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St. Osana
(Born c.AD 698)

Born: circa AD 698
Died: circa AD 750 at Howden, Yorkshire


Osana was probably the daughter of King Aldfrith of Northumbria and St. Cuthburga. There is, however, some uncertainty for, though she is said to have been the sister of Osred, King of Northumbria, it is unrecorded as to which one. She is not heard of in early history and her existence is in some doubt.

Attention having been drawn to Osana's relics, which were preserved in a church in the Netherlands, it was ascertained that she was a Northumbrian princess of the seventh or eighth century. Her sanctity was first manifested, a considerable time after her death, by a miraculous flagellation she inflicted from her grave, and by which she converted a sinner. She was buried in the Collegiate Church of Howden in Yorkshire, but no special veneration was paid her until, one day, the concubine of the rector went into the church and thoughtlessly sat down on her tomb. Presently, she found that she could not rise from her seat. She writhed, she wept, she struggled, she called her friends and they pulled and pushed and hurt her and tore her clothes, and still she could not be moved from the stone where she sat. At length she perceived that a punishment had fallen on her, and that she was thus called to repentance. She resolved, with many tears, to amend her life and separate from the priest with whom she lived; and when she had made a vow to do so, she was able to leave her seat; but not before her dress was torn and her skin marked with many strokes of discipline. The Bollandists give her feast day as 18th June, on the authority of Geraldus Cambrensis.

Edited from Agnes Dunbar's "A Dictionary of Saintly Women" (1904).

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