Saint of today, July 8th. We celebrate St Withburga

Saint of today, July 8th. We celebrate St Withburga


St.Withburga was the youngest of the four daughters of King Onna of East Anglia, a devout Christian ruler. All of his daughters and one son are canonized.
Onna was killed in battle against Penda of Mercia, and after her father’s death Withburga went to Dereham in Norfolk where she gathered a few young girls and started a small convent.

She eventually built a church and the story goes that not having much nourishment to give to the workers, Our Lady appeared to her telling her to send two nuns to the stream where they would find two does that could be milked.

And so the nuns had regular milk to add to their daily sustenance. As news of this marvel spread, people began to flock to the convent to the point that a leader in Dereham became jealous of Withburga’s popularity. He set out on his horse to kill the does, but the horse threw him and he broke his neck. This story is depicted on a large sign in the town of Dereham.

St.Withburga died on March 17, 743 before the completion of the church. Fifty years later, her body was found perfectly incorrupt.
In 974, on being moved to Ely near the bodies of her two sisters, it was still found whole and pliable.

The people of Dereham tried to bring their saint back, but being unsuccessful, found at their return that a well had sprung in the empty tomb of Withburga. They took it as a sign from their saint for their consolation. This spring has never dried up.