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July 24

Saint of the day:

Saint Christina the Astonishing

Patron Saint of the mentally ill, mental health workers and millers

The Story of Saint Christina the Astonishing

Born to a peasant family, orphaned as a child, and raised by two older sisters. At age 21, she experienced a severe seizure of what may have been epilepsy. It was so severe as to be cateleptic, and she was thought to have died. During her funeral Mass, she suddenly recovered, and levitated to the roof of the church. Ordered down by the priest, she landed on the altar and stated that she had been to hell, purgatory, and heaven, and had been returned to earth with a ministry to pray for souls in purgatory.

Her life from that point became a series of strange incidents cataloged by a Thomas de Cantimpré, Dominican professor of theology at Louvain who was a contemporary who recorded his information by interviewing witnesses, and by Cardinal Jacques de Vitny who knew her personally. She exhibited both unusual traits and abilities. For example, she could not stand the odor of other people because she could smell the sin in them, and would climb trees or buildings, hide in ovens or cupboards, or simply levitate to avoid contact. She lived in a way that was considered poverty even in the 13th century, sleeping on rocks, wearing rags, begging, and eating what came to hand. She would roll in fire or handle it without harm, stand in freezing water in the winter for hours, spend long periods in tombs, or allow herself to be dragged under water by a mill wheel, though she never sustained injury. Given to ecstasies during which she led the souls of the recently dead to purgatory, and those in purgatory to paradise.

People who knew her were divided in their opinions: she was a holy woman, touched of God, and that her actions and torments were simulations of the experiences of the souls in purgatory; she was suffering the torments of devils; she was flatly insane. However, the prioress of Saint Catherine’s convent testified that no matter how bizarre or excessive Christina’s reported actions, she was always completely obedient to the orders of the prioresses of the convent. Christina was a friend of Louis, Count of Looz, whose castle she visited, and whose actions she rebuked. Blessed Marie of Oignies thought well of her, and Saint Lutgardis sought her advice.





Died at Saint Catherine’s Convent, Sint-Truiden, Belgium

Major shrine Palermo, Sicily, Italy 



ARANCINO OR ARANCINA - typical recipe (Stuffed Rice Balls)

INGREDIENTS (for 25 medium arancini)

  • 1 kg of Original rice (or Rome)

  • 2,5 l of filtered vegetable broth

  • 4 bags of saffron powder

  • 150 g of butter

For arancini with meat sauce

  • 500 g of mixed minced meat (bovine-pork)

  • 100 g of mixed for sautéed (celery-carrot-onion)

  • 1 bay leaf

  • 1/2 glass of dry white wine

  • 400 ml of tomato sauce

  • 7 g of salt

  • a pinch of sugar

  • 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil

  • 150 g of frozen frozen peas

  • pepper as needed

  • 200 g of semi-aged caciocavallo cheese in cubes
    (or Emmentalar or Edamer)


For the arancini with butter

  • 500 ml of whole milk

  • 40 g of butter

  • 60 g of flour (or potato starch for celiacs)

  • 200 g of small-sized cooked ham

  • 2 tablespoons of grana cheese

For spinach arancini

  • 200 g of fresh or frozen spinach

  • 1 clove of garlic

  • 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil

  • Salt and Pepper To Taste

  • part of the stuffing for the arancini with butter

For breading

  • 200 g of durum wheat flour (or gluten-free flour for coeliacs)

  • 400 ml of water at room temperature

  • 500 g of breadcrumbs (gluten-free for celiacs)

  • 2 liters of peanut oil for frying


  1. Bring the salted vegetable broth to a boil, add the saffron and rice, cook over a gentle heat stirring occasionally until all the broth has been absorbed (the quantity of the broth is perfect and do not need to be drained); when the rice is still hot, chop the butter into small pieces and place it on a baking sheet to cool.

  2. Prepare a small ragout by browning the mixture for finely chopped sauté in olive oil; then add the minced meat, salt and pepper and, as soon as it changes color, blend with white wine; evaporate and add the bay leaf and tomato sauce. 

  3. Season with salt and pepper and add a pinch of sugar; cook over a very low heat for about two hours. 

  4. In the last half hour of cooking remember to add the peas.

  5. For the stuffing of the arancino to the butter, prepare a béchamel sauce, browning the flour in the melted butter for a few minutes (roux), which you then add to the warm milk; cook over a low heat until thick. 

  6. with the béchamel incorporated in the cooked ham.

  7. For the stuffing with spinach, cook them in a pan with salt (without adding water); as soon as they are cooked, cut them finely with a knife and finish with a little oil and the garlic, pepper. 

  8. The spinach so prepared should be mixed with a part of the rice ready (the amount of rice depends on how many spinach arancini you want to do, I have used a third, more or less).

  9. When the rice and the various fillings will be cold (if for a long time I recommend to keep them in the fridge) it goes to the size of arancini: I gave the pear shape all'arancino with meat sauce, round butter and oval spinach (you do as you see fit).

  10. Proceed first to the size of the spinach, then to the butter (so to use all the ingredients) and, if there is some sauce you can use it later to season pasta.

  11. Moisten your hands with a little water, take an amount of rice equivalent to a small orange and form a ball, flatten up to 1 cm thick, put in the center a couple of tablespoons of meat sauce, or béchamel and ham for those butter and spinach, a few diced caciocavallo and close the ball reform, trying not to let the stuffing out. 

  12. To give the shape of a pear lightly press the ball between the lower part of the palms of the hands (in short, when you form the tip it must be facing down).

  13. Once the arancini are ready, dip them in a fairly liquid homogeneous batter made with water and flour, drain the excess and immediately put them in the breadcrumbs making them roll to avoid getting excessively dirty hands. Bring peanut oil to a temperature of 180 ° C (in a high saucepan or, even better, in the fryer) and fry the arancini completely immersed until golden brown, soak up the excess grease with paper towels and serve the still hot and crunchy arancini. Enjoy your meal!


VARIATION: the filling can also be prepared with béchamel and mushrooms, with aubergine, pumpkin and scamorza sauce, and with everything you like; you can indulge yourself on condition that the filling is dense.

TIP: many incorporate the egg into the rice, apart from that it does not serve as a binder (it is enough the starch that releases the rice), if you really want to add advice to insert it into the stuffing and chopped into pieces.

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