Saint Sexburga of Ely - The Widow Abbess
I swear I am not making this up.
A while ago while bumming around at a friend's house I came across a copy of the Penguin Dictionary of Saints. My friend's dad is a priest in the Uniting Church, so this in itself was not totally surprising. What blew my mind while flipping through this to see what saints had names the same as my friends is that there is a Saint Sexburga. Not a common name in this day and age really is it?
Strange coincidence? You be the judge.
This struck me as rather odd. Rather than be juvenile about it all, I decided to learn something about her.
Sexburga was the daughter of King Anna of the East Angles, sister of Saints Etheldreda, Ethelburga, Erconwald, and Withburga, and half-sister of Saint Sethrida. They had strange names back then.
Sexburga married King Erconbert of Kent in 640 and bore him two daughters, who also became saints; Ermenilda and Ercongotha.
Upon Erconbert's death in 664, Sexburga finished Minster Monastery, which she had founded on Sheppey Island, and joined the nuns there. She appointed her daughter Saint Ermenilda as abbess and then went to Ely Abbey, where she succeeded her sister Etheldreda as abbess and died in 699
In art, Saint Sexburga is usually depicted as a crowned abbess with a palm branch. Her Saint's day is 6th June. This would be of significance if you lived in a primarily Catholic culture and happened to be named Sexburga. *cough cough*