Saint Praxedes (2nd Century)
I first stumbled upon St. Praxed in a Robert Browning poem. There is not much known about Praxedes other than the legends surrounding her, at times these are conflicting. One legend has her the sister of Saints Pudentiana, Donatus and Timothy. The other has her the sister of Saint Novatus, whoever these Saints are. During one of the persecution, according to legend Praxedes and Pudentiana buried the bodies of Christians and distributed goods to the poor. They were buried in the Catacomb of Priscilla and the Basillica of Saint Praxedes or Santa Prassede is said to have been built over the sister’s graves.
Kinga of Poland, or Cunegunda, Kunigunda, Kunegunda, Cunegundes, Kioga, Zinga (5 March 1224 – 24 July 1292)
Kinga is the Patroness of Poland and Lithuania. Like Jadwiga last week Kinga was born in Hungry in a noble family. Kinga married Bolesław V and became princess when Boleslaw became Prince of Cracow. Kinga and Boleslaw were a devout couple and took a vow of chastity, which seems to be a common practice in this time period. As a princess she focused on charitable works like visiting the poor and helping the lepers. This would inspire he next step after Boleslaw died (1279) Kinga sold all her material possessions and gave the money to the poor. It seems like she didn’t have fun ruling so she left and joined the Poor Clares, where she spent the rest of her life praying.
Christina the Astonishing (1150 – 24 July 1224)
Now I have never heard of Christina Mirabilis ever before and although she sounds like a magician, she was a holy woman from Belgium. Christina was born a peasant and orphaned at 15. In her early 20s according to the stories she had a massive seizure and multiple witnesses claimed that she was dead. They had a funeral and during the service she rose full of vigor to the astonishment of the crowds. Christina would then tell of what happened after she died, an Angel took her soul and brought it to Heaven, Hell and Purgatory. It then offered a proposition that she could stay or could come back to Earth and “accomplish a mission of charity and suffering. In order to deliver from the flames of Purgatory those souls which have inspired you with so much compassion, you shall suffer for them upon Earth: you shall endure great torments, without however dying from their effects.”
Making penances for those souls not yet in Heaven became her life’s work. Christina would give up every comfort of life, reducing herself to extreme destitution, she lived without home or hearth, and not content with that she also looked for everything that could cause her suffering. She would then do all of these things as well. She would throw herself into burning furnaces and frozen river, Christina would not experience burns or freezing. Christina also would be chased by dogs who bit her and would escape through a briar patch yet when she returned she would not have any bit marks or scratches and bleeding from the briars. Christina has never officially been venerated as a Saint but still is popular around her home town in Belgium.
My wish is that we can all be inspired by Christina to do penance and pray for the souls in Purgatory and in Hell.