Posted by: anna | November 5, 2010

St. Elfleda of Glastonbury (936)

Today (23 October) we commemorate St. Elfleda of Glastonbury (936).
St. Elgiva (3) of Glastonbury, Oct. 23 (AELGISA, ALFGINA, ALGINA, ALGISA, ELFGIVA, ELFLEDA, ELGINA, ELGISA, ETHELFLEDA, ETHELGIVA, ITHELGEOFU, etc.) Niece or other near relation of Athelstane, king of England (925-940). Yepes calls her Elgina, and says she was camerara mayor to the queen, and governess to her children. Hearing of the sanctity of St. Dunstan, she determined to settle at Glastonbury, that she might profit by his instruction. She therefore built a house close to his monastery at Glastonbury, and with his sanction she built a chapel in honour of the Virgin Mary, and appointed a certain number of canons to perform the offices, for which service she endowed them with fat livings. Hearing that the king was coming to Glastonbury, she sent and asked him, with all his followers, to rest and dine at her house. He accepted the invitation, and some of his attendants came before him to see that all was in order for his reception. They said to her, ‘Your preparations are perfect ; you have everything that king or man could wish for, if only you do not run short of mead.’ She replied that the Virgin Mary would not allow such a misfortune to happen. Athelstane arrived with his suite, attended mass, and then came to Elgiva’s house and sat down to dinner. At the first draught that he took, he emptied a flagon of mead all but about half a pint. The saint continued to help him and his retinue out of the same flagon. There was but a cupful at the bottom of the flask, but it was miraculously increased, for she poured without stint, and after her numerous guests had all had enough, there was still a cup of mead left in the flask.
After living very piously at Glastonbury for some years, Elgiva was taken ill, and felt that death was near. St. Dunstan came to see her, and exhorted her to bear all her sufferings with patience. She charged him to give all her things to the poor, and to sell her land for the benefit of the Church. He stayed so late talking to her, that when he got back to the monastery, the door was locked for the night, so he stood outside it, saying his prayers. While he was singing the psalms, he saw a shining white dove fly in at Elgiva’s window. He returned at once to her room, where he heard two voices talking about eternal life. He saw that the room was brilliantly lit up, and he heard the well-known voice of Elgiva thanking the other speaker. He opened the door, and found her alone. ‘Who were you talking to?’ asked he. ‘The Lord, who appeared to you when you were waiting and praying at the door of the church, has visited me, and promised me eternal glory, and now I no longer fear the devil.’ She then asked him to bring her the last sacraments next day. This he did, and afterwards buried her in the church where she had so often prayed.
AA.SS. Acts of St. Dunstan, May 19. Yepes, Discurso de la Historia, Sermon 246.
Holy St Elfleda, pray to God for us.
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