23 February 2024

St Milburge, Virgin in England

From Fr Alban Butler's Lives of the Saints

ST. MILBURGE was sister to St. Mildred, and daughter of Merowald, son of Penda, king of Mercia. Having dedicated herself to God in a religious state, she was chosen abbess of Wenlock, in Shropshire, which house she rendered a true paradise of all virtue. The more she humbled herself, the more she was exalted by God; and whilst she preferred sackcloth to purple and diadems, she became the invisible glory of heaven. The love of purity of heart and holy peace were the subject of her dying exhortation to her dear sisters. She closed her mortal pilgrimage about the end of the seventh century. Malmesbury and Harpsfield write that many miracles accompanied the translation of her relics, in 1101, on the 26th of May, which Capgrave and Mabillon mistake for the day of her death: but Harpsfield, who had seen the best ancient English manuscripts assures us that she died on the 23rd of February, which is confirmed by all the manuscript additions to the Martyrologies of Bede and others, in which her name occurs, which are followed by the Roman on this day. The abbey of Wenlock was destroyed by the Danes: but a monastery of Cluni-monks was afterwards erected upon the same spot, by whom her remains were discovered in a vault in 1101, as Malmesbury, who wrote not long after, relates.

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