Bl. Christina of the Holy Cross

January 4th

Within the Augustinian Liturgical Calendar, after St. Clare of the Cross, Blessed Christine is the Order’s earliest female figure. She was born in 1237 in the village of Santa Croce sull’Arno (Lucca), Italy to the Menabuoi family and was given the name Origna at Baptism. Born of a farming family, from childhood she loved to give herself to prayer, especially while she was alone, shepherding the herd of cows and oxen. Sensing a divine vocation, she resisted strong pressure from her family that she should marry. She wanted instead, to consecrate herself to God and for this reason left her father’s house and went to Lucca, where she worked as a domestic.

In 1265 she made a pilgrimage to the shrine of Saint Michael the Archangel on Monte Gargano (Foggia) and moved to Rome. It was at this time that she began to be called “Christina”. While on a pilgrimage to Assisi, Our Blessed Lord in a vision showed her the religious house she was to build in Santa Croce.

Because of this vision, she returned to her native place and in 1279 established a community; initially a hermitage of the Third Order of Saint Francis. However, in 1294, it became a monastery that followed the Rule of Saint Augustine.

The original Constitutions are preserved, written in the ancient Italian dialect dictated by Blessed Christina who was, herself, illiterate. She received heavenly graces of contemplation and was outstanding for her humility, purity of life, and charity. She died in the Lord on 4 January 1310. Blessed Christina is regarded as one of the founders of the female monastic branch of the Augustinian Family. The Augustinian Family celebrates her feast on the 4th of January.

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