St. Walburga: Our Patroness

St. Walburga (d. 777 or 779) was born in England of a family of the local aristocracy. At an early age, she was entrusted to the care of the Benedictine nuns in Wimbourne (present-day Dorset) where she eventually made her monastic profession. When her relative St. Boniface, a missionary monk and bishop who worked for the evangelization of Germany, asked for help from other Anglo-Saxon monasteries, St. Walburga became part of a group of nuns from Wimbourne who answered the missionary call.

Eventually she became abbess of the monastery at Heidenheim, a double monastery of men and women founded by her brother St. Wunibald, who served as its first abbot. The tenth-century legend of her life tells stories of her gentleness, humility and charity, as well as her power to heal the sick through prayer.

One hundred years after her death, between 870 and 879, her bones were taken from Heidenheim to the town of Eichstätt, Bavaria, which had been founded by her brother St. Willibald, who served as its first bishop. Her relics were entrusted to the care of a community of religious women (canonesses) who maintained her shrine, and in 1035 a Benedictine monastery (Abtei St. Walburg) was founded on the site.

Miraculously, St. Walburga’s bones produced a clear liquid, called “oil” for want of a more accurate word (scientifically tested, it has the properties of spring water), which people began to use as a tool for prayer for the sick. Countless numbers experienced healing of body or spirit through her intercession. St. Walburga’s oil continues to flow every year from about October 12 to February 25 (the day of her death). It seeps from her relics through a thick slab of stone where it is collected and distributed by the nuns of the Abtei St. Walburg.

Novena to St. Walburga

O God, come to my assistance.
O Lord, make haste to help me.
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be forever. Amen

Psalm 23 or other psalm of trust (Psalm 62, 91) may be recited

Holy Walburga, you dwell in the glory of heaven, gazing upon the face of the Triune God in the company of all the saints. I turn to you, full of trust in the words of Jesus Christ, “Amen, amen I say to you, the one who has faith in me will do the works I do, and greater far than these” (Jn 14:12). God has granted you the gift of healing; help me in my need, which I bring before you (mention petition). Beg God to grant healing, consolation and strength to me and to all those for whom I pray. Implore Him to let me recognize His love and know His presence, whatever He may have in store for me.  Ask this for me through Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns in the unity of the Father and the Holy Spirit, God for ever and ever. Amen

Prayer for Using the Holy Oil:

All-powerful God, creator of the heavens and the earth, I believe that you hold the world in your hands. Helpless I stand before the mystery of evil, suffering, and illness. I entrust myself to your wisdom.

Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, for our sake your Sond took upon himself all the suffering of the world. In obedience to you he suffered death to set us free. I open my heart to the grace of his redemptive death.

Kind Father, your Son promised us the Paraclete, the Comforter. The Holy Spirit teaches me the right way to call upon you and to love you. I entrust myself to your love.

Merciful God, you give us saints as witnesses of your presence in this world. In a miraculous way, St. Walburga was enabled to become, through the sign of the holy oil, a wellspring of healing for the distressed, the needy, and the sick. I entrust myself to her intercession.

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be forever. Amen