Once upon a time there was a man who was alive.

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St. Milburga of Wenlock

Died c. 700 or 722; feast of the translation of her relics, June 25. The ruins of Wenlock Abbey in Shropshire, dating from the 11th century, remind us of Saint Milburga, whose name still lingers in that area. She was one of a family of eminent saints and belonged to the royal house of Mercia.

How often a good mother is blessed in her children! Her mother Domneva Domna Ebba or Ermenburga; f.d. November 19), princess of Kent, had three daughters: Milburga, Mildred (f.d. July 13), and Mildgytha (f.d. today), each of whom grew up to follow the pattern of her mother's faith, and each, after a life wholly devoted to Christ, was glorified as a saint.

Those were the days when the daughters of kings were proud and eager to dedicate their wealth and talents in Christian leadership and to pour out their youth and strength in the service of the Church. They founded and ruled great abbeys, taught the young, cared for the sick, and relieved the poor.

Milburga, like her mother before her, surrendered her high estate, forsook the luxury and comfort of her home, and counted it her highest privilege to serve God in a consecrated Christian life. Helped by her father, Merewald, an Anglian chieftain, and her uncle Wulfhere, king of Mercia, she founded the monastery of Wenlock, which was placed under the direction of Saint Botulf of East Anglia (f.d. June 17). Its first abbess was Liobsynde, a French nun from Chelles. Its second was Milburga, who was consecrated abbess by the Greek Archbishop Saint Theodore (f.d. September 19). It was no ordinary monastery; everything about it reflected the grace and fragrance of her own pure spirit. The gardens were full of the choicest flowers, the orchards bore the sweetest fruits, and within its walls was found, we are told, the very
peace of heaven.

By her sheer goodness Milburga converted many to the Christian faith, and this in a dark and primitive age when, outside the monastery walls, the countryside was wild and remote, and full of unknown dangers. One day, for example, on one of her errands of mercy, she was terrified by a neighbouring princeling who, wishing to marry her, intercepted her with a band of soldiers, but she providentially escaped. In her flight she crossed a small stream called the Corve, and he, following, found when he reached it that the waters had risen and his plan was thwarted. The place where it happened it called to this day Stoke Saint Milburgh.

She loved flowers, birds (over which she had a mysterious power), country life, and country people, to sit and work in the sun and tend the herbs in her garden, and to visit in the villages around. People came to her with their troubles and ailments and ascribed to her miraculous cures. Milburga was venerated for her humility, holiness, the miracles she performed, and for the gift of levitation she possessed.

According to Boniface, the famous Vision of the Monk of Wenlock occurred during Milburga's abbacy. Goscelin also preserved her testament, which is a long, apparently authentic list of lands that belonged to her at her death.

When she was on her deathbed, she said to her followers, "I have beenmother to you. I have watched over you like a mother, with pious care. And in mercy, I go the way of all flesh. A higher call invites me." One by one they said farewell, gave her the sacraments, and after her death buried her body near the altar of the abbey.

{Via Celt-Saints List}


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