Patroness of servants and peasants, b. c. 1265 at Rattenberg on the Inn; d. c. 16 September, 1313. She was cook in the family of Count Henry of Rothenburg, and used to give food to the poor. But Ottilia, her mistress, ordered her to feed the swine with whatever food was left. She, therefore, saved some of her own food, especially on Fridays, and brought it to the poor. One day, according to legend, her master met her, and commanded her to show him what she was carrying. She obeyed, but instead of the food he saw only shavings, and the wine he found to be vinegar. Hereupon Ottilia dismissed her, but soon fell dangerously ill, and Notburga remained to nurse her and prepared her for death.
Notburga then entered the service of a peasant in the town of Eben, on condition that she be permitted to go to church evenings before Sundays and festivals. One evening her master urged her to continue working in the field. Throwing her sickle into the air she said: "Let my sickle be judge between me and you," and the sickle remained suspended in the air. Meantime Count Henry of Rothenburg was visited with great reverses which he ascribed to the dismissal of Notburga. He engaged her again and thenceforth all went well in his household. Shortly before her death she told her master to place her corpse on a wagon drawn by two oxen, and to bury her wherever the oxen would stand still. The oxen drew the wagon to the chapel of St. Rupert near Eben, where she was buried. Her ancient cult was ratified on 27 March, 1862, and her feast is celebrated on 14 September. She is generally represented with an ear of corn, or flowers and a sickle in her hand; sometimes with a sickle suspended in the air.
Her legendary life was first compiled in Germany by GUARINONI, in 1646, Latin tr. ROSCHMANN in Acta SS., September, IV, 717-725; HATTLER, St. Notburg, die Magd des Herrn, den glaubwuerdigen Urkunden treuherzig nacherzaehlt, 5th ed. (Donauworth, 1902); STADLER, Heiligen-Lexikon, IV (Augsburg, 1875), 586-592; DUNBAR, Dictionary of Saintly Women, II (London, 1905), 111-112; BARING-GOULD, Lives of the Saints, 14 Sept.
The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume XI
Nihil Obstat, February 1, 1911, Remy Lafort, S.T.D., Censor
Imprimatur. +John Cardinal Farley, Archbishop of New York