Thursday, February 25, 2010

Saint Walburga

Historically today is the feast of St. Walburga, sister of Sts. Willibald and Winebald.

St. Walburga was born in Devonshire England, around 710. She was the daughter of a West Saxon chieftain and the sister of St. Willibald and Winebald. Walburga was educated at Wimborne Monastery in Dorset, where she became a nun. In 748, she was sent with St. Lioba to Germany to help St. Boniface in his missionary work. She spent two years at Bishofsheim, after which she became Abbess of the double monastery at Heidenheim founded by her brother Winebald. At the death of Winebald, St. Walburga was appointed Abbess of both monasteries by her brother Willibald, who was then Bishop of Eichstadt. She remained the superior in charge of both men and women until her death in 779. She was buried first at Heidenheim, but later her body was interred next to that of her brother, St. Winebald, at Eichstadt.

For some reason an aromatic fluid with healing qualities began to flow (and still flows) from a fissure in a rock on which their tomb stands. Its healing powers were attributed to her, and the fluid became known as St. Walburga's Oil. was seen as a sign of her continuing intercession. The oil has always been collected and given to pilgrims. Healings attributed to St. Walburga's intercession continue to be reported up to the present day. For more information on St. Walburga, see Fr. Nicholas Schofeld's post at Roman Miscellany. To learn more about the Benedictine nuns of Abtei St. Walburg, go here.

3 comments:

Sadie said...

It is very difficult to find good biographies of St. Walburga... so I thank you for this readable summary. Also, I am praying for you in you in your writing career!

Jean M. Heimann said...

Sadie,

Thank you so much for your kind words and for your prayers!

God bless you!

cynthiamendes said...

Where can one buy St. Walburga's oil? It's difficult for me to travel so far.