In Christian mysticism, few figures are as compelling as Saint Christina the Astonishing, born in 1150 near Sint-Truiden, Belgium. Her life, a blend of the miraculous and the mysterious, continues to fascinate.
Christina’s most astounding moment came during her own funeral in her early twenties. Presumed dead following a severe seizure, she astounded the mourners when she suddenly arose, “full of vigor,” and levitated to the rafters, driven supposedly by the unbearable “smell” of sin from the attendees.
Christina’s experiences transcended the grave. She claimed to have witnessed Heaven, Hell, and Purgatory, describing the latter as a place of indescribable torment. Presented with a choice to stay in Heaven or return to Earth for penance, she chose the latter, with a mission to alleviate souls in Purgatory and convert sinners.
Her return to life marked a radical shift. Christina embraced extreme asceticism, living in utter destitution and enduring self-imposed suffering. Initially shunned and even imprisoned, Christina eventually became revered for her piety and penance.
Christina’s story was chronicled by Thomas of Cantimpré, a contemporary theologian, who based his writings on accounts from those who knew her. While she was never formally canonized, Christina is commemorated in the Roman Martyrology, and her life is celebrated on July 24th.
Saint Christina’s story is a testament to Divine Intervention and Christian mysticism, a powerful symbol of our faith’s mysteries!
Saint Christina the Astonishing, pray for us!
Photo credit: Patrick3Lopez via Wikimedia Commons