Virgin (c. 710-779)
St. Walburga was English. Her father, St. Richard, was a "thane" or minor King of the West Saxons in, what is today, Devonshire, and her mother Winn a, sister of St. Boniface, the great Apostle of Germany.
At 11, Walburga was placed in the convent of Wimborne, when her father and her two brothers, Sts Willibald and Winebald, were starting out on their pilgrimage to the Holy Land. In this convent, which was noted for the depth of its holiness and standard of discipline and learning, Walburga remained for 26 years. Then in 748, she and St. Lioba, together with a large number of other nuns, were sent over to Germany at the request of her Uncle Boniface __ the first written instance of missionary calling nuns to his aid. The new convents and monasteries were to be, in Boniface's plan, so many forts from which the Church's spiritual conquest of Germany could be consolidated and expanded.
After a few years' training at the Bischofsheim convent, Walburga was made Abbess of Heidenheim in Bavaria, not far from the monastery of which her favourite brother, Winebald was the head; and when he died a few years later, Walburga's outstanding virtues and prudence earned her the assignment of governing the monks in addition to her own nuns.
Because of the accounts which she wrote of St. Winebald's life and of the two brothers' pilgrimage to Palestine she is considered the first woman-author of England and Germany. Walburga even studied and practiced medicine. Many miracles were attributed to her, both during her lifetime and after her death on 25 February 779 at Heidenheim. Her mortal remains lie buried with those of her brother St. Winebald in the Church of the Holy Cross in Eichstatt.
St. Walburga is invoked against hydrophobia and storms at sea, and oil from her tomb __ known to flow from 12 October to 25 February each year since the 9th century __ is used for anointing in various illnesses.
Reflection :"A soul often wants not so much spurring in the beginning of her conversion; her fervor and cheerfulness make her run vigorously. But this fervor, unless it is continually nourished, cools by degrees; then the devil assails her with all his might" (St. Tarasius).