Posted by: anna | July 19, 2010

St Sexburga abbess of Ely

Today (6 July) we commemorate St. Sexburga (Seaxburh, Sexbroga), abbess of Ely (ca. 700). From Miss Dunbar:
St. Sexburga, July 6, queen of Kent. 7th century. Daughter of Anna, king of the East Angles (of the family of the Uffings) and perhaps of ST. HERESWITHA. Wife of Ercombert, king of Kent (640-664), son of Eadbald, king of Kent, and Emma, daughter of Clothaire II. king of the Franks.
Sexburga was sister of SS. ETHELREDA, ETHELBURGA (3), and WITHBURGA and half-sister of ST. SEDRIDO. She was mother of SS. ERMENILDA and ERCONGOTA and grandmother of ST. WEREBURGA of Chester. She was sister-in-law of ST. EANSWITH, and aunt by marriage of ST. ERMENBURGA. Sexburga began in her husband’s life, to build a religious house at Sheppey in Kent, that holy virgins might attend divine service for her, day and night. Ercombert died of the ‘yellow plague’ that desolated England in 664. Of those seized with the malady it is said only about 30 recovered. After his death, she ruled for a time for her son Egbert, and when he had no further need of her, she retired to her nunnery and assembled seventy-four nuns there ; but hearing of the great sanctity of her sister Ethelreda of Ely, and desiring to live in greater obscurity than she could enjoy as head of her own monastery, she became a nun under Ethelreda, before 679, and eventually succeeded her as abbess of Ely, where she lived to a considerable age. Her two sons Egbert and Lothaire were successively kings of Kent. Her daughter Ermenilda, queen of Mercia, succeeded her as abbess, first at Sheppey and afterwards at Ely. Her convent of Le Minster, in Sheppey, was destroyed by the Danes, but restored in the twelfth century.
AASS. Butler. Capgrave. Smith and Wace. Mabillon. British Mart.
perhaps an image of Sexburga, at Willingham church
Holy St Sexburga, pray to God for us.

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