I hope this is the right forum section…I’ve come across something that, while it doesn’t at all put into question what I believe, is just a little hard to reconcile with my faith.
Basically, sometime ago I started reading a classic book by St Alphonsus Liguori called True Spouse of Jesus Christ, which is about the religious state for women. Near the beginning of the book, Saint Alphonsus (whom I otherwise greatly appreciate!) mentions how a certain saint, named St Ebba, along with thirty other companions, mutilate themselves out of fear of a barbarian invasion…it can be read here, on page 18. A short account of the same thing can be read about on the Catholic Online website. Also, Wikipedia mentions it in its article on the expression, “cutting off the nose to spite the face”: here
Anyway, although St Alphonsus helpfully mentions that such conduct need not be imitated, I still can’t help but wonder, 1. How these nuns, saintly as they were, went about doing such a thing to themselves, and 2. More importantly, how St Alphonsus said that such actions were “an impulse of the Holy Spirit”?
Maybe I’m overthinking this, but it keeps bugging me in the back of my mind. However, I’m confident some of you will be able to help me out on this! I would appreciate receiving thoughtful and reasonable responses, if possible.
Thanks in advance, and I wish you all a happy and blessed month of May!