+ Christina was born to a noble Anglo-Saxon family. At the age of 15, she visited the famed St. Alban’s Abbey where she made a private vow of virginity, dedicating herself to God alone.
+ Her parents opposed the vow and arranged a marriage for Christina. The local bishop initially supported her cause, but changed his ruling after accepting a bribe from her family.
+ Christina was forced to marry Berktred, the man her family had selected, and her marriage was a veritable prison for her. With the help of a local hermit, she was able to escape and lived for two years with an anchoress named Alfwen, before settling in a hermitage in Markyate in 1118. There, she became the spiritual student of Blessed Roger of Albans.
+ In 1122, Burktred obtained an annulment and Christina was allowed to remain in Markyate. A community of nuns grew up around her and she was invited to serve as abbess of a number of local abbeys, but she chose to remain in her own community.
+ Christina was a skilled artisan and embroidered miters and sandals for Pope Adrian IV, a former student at St. Alban’s Abbey and the only English pope.
+ Saint Christina died in Markyate around the year 1160 and was honored as a saint immediately after her death.
“I despised the kingdom of the world and all worldly finery for love of my Lord, Jesus Christ, whom I have seen, whom I have loved, in whom I have believed, in whom has been my delight.”—Entrance Antiphon for the Mass “For a Nun”
O God, who called your handmaid blessed Christina to seek you before all else, grant that, serving you, through her example and intercession, with a pure and humble heart, we may come at last to your eternal glory. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
(from The Roman Missal: Common of Holy Men and Women—For a Nun)
Saint profiles prepared by Brother Silas Henderson, S.D.S.