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St. Walburga

Walburga was born around 710, in Devonshire, England. Her father was St. Richard, an under-king of the West Saxons and her mother was Winna, the sister of St. Boniface. Walburga's two brothers, Willibald and Winibald were also saints. When she was eleven, Walburga's father entrusted her to the abbess of Wimborne so that she could be educated by the nuns. About a year afterwards, Walburga learned that her father had died in Italy, while making a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. She continued her studies and joined the community of nuns when she was old enough. In the meanwhile, her uncle St. Boniface was evangelizing Germany, establishing monasteries to keep the light of Faith burning brightly. Boniface decided that nuns could help him evangelize the women and children of Germany; he was the first missionary to employ women directly in evangelization. In 784, at his request, the Abbess Tetta sent Walburga, St. Lioba, and several other nuns to Germany. As they were sailing a great storm lashed their ship, but the sea became calm when Walburga knelt on the deck and prayed. Because of this miracle, Walburga and the other nuns were welcomed with joy by the people. Her uncle St. Boniface and her brother St. Willibald greeted her at Mainz. Lioba became abbess at Bischofsheim and for a while Walburga lived under her rule. Walburga then became abbess of Heidenheim; her brother Winibald was the abbot of a nearby monastery. When Winibald died, Walburga ruled both his monks and her nuns. Walburga was renowned for her gentleness and virtue. She was well-educated and she wrote a life of Winibald, as well as a narrative about Willibald's journeys in Palestine. Many consider Walburga as England and Germany’s first female author. Walburga died on February 25, 777 at the monastery she had ruled for so many years. She is invoked to of calm storms. Her feast is May 1.

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