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St. Milburga, Abbess of Wenlock
(Died AD 727)

St. Milburga was the daughter of King Merewald of Magonset and his wife, St. Ermenburga (alias Aebbe of Minster-in-Thanet); and therefore sister of SS. Mildred and Milgith.

Milburga became a nun at the monastery of Wenlock (Shropshire), founded by her father and Archbishop Theodore of Canterbury, on the borders of Wales, under a French Abbess, Liobinde of Chelles. Milburga eventually succeeded her in this office.

Shortly afterward, a neighbouring prince attempted to compel her to become his wife and, with that intent, pursued her with an armed force. She fled across a river, which at once rose into an impassable flood and discouraged her pursuers.

A poor widow came to her in her oratory, bringing the body of her little dead son. Throwing herself at the feet of the abbess, she besought her to raise the child to life. "You must be mad!" exclaimed Milburga, "How can I raise your child? Go and bury him and submit to the bereavement sent to you by God!"
"No," said the sorrowing mother, "I will not leave you till you give me back my son!" The abbess prayed over the little corpse and, while doing so, she suddenly appeared to the poor supplicant to be raised from the earth and surrounded by lovely flames - the living emblem of the fervour of her prayer. Within a few minutes, the child had recovered.

Milburga died at Wenlock on 23rd February AD 727. Her monastery was later destroyed by the Danes; but, in the twelfth century, it was rebuilt and inhabited by Cluniac monks.

Edited from Agnes Dunbar's "A Dictionary of Saintly Women" (1904).

 

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