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As I get ready my course on Early Church History for this year, it has just occurred to me that this year marks 1800 years since the Edict of Milan.

Which for Church Historians, is one of those dates that Sellars and Yeatman would describe as ‘memorable’ — and, indeed, a ‘Good Thing.’

And the reader should know that I have believed these witnesses as one who would not stray from the fundamental truth even if he had to lose his head for it. Of course we admit what is true: that our whole story surpasses human understanding, containing as it does things that could never happen according to the course of nature, but are still possible for the Creator. And there is no way in which I would have presumed to to write, unless the venerable bishop Jacques’ witness to the greater part of the story had preceded mine. So, let us proceed, setting out the work as follows: first how she was reared, then how she was educated, and after that her other deeds, as we have learnt them from the most certain and reliable accounts.

Begijnhof, Sint-Truiden, Belgium. Credit: Tijl Vereenooghe http://www.flickr.com/photos/erfgoed/6998193967/

So, as we have mentioned, the aforesaid Jacques the Venerable recalls these things about her. But, as one certain of the account of those who tell the story, I the unworthy [Thomas of Cantipré] of the Order of the Preaching Friars have written down the rest, albeit unskilled with words, for the edification of those who read it and particularly in order to praise Christ. And it is not without good reason that I should describe myself as ‘certain,’ for it is clear that I have as many witnesses to much of what I have written down, as there were those in the town of Sint-Truiden at the that time who could reasonably have been expected to see them [??]. These deeds were not performed in a corner, but in the clear sight of the people, nor has so much time passed that it has swallowed them up and buried them, since I have written these things no more than eight years after her death. But other things, which no person could know except from her, I have heard exclusively from those who attest that they received them from her own lips.

Latin source: http://www.peregrina.com/matrologia_latina/Christina_L.html

Translated episodically for your edification

Episode 1:

Prologue [1] As we prepare ourselves to write the life of Christina, that remarkable virgin of Christ, let us insert first of all what the venerable Jacques [de Vitry,] bishop of Acre and later a cardinal of the Roman curia, recalls of Christina, with these words at the beginning of his sermon on the blessed Marie of Oignies:

I saw (he says) another (he means Christina) around whom the Lord worked such marvels, that, when she had long lain dead, before her body was buried in the ground, her soul returned to her body and she came back to life, and she obtained it from the Lord that she should bear the pains of purgatory while living in this bodily life. Because of this, the Lord for a long time wondrously afflicted her, so that sometimes in winter she would linger for a long while in the freezing water, and sometimes she was compelled to enter the tombs of the dead. At length, having performed her penance so peacefully, she won such grace from the Lord that, when seized by the spirit, she many times led the souls of the departed into Purgatory or through Purgatory without any violation of the realms above.

Latin source: http://www.peregrina.com/matrologia_latina/Christina_L.html

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