Hilda of Whitby

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[[Image:Hilda of Whitby.jpg|right|thumb|St. Hilda of Whitby]]
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Our venerable Mother '''Hilda of Whitby''' (614-680) was [[abbess]] of the great [[Whitby Abbey]] in northern England in the 7th century.  Her [[feast day]] is [[November 17]].
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==Life==
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Practically speaking, all our knowledge of St. Hilda is derived from the pages of [[Bede]]. She was the daughter of Hereric, the nephew of King Edwin of Northumbria, and she seems like her great-uncle to have become a Christian through the preaching of St. [[Paulinus]] about the year 627, when she was thirteen years old.
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Moved by the example of her sister Hereswith, who, after marrying Ethelhere of East Anglia, became a [[nun]] at Chelles in Gaul, Hilda also journeyed to East Anglia, intending to follow her sister abroad. But St. [[Aidan of Lindisfarne|Aidan]] recalled her to her own country, and after leading a [[monasticism|monastic]] life for a while on the north bank of the Wear and afterwards at Hartlepool, where she ruled a double [[monastery]] of [[monk]]s and nuns with great success, Hilda eventually undertook to set in order a [[Whitby Abbey|monastery at Streaneshalch]], a place to which the Danes a century or two later gave the name of Whitby.
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[[Image:Whitby Abbey.jpg|thumb|left|200pxl|Whitby Abbey]]Under the rule of St. Hilda the monastery at Whitby became very famous. The [[Holy Scriptures]] were specially studied there, and no less than five of the monastics became [[bishops]], St. [[John of Hexham|John, Bishop of Hexham]], and still more St. [[Wilfrid of York|Wilfrid, Bishop of York]], rendering untold service to the Anglo-Saxon church at this critical period of the struggle with paganism.  Here, in 664, was held the important [[Synod of Whitby|synod]] at which King Oswiu, convinced by the arguments of St. Wilfrid, decided, among other issues, a [[paschalion|manner of calculating the date]] for Northumbria's observance of [[Pascha]].  St. Hilda herself later on seems to have sided with Archbishop Theodore against Wilfrid.  The fame of St. Hilda's wisdom was so great that from far and near monks and even royal personages came to consult her. Seven years before her death the [[saint]] was stricken down with a grievous fever which never left her till she breathed her last, but, in spite of this, she neglected none of her duties to God or to her spiritual children. She passed away most peacefully after receiving [[Eucharist]], and the tolling of the monastery bell was heard miraculously at Hackness thirteen miles away, where also a devout nun named Begu saw the soul of St. Hilda borne to heaven by [[angels]].
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With St. Hilda is intimately connected the story of [[Caedmon]], the sacred bard. When he was brought before St. Hilda she admitted him to take monastic vows in her monastery, where he most piously died.
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The [[cultus]] of St. Hilda from an early period is attested by the inclusion of her name in the [[calendar]] of St. [[Willibrord]], written at the beginning of the eighth century. It was alleged at a later date the remains of St. Hilda were translated to Glastonbury by King Edmund, but this is only part of the "great Glastonbury myth." Another story states that St. [[Edmund]] brought her [[relics]] to Gloucester. There are a dozen or more old English churches dedicated to St. Hilda on the northeast coast, and "South Shields" is probably a corruption of St. Hilda.
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==Sources==
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*[http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/07350a.htm St. Hilda], from the Catholic Encyclopedia
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==External links==
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*[http://www.wilfrid.com/saints/hilda.htm St. Hilda of Whitby], from St. Wilfrid's Church in England (Anglican)
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*[http://www.britannia.com/bios/saints/hilda.html St. Hilda], from Brittania.com
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[[Category:Celtic and Anglo-Saxon Saints]]
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[[Category:Monastics]]
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[[Category:Saints]]
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Revision as of 02:52, June 10, 2008

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