blessed christine of s. croce sull' arno

Blessed Christine is a totally original character —both historically and spiritually—in the Augustinian Order’s calendar of saints and, after Clare of Montefalco, is the Order’s earliest female figure.

Christine was born Oringa Menabuoi about 1237 in Santa Croce sull’Arno (Lucca), Italy. Born of a farming family, from childhood she loved to give herself to prayer, especially while she was alone, shepherding the herd of cows and oxen. Despite strong pressure from her brothers, she would not yield to their wish that she should marry, because she wanted to consecrate herself to God. For this reason she left her father’s house and went to Lucca, where she worked as a domestic.

After leaving Lucca in 1265 and making a pilgrimage to the shrine of Saint Michael the Archangel on Monte Gargano (Foggia), she lived in Rome. It was at this time that she began to be called Christine. While on a pilgrimage to Assisi, the Lord in a vision showed her the religious house she was to establish in Santa Croce.

As a result, she returned to her native place and in 1279 established a community; initially a hermitage of the Third Order of Saint Francis, later, in 1294, it became a monastery that followed the Rule of Saint Augustine. The original Constitutions are preserved, written in the ancient Italian dialect dictated by Christine who was illiterate. She received heavenly graces of contemplation and was outstanding for her humility, purity of life, and charity.

She died on 4 January 1310. Blessed Christine is regarded as one of the founders of the female monastic branch of the Augustinian Family.

The Augustinian Family celebrates her feast on 4 January.