Jane, in your list of fabulous women in July, you haven't yet met St. Christine the Astonishing? I love her. She hated the stench of sin so badly that at her funeral she flew to the rafters til all the sinners left the church.
I once started a story about her showing up in our modern day wearing pink sneakers. She went around confronting sinners, pointing her finger at them and warning them about the stench of hell. Her followers would make a circle around the sinner and chant, "Pink, pink, you stink!"
I'll write that story one of these days.
Yes, folks, Christina Mirabilis, Christine (or Christina) the Astonishing (or Marvelous), is for real! Sorry to have missed her. She is not on the Episcopal calendar. That's what I get for emigrating from the Roman Catholic fold. As an ecumenist, I should be ashamed of myself: I'm supposed to be saint-watching all across the Christian spectrum, East, West, North, South. (Padre Rob is particularly good at connecting folks with Eastern saints, though he currently has a Western saint up, blessed Tammy Faye.) Thank Godde my old buddy Shannon is on the fabulous women watch. Thank you, Shannon. And yes, write that story!
So here are some biographies of Christina.
Scroll down a bit when you get to this one.
This one notes, as does the previous one, that Christine was in what is now Belgium. As is Saint Dymphna,* Christine is a patron of people with mental illness and nervous disorders. What is it with Belgium?
* Dymphna fled to the Low Countries as well and in present-day Belgium, the site of her martyrdom still has a community-based therapeutic community for people with mental illnesses.
I will have a chance to check this out first-hand, though not to visit various shrines, when I spend a few days in Leuven (a.k.a. Louvain) in November at an international conference.
Here's more on Christina.
And there's a (loosely based) book inspired by her!
And a theatre production in the U.K.! (Also mentioned here, a nice little write-up courtesy of the BBC.)
She's also inspired this little bit of silliness.
Christy at Dry Bones Dance, whom I've been reading for a year or so, has a 2005 post, it turns out, about this very same Christina.
This one is also interesting, from Ship of Fools.
I like this woman. I'm going to find a way to incorporate her into my History of Christianity course this fall since I have section on the 12th and turn-of-the-13th century. She'll be terrific as a counterweight to Aquinas: he was large and ponderous, she flew up to the rafters. Seriously -- I really am going to figure out some way to get her in there. I do have a set of women mystics in the course. Women couldn't go to university, so they had visions and revelations, and that is the theology we have from them.
And I've decided the next best thing to being rector of a parish called St. Mary of Magdala or St. Macrina would be to be rector, or vicar, of St. Christina the Astonishing. I don't yet know of any church by that name (there are a few St. Mary Magdalenes and Macrinas out there, though very few). So -- founding rector, St. Christina the Astonishing? Give me five or ten years.
I can dream big, can't I?
Meanwhile, I really must write this little devotional book called The Women of July.
Thanks again to Shannon for leading us to Christina. Check out Shannon's blog. She's a prison chaplain. Down-to-earth, spiritually alive, direct-talkin', and funny. She's pretty mirabilis herself.