This calendar of saints is drawn from several denominations, sects, and traditions. Although it will no longer be updated daily, the index on the right will guide visitors to a saint celebrated on any day they choose. Additional saints will be added as they present themselves to Major.

Friday, January 4, 2013

January 4 -- Feast of Saint Oringa Christiana

Hares always get the girls.
From the original martyrs whom the beasts refused to kill all the way out to St. Francis of Assisi preaching to the birds, the tradition of spiritual bond between saints and the rest of Creation is long.  Less than a century after St. Francis, a little girl in Tuscany added her own chapter.

Oringa, called Christiana, was a farm girl whose parents died while she was young.  Her older brother arranged for her to marry a wealthy farmer, but she fled into the woods before the wedding was performed.  She worked for a while as a domestic servant in a pious family, then became a wandering miracle-worker, and finally returned to her hometown, Castello di Santa Croce, to found an Augustinian convent.  Her story ends with her death in 1310, but the best parts are recounted below.

Stay here while I pray, all right?
When she raced into the woods, night was gathering and she was soon lost and frightened.  A hare hopped along and began to distract her with madcap antics.  She began to play with the hare, chasing it for a while, then petting it while they rested, and then playing tag again.  When the morning sun broke, she found that the hare had guided her through the forest to the farm where she could live and work safely, profitably, and piously.

When she was tending the cows but needed to pray, she would ask them politely to stay close by.  Apparently they did. 

$2.29 can feed a whole village.
There's a story about her crossing the River Arno without getting wet, but I don't have more of the details.  She might have stood on a leaf that grew to the size of a small boat, or she might just have trod across it without breaking the surface.

During a famine, she sustained the population of Santa Croce with fava beans from her field.  They were apparently the only thing growing.  During her festival each year, little loaves of bread are distributed freely.

She made a pilgrimage to Mount Gargano once. That's a mountain where Michael the Archangel made an appearance to a farmer.  Being a lone girl climbing a narrow path in the wilderness, she was an easy target for criminals.  I'm not sure what their intent might have been, but the good angel showed up again, armor shining and sword flaming.  That sent the baddies packing -- you bet.

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