Franciscan Saints



 

 


4thJanuary

Blessed Christina of Tuscany

Virgin, Third Order

 

Blessed Christina Macabai or Menabuoi of Valdarno (meaning Valley of the Arno) was a holy Tertiary of the thirteenth century, and may have been born while St. Francis was still living. The town of her birth was Santa Croce, in Tuscany, on the lower Arno, between Florence and Pisa. Her parents were poor; and as a girl, Oringa, as she was then called, was a shepherdess. While tending the flocks, she devoted much time to prayer. So sensitive was her purity that she trembled and even became ill when she heard an unclean word.

Oringa was a very beautiful girl, and hence there was no lack of suitors who came to ask her hand; but she refused all offers of marriage. Her brothers maltreated her, trying to force her into marriage. Oringa fled to Lucca, and found a position as a servant girl. She began to lead a life of severe penance, going barefoot even in winter, sleeping on the bare ground, fasting at times for several days in succession without taking any food. By her prayers and example she converted many sinners, and came to be known as “the missionary of Lucca”

With her mistress she made a pilgrimage to Rome, where people began to call her Christina or Christiana because of her holy life. From Rome they went to Assisi; and here a young lawyer was so attracted by her beauty that he wanted to marry her by all means. But Christina had made up her mind to live a life of virginity and once more took refuge in flight

There is a tradition that St. Veridiana, the holy Tertiary recluse at Castelfiorentino in the Val D’ Elsa, who died in 1242, advised Christina to return to her hometown, Santa Croce, and to join the Third Order. Anyhow, that is what Christina did; and many young women followed her example and placed themselves under her direction. Thus she founded a Religious community, which, according to some, observed the Rule of St. Augustine. That may well have been the case, because at this time religious sisterhoods of the Third Order Regular were still unknown.

Many years later in, in 1310, Christina died a holy death. If the story about St. Veridiana is true, she must have been in her eighties. Many miracles followed her death; and Pope St. Pius V (155-1572) approved the cult paid to her. At Lucca and at Miniato the feast of Blessed Christina is observed on January 4. Augustinians also celebrate her feast, but not the Franciscan Order although it is now certain that she was a Franciscan Tertiary. ( Cf. Biersack, pp. 24-25; These Made Peace, p.42.)

N.B. The Augustinians gave Christina the title of Blessed Christine of the holy Cross

Prayer of the Church

O God, who protects all who trust in Thee, without whom

nothing is strong, nothing is holy, increase and multiply upon us

 Thy mercy; that, Thou being our ruler and guide, we may so

pass through temporal blessings that we finally lose  not those

which are eternal. We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
Who liveth and reigneth with Thee and the Holy Spirit,
One God, for ever and ever. Amen

 Habig, Marion A., O.F.M., 1959, ed., The Franciscan book of Saints, Franciscan Herald press, Chicago, Illinois

Hallack, Cecily and Peter, F., Anson, 1957 ed., Habig, Marion, A., OFM These Made Peace: Studies in the Lives of the Beatified and Canonized Members of the Third Order of St Francis of Assisi, Burns and Oates, London and St. Anthony Guild Press, Paterson, NJ.

 

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Last edited 13/09/2017 06:11 

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