Yolande, the youngest daughter of Count Henry I and Countess Margaret of Courtenay, was born in 1231 at the castle of Vianden. From the age of nine, the child, endowed with radiant beauty and great amiability, refused the plan of an arranged marriage and decided to devote her life to God. Every time she visited her aunt, the abbess of Salines in Namur, Yolande asked to be admitted to the order. The abbess and her mother cut her request short.
When the marriage plans become a reality and the parents go in search of an aspirant, Yolande, left at the castle, receives the Prior Walther von Meisenburg, who often stays at the castle and asks for advice. The prior recommends her to join the mendicant Dominican order in Marienthal. Countess Yolande decides to follow this advice and, with the help of her governess Helswind, even tries to go beyond the castle walls. This attempt is doomed to failure. On her return from the marriage negotiations, Marguerite tries to tell her daughter about the lucky man, but the young devotee tells her that she categorically refuses to get married and wants to enter the orders. A long struggle began and Yolande had to fight her family for more than five years before entering the cloister of Marienthal. The young countess does not give up and boycotts life at the feudal court. The disputes escalate until Marguerite threatens to marry off her daughter by force or lock her up in a tower. Yolande de Vianden remains firm and stands firm against the mockery of her family and especially her brother.
During a trip to Luxembourg, Marguerite de Courtenay visits the abbey in Marienthal, whose inhospitable location and miserable living conditions shock her deeply. Yolande asks her mother to see the cloister with her own eyes, a request to which her mother finally gives in. When they arrive at Marienthal, Yolande manages to escape her mother's grip, cuts her hair and puts on a cassock. Violent arguments break out, culminating in the threat to burn down the convent. Countess Yolande is forced to return to Vianden. Her parents lock her up in Schönecken Castle, where only her brother (Prior of Cologne Cathedral) takes care of her. The family battle continues to rage, but Yolande of Vianden does not waver. The betrothed Walram II von Monschau broke off the engagement and finally the mother conceded her daughter the right to enter an order other than the Marienthal. The devout woman refused this compromise and the parents finally gave in. Yolande took the veil on 6 January 1248. In 1258, she was appointed prioress of her monastery. When Count Henry died on the crusade in 1252, Marguerite de Courtenay joined her daughter in the monastery. Yolande herself died there on 17 December 1283.
Yolande's firm resolve to renounce wealth and power for a life of austerity and prayer in the Dominican monastery was unusual at the time. It is probably for this reason that the Dominican friar Hermann von Veldenz wrote a long epic about Yolande's life around 1290, which made her popular in Luxembourg. The original manuscript, the Codex Mariendalensis, the first text written in Moselle Franconian, was found in 1999. It is currently the oldest manuscript considered to be a precursor of Luxembourg literature.
The skull of Yolande of Vianden is kept in a reliquary in the Trinitarian Church in Vianden. Yolande is sanctified and her feast day is 17 December.
● Bruder Hermann: Yolanda von Vianden - molselfränkischer Text aus dem späten 13. Jahrhundert übersetzt und kommentiert von Gerald Newton und Franz Lösel, Institut Grand-
Ducal Section linguistique, d'ethnologie et d'onomastique, Luxembourg 1999.
● Lieux de mémoire au Luxembourg: Sonja Kmec, Pit Péporté, Editions Saint Paul, page 199.
● Multimediale Lehr- und Lernmaterialien zur Einführung in die historische Sprachwissenschaft - Universität Trier / Ältere deutsche Philologie.