Monday, April 23, 2012

Countess Juliana von Stolberg

"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."

~Oma (Countess Juliana von Stolberg)

Who is Countess Juliana von Stolberg?

Countess Juliana von 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 which 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 Calvinism.
  • Her first marriage lasted six years and after her husband's death, she remarried Willem von Nassau in which 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 an herb garden and tending to the needs of her family and nearby villagers with medicinal remedies created from her herbs. She even had her own apothecary on the premises in which she stored her dried herbs and recipes that would be lovingly turned 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 (and was later assassinated because of his stances). She helped to fund this cause 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 taught her in all the arts of healing with herbs. Her godly influence later caused Maria to form an orphan home in which she would also educate 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 von Stolberg

What is special to me in 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 and the beliefs that man should not be martyred for what they believe but should have "freedom of religion" (does this sound familiar?). During a time in history where blood was spilled because of your faith, this teaching through her children flourished into a cause of freedom! This once again 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 (puritans) left England and lived in Holland to avoid religious persecution. While there they must have gleaned from the ideas of freedom in Holland and taken them to the New World to form a government who would respect all persons.

Dr. Oma ~ The Healing Wisdom of Countess Juliana von Stolberg (Chosen Daughter Series). I recommend this book for ages 12 and up because of some of the content. There is the subject of adultery and insanity in the stepmother that might be confusing to younger readers. Another point I would discuss with my daughter is that the secondary character (Maria the granddaughter) married a man whom was an alcoholic and that does warrant a conversation. Beyond that, it is a very educational and endearing read of a grandmother passing on her godly faith and healing knowledge down to her granddaughter along with the history of the Dutch people. I especially appreciated the medicinal healing parts in this book because I think that is an important art that our young women would benefit from and I hope that this book would create a desire to learn more in this area.


  1. Thank you so much for your blog. This post especially (I am from the Netherlands : )! I am thrilled about your site. I love God and I love reading and history. I am planning to read about and study a lot about the women. It will be a good exercise in English too. Maybey some books are translated... I hope to find that out. Maybe I'll study one christian woman a month. I loved the Princess course too. If God would give us a little girl, I definetely would search some books, ideas, poems, etc. with these ideas in Dutch. Thank you for so much inspiration! Annemieke

    1. That is so neat! I did read that the author of the above book, Ethel Herr, did put out a Dutch translation. It is titled ~ mijn schild ende betrouwen. I hope you can find it over there!

      Thank you for sharing as I am glad to "meet" you :)

      And it sounds like we have a lot in common... books and history and a faith in God!

  2. Mijn schild ende betrouwen is an old Dutch sentence from our National Anthem, a song made in the time and made for/about Willem van Oranje, Juliana's son. Thanks for letting me know it is translated!Yes, I think we have a lot in common. Blogs can be blessings!

    1. Oh, thanks for the extra information! I was wondering what it meant :)


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