family's cause. The pilgrims (or puritans) left England and lived in Holland to avoid religious persecution prior to entering the "New World". While there they may have gleaned ideas from Holland and taken them on their journey to form a government which would respect all persons.
All the Fine Print: You are invited to~ Follow my blog with Bloglovin. This post may be shared with some or all of the following link-ups: Modest Mom Monday's, Make it Yourself Mondays, Homestead Barn Hop, Natural Living Tuesday's, Teach Me Tuesday, Domestically Divine Tuesday, Raising Homemakers, Make Bake Create, Wise Woman Link Up, Wildcrafting Wednesday, Whatever You Want Wednesday, Frugal Days, Sustainable Ways, Simple Living Wednesdays, Homemaking Thursdays, From the Farm Blog Hop, Farmgirl Friday and Deep Roots at Home. Thank you lovely ladies for hosting these. Web Source 1, 2.