For today’s saint we reach farther to the East, towards Russia. Our saint for today is from the Eastern Church, and is Xenia of Saint Petersburg:
Saint Blessed Xenia of St. Petersburg (Russian: Святая блаженная Ксения Петербургская [Xenia Grigoryevna Petrova – Ксения Григорьевна Петрова]; c. 1719–1730 – c. 1803, Saint Petersburg) is a patron saint of St. Petersburg, who according to tradition, gave all her possessions to the poor after her husband died.
Her husband had been Colonel Andrey Fyodorovich Petrov, a chanter at the Saint Andrew Cathedral. After his death, Xenia became a “fool-for-Christ” and for 45 years wandered around the streets of St. Petersburg, usually wearing her late husband’s military uniform.
St. Xenia’s grave is in the Smolensky Cemetery of St. Petersburg. It has been marked by an ornate chapel since 1902. She was canonized by the Russian Orthodox Church on February 6, 1988. Her feast day in the O.S. is January 24, which is February 6 in the New Calendar.
St. Blessed Mother Xenia is noted for her intercessions in helping those with employment, marriage, the homeless, for fires, for missing children, and for a spouse. She is venerated in several countries. There are about 40 churches and chapels built in her name.
I hadn’t heard of her until I started searching for a saint whose name began with X. Upon finding her story, I was fascinated, in large part because of her acting as a “fool for Christ.” While I had heard of the term before, I had never known much about it, or how it was more prevalent in the Eastern church as compared to the Western church. Reading up on it was certainly a learning experience. Those who are interested in learning more about her can read the wiki on her, or this article on the Life of St. Blessed Xenia of Petersburg.