Perhaps not everyone knows that the Patron Saint of Santa Croce sull’Arno, the Blessed Christian, Oringa Menabuoi was born between 1237 and 1240 in a house in Via dei Menabuoi 36 in the municipality of Fucecchio. The building in question is the one that on the map is highlighted with the red circle. Note the dotted municipal border: the house is located in the territory of Fucecchio and also shows a painting on the house to commemorate the religious (imm.1).
At that time the town of Santa Croce was still at an embryonic level and more than a common one could speak of a union between 4 churches, San Vito, San Tommaso, Sant’Andrea and San Donato in Mugnana, none of which was authorized to baptize.
Oringa-Cristiana belonged to the church of San Vito. The church of San Vito was under the jurisdiction of the Parish Church of Cappiano, the master church with a baptismal font. In the years when Oringa was born, he also began to be baptized in minor churches. It is possible that the future Saint was baptized in the Church of San Vito, but always with holy water coming from the Parish of Cappiano.
The theme is smoky, the borders especially at the time were elusive, but today they are very clear in the map that I attach. The santacrocises are used to place the birthplace of S. Cristiana where her image is located, that is at the corner between Via dei Garibaldini and Via Del Bosco, but who has read his story will notice that via dei Menabuoi has many more historical evidence starting from the name of the road, from the close proximity that the Canale Usciana. Via Menabuoi, however, is located between two municipalities (Santa Croce sull’Arno and Fucecchio) as well as between two provinces (Pisa and Florence).
A fucecchiese, therefore, this medieval heroine, who however feels belonging to Santa Croce despite the memories of a childhood of pain, loneliness and misery. It is the path of the hero who never chooses the easiest path, but the right one. After suffering for her mother’s death and the insolence of her brothers who, out of misery, wanted her to marry a rich landowner, Oringa chooses to make a leap into the void and divine providence extends her hand. He manages to escape through the Usciana Canal to Lucca and after years of conscious exile returns to Santa Croce sull’Arno to found his Monastery, a place where women, with other visions, could have a life alternative that was not only to be a man’s slave, but to educate himself and live the life of the city in an active and concrete way, helping the hungry population, promoting peace on every occasion and trying to sensitize the rulers not to fight. Always choosing the path of diplomacy and example.
A life grown on the edge therefore, far from the inhabited centers, in a natural and timeless space, has allowed this noble creature to learn the highest mysteries of the Universe and then give us back a new world. From birth Oringa teaches us that the boundaries are there in the head and we must never lose hope because if we can go beyond what we know, with confidence, the stars are rooting for us.
In the end it does not matter where you were born dear great little woman, the important thing is that you are remembered and that you can be a source of inspiration for future generations who no longer have to define themselves as belonging to Fucecchio or Santa Croce, but who build together the Way to get out of our mental boundaries.
Anonymous “Vita della Beata Cristiana” traduzione di Tommaso Cardini – Ed.TGA San Miniato
Giorgio Papàsogli “Uno core et anima in Dio” Ed. Ancora Milano
Alberto Malvolti “Santa Cristiana e il Castello di Santa Croce tra Medioevo e prima Età moderna” Pacini Editore SPA