Another of our ‘Saints of St Chrysostom’s,’ and another from the sequence of British Saints found in the stained glass windows of the north aisle – St Hilda of Whitby. (Feast day November 19th). Laura, parish assistant writes:
Hilda was born in 614, a member of the royal family of Northumbria and was baptised by St Paulinus at the age of thirteen. She joined the religious life at the age of thirty three. She is known for establishing the double monastery (men and women together) at Whitby, over which she had charge. Through her vision, determination and fervour she helped form the abbey into a place of great education and learning. She encouraged the Anglo Saxon poet Caedmon, a local cowherd, to write poetry in the vernacular. (He thus became the earliest English poet whose name is known).
Hilda had gained a reputation as a great teacher and as such kings and abbots along with the everyday people sought her advice. She frequently encouraged people to develop the gifts God gave them to serve Him
She was also host to the Synod of Whitby (663/4), which tried to reslove tensions between the Roman way of church and the Celtic way.
She was devoted to her work at Whitby and continued it enthusiastically right up until her death, even during the final 6 or 7 years of chronic illness.
For me questions to us which arise from Hilda’s life are:
Do we encourage people to develop the skills God gave them? And do we allow people the chance to share those gifts?
What can we do to increase our sense of unity in our community?