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Feastday: July 6

Death: 699


Sexburga was one of four daughters of the English king Anna honored as saints. During her twenty-four years of marriage to King Erconbert of Kent, Sexburga gave birth to four children, two of whom are likewise venerated as saints (her daughters Ercongota and Ermenilda). As queen, she was revered for her piety and humility. Following her husband’s death, Sexburga was able to satisfy her long-standing desire to consecrate her life completely to the service of God, entering a convent she had previously founded at Minster-in-Sheppey. Thereafter, Sexburga sought a yet more hidden life in order to focus her thoughts upon heaven. This prompted her to transfer to the convent founded by her sister Saint Etheldreda at Ely. Despite her hopes for a hidden existence, Sexburga was chosen to succeed her sister as Ely’s abbess. It was Sexburga who ordered the opening of Etheldreda’s tomb after sixteen years. A doctor waiting outside the tent erected over the tomb for the exhumation overheard Sexburga within the tent suddenly exclaim, “Glory to the name of the Lord!” Her sister’s body had been found to be totally incorrupt.


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