Christina EBNER (1277-1356)

Alchetron, The Free Social Encyclopedia

Christina Ebner is not actually a beguine. However, we report her biography to show the passages between the Beguinal and the monastic world.
Christina was born in the imperial city of Nuremberg, daughter of the patrician Seyfried Ebner and his wife, Elizabeth Kuhdorf. In 1289, at the age of twelve, she entered the monastery of St. John the Baptist in Engelthal, a community of nuns of the second Dominican order outside the city.  Founded as a beguinage some fifty years earlier, in the following one hundred years this monastery was to become a very well-known centre of spirituality and learning. According to some, it may have been the first centre of mystical life at the beginning of the fourteenth century in Germany, if not in all of Europe.
Less than a year after her admission, Christina becomes seriously ill. This affliction would reappear up to three times a year for the next decade. Moreover, afterwards, she often suffered from various diseases. She had strong ascetic behaviours, e.g. flagellations with hedgehog quills. At that time, she began to have frequent visions, about which her confessor, Fra Corrado di Füssen, O.P., encouraged her to write. So she began to write her first book, Leben und Offenbarungen (Life and revelations) in 1317. She continued living there at least until 1324. In 1338, she began a correspondence with the priest Henry of Nördlingen, who was an enthusiastic propagator of mystical spirituality and literature. Thanks to him, she begins a correspondence with the Blessed Margareta Ebner, she too a Dominican religious actively involved in the spiritual movement of the period; despite the same family name “Ebner”, Margareta was not related to Christina
Around 1340, Christina began to compile the Book of Sisters (Schwesternbuch), a register of mystical visions and life experiences of other nuns in her monastery, called Von der genaden uberlast (Of the weight of grace). It can be attributed to Christina Ebner, based on a manuscript of 1451.
Between 1344 and 1352, Christina wrote a second book of Revelations (Offenbarungen). In it, she deals with historical and political events of the time such as the revolts of Nuremberg in 1348; the earthquake of the same year; the outbreak of the black plague; the procession of the Flagellants of 1349; and the long quarrel between the Holy Roman Empire Louis IV and the Holy See. Christina is not limited to the role of a spectator. Instead, she is deeply interested in events, develops her own opinions about them and also actively tries to influence their course. At that time, her reputation had spread widely across Northern Europe. In 1350, the same emperor Charles IV came to visit her in the monastery, looking for her guide and her prayers.
In 1351 she was finally visited for the first time by her long-standing confidant, Henry of Nördlingen, who spent three weeks visiting the monastery. On that occasion he gave her a copy of the mystical work of Mechthild of Magdeburg Das fließende Licht der Gottheit (The flowing light of divinity), which is reflected in her later works and those of the other nuns in the community. Christina dies in her monastery in Engelthal on December 27, 1356 in her 67th year of monastic life. John Taulerio, a disciple of Eckhart, was her great friend. (Source: Wikipedia)

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