Mirabilis takes as its inspiration the Life of Christina Mirabilis. Known in English as Christina the Astonishing, this extraordinary Flemish mystic was active at the turn of the 13th century. The Life was written only eight years after her death, and as such is a detailed and even warm account of a strange and marginalised figure.
It is the story of a woman who dies three times. Between her first and second deaths she lives on the edges of her community and of human society itself. She seeks out high places – treetops, towers, spires. Unable to abide the presence of human sin and corruption, which to her is a pervasive stench, she torments her body with the elements – fire and extreme cold. She crawls into ovens where bread is baking, and immerses herself in icy water for days on end. She emerges unharmed from these ordeals, as she endures the torments of Purgatory in her living body, sharing the suffering of those already there, and serving as an example to sinners still in this world of their fate.
To some a victim of demonic possession, to others ‘a fool for Christ’s sake’, and to others still, an intermediary with the divine, Christina towards the end of her life had accrued a certain amount of reverence and authority. Her (peaceful) second death saw her called back to impart some final words to nuns of the convent of St Catherine in Saint-Trond. This done, she effected a third and final departure from this world.
East Anglia Tour, Summer 2004:
- Friday, 30 April: St John’s, Duxford
- Saturday, 1 May: St Peter’s, Offord D’Arcy
- Friday, 14 May & Saturday, 15 May: St Laurence’s, Norwich
- Friday, 21 May: St Martin’s, Colchester
- Saturday, 22 May: St Mary’s, Chilton
- Saturday, 12 June: St Faith’s, Little Witchingham
- Sunday, 13 June: St Nicholas’, Salthouse
- Friday, 25 & Saturday, 26 June: St Mary’s-at-the-Quay, Ipswich
- Friday, 2 July: SS Cyriac and Julitta’s, Swaffham Prior
- Saturday, 3 July: St Margaret’s, Hales, Norfolk
- Tuesday, 20 July to Friday, 23 July: The Leper Chapel, Barnwell, Cambridge
- Saturday, 24 July: St John’s, Duxford
All performances start at 7:30pm