England’s holiest family

St Walburga was born in Devonshire in 710, the daughter of St Richard the Pilgrim. Her brothers were St Winibald and St Willibald and her uncle was St Boniface, making her a member of one of the saintliest families in English history.

When Walburga was 11 she was entrusted to the care of the nuns at Wimborne Abbey after her father travelled to the Holy Land (he is buried in the Basilica of San Fredo, Lucca, where he died on pilgrimage in 722.).

Walburga remained at Wimborne Abbey in Dorset for 26 years and then went to Germany with her mother and brothers. While there they assisted St Boniface (her mother’s brother) in evangelising pagans.

Walburga became a nun in a double monastery at Heidenheim am Hahnenkamm in Bavaria. The monastery was founded by her brother Willibald. Following his death in 751, Walburga succeeded her brother and became abbess of the monastery.

Healing oil

Walburga died on February 25 in 777 or 779 and was buried at Heidenheim. In the 1870s her relics were transferred to Eichstätt to be interred next to her brother’s at the Holy Cross Church. Warburga’s remains allegedly began to exude a miraculous healing oil which drew pilgrims to the shrine.

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