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St. Sexburga of Kent

Commemorated on July 6

St. Sexburga was born in the seventh century and was the eldest daughter of King Anna of East Anglia and his second wife, Saewara. She had four saintly sisters (Etheldreda, Ethelburg, Withburg and Sethrid).

Sexburga married King Erconbert of Kent and began to build a religious house at Sheppey, Kent, where holy virgins attended divine services, day and night. . She bore her husband three children, two of whom also became saints, Ermengilda and Ercongota, and heir, Egbert I. She was also the grandmother of St. Werburga of Chester, St. Wulfade & St. Rufinus.

In 664, King Erconbert died of the “yellow plague” that spread across England. As a widow, Sexburga became regent, for a time, on behalf of her son, Egbert I. After he grew to adulthood in 679, St. Sexburga retired to her monastery along with seventy-four nuns.

In 679, hearing of the great sanctity of her sister, Etheldreda made the decision to live in greater obscurity than she had as the head of her own monastery in Ely. She moved to Sexburga’s monastery, choosing to became a nun there. Eventually, Etheldreda succeeded Sexburga as abbess.

Sexburga lived to an old age and died around 700. After her death, her sister, Etheldreda transferred Sexburga’s remains into a Roman sarcophagus brought from nearby Grantchester.

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