St. Christina the Astonishing :
A Pelican in the Wilderness
Virgin, 1224 A.D.
Feast day: July 24th
A remarkable happening in the life of
the unforgettable holy virgin called
Saint Christina the Astonishing
as recorded by
Thomas de Cantimpre.
(We admit – and it is true – that our account surpasses all human understanding inasmuch as these things could by no means have occurred according to the course of nature, although such things are possible to the Creator.)
This is how she was captured by her friends & freed by the Lord
& how she was nourished from her own virginal breasts.
Then Christina fled the presence of men with wondrous horror into deserts, or to trees, or to the tops of castles or churches or any lofty structure. Thinking her to be possessed by demons, the people finally managed to capture her with great effort and to bind her with iron chains and although she endured much suffering and privation, yet she suffered even more from the stench of men. One night, with the help of God, her chains and fetters fell off and she escaped and fled into remote desert forests and there lived in trees after the manner of birds. Even when she needed food (for despite the extreme sensitivity of her body she could not live without food) and was tortured by a most grievous hunger, by no means did she wish to return home but she desired to remain alone with God in her hiding place in the desert. Therefore, pouring forth a prayer to the Lord, she humbly begged that he gaze on her anguish with the eyes of his mercy.
When she turned her eyes to herself, she immediately saw that the dry paps of her virginal breasts were dripping sweet milk against the very law of nature. Wondrous thing! Unheard of in all the centuries since the incomparable Mother of God! Using the dripping liquid as food, she was nourished for nine weeks with the milk from her fruitful but virginal breasts. In the meantime, she was being sought by her own people and was found, captured, and bound as before – but in vain.
Song of Christina
In the Psalms it is known as a Prayer of the afflicted, when she is overwhelmed and poureth out her complaint before the Lord
Hear my prayer, O Lord, and let my cry come unto thee.
Hide not thy face from me in the day when I am in trouble; incline thine ear unto me: in the day when I call answer me speedily.
For my days are consumed like smoke, and my bones are burned as an hearth.
My heart is smitten, and withered like grass; so that I forget to eat my bread.
By reason of the voice of my groaning my bones cleave to my skin.
I am like a pelican of the wilderness: I am like an owl of the desert.
I watch, and am as a sparrow alone upon the house top.
Mine enemies reproach me all the day; and they that are mad against me are sworn against me.
For I have eaten ashes like bread, and mingled my drink with weeping,
Because of thine indignation and thy wrath: for thou hast lifted me up, and cast me down.
My days are like a shadow that declineth; and I am withered like grass.
But thou, O Lord, shalt endure for ever; and thy remembrance unto all generations.
Click here for original essay and background information about St. Christina
Copyright 2000-2008, Cynthia Large
All rights reserved. No part of this site may be used or reproduced in any form or by any means, or stored in a database or retrieval system, without prior written permission of Cynthia Large. Making copies of any part of this site for any reasons at all is a violation of United States copyright laws.