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The Liturgical Calendar: The Church Remembers

Today the church remembers Hilda, Abbess of Whitby, 680.

The lovely Hilda was like a breath of spring in the dark winter of seventh-century England. She was born of the pagan royalty of Northumbria. When she was thirteen years old her great uncle, King Edwin, was converted, and she was baptized with his household. She was a lady of some rank and station and, although deeply touched by the new faith, hesitated to enter upon a religious vocation until she was over thirty. Eventually she founded a monastery at Whitby, with the help of Aidan, Bishop of Lindisfarne.

The Whitby monastery welcomed men and women and became a great center of the British church. According to Bede, Hilda oversaw the careful teaching of Holy Scripture, "by word and example, righteousness and mercy and purity, and especially peace and charity." There the famous Anglo-Saxon poet, Caedmon, was befriended and there he composed much of his work. There in 664 King Oswy called the church council which decided on the Romanization of the old British (Celtic) Church. Hilda was not pleased with this decision, which seriously changed the worship and discipline of her community. However, she gracefully accepted it, relinquishing local customs in the interest of the unity and order of the universal church.

O Lord, may we have a like power to hallow and conform our souls and bodies to your holy will. Amen.

Read the Wikipedia article here.

O God of peace, by whose grace the abbess Hilda was endowed with gifts of justice, prudence, and strength to rule as a wise mother over the nuns and monks of her household, and to become a trusted and reconciling friend to leaders of the Church: Give us the grace to recognize and accept the varied gifts you bestow on men and women, that our common life may be enriched and your gracious will be done; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

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