Posted by: anna | September 29, 2009

St Ninian and Edith of Wilton

The icon image is from Aidan Hart Icons. Today is the feast of two English saints, fl. 500 years apart:

St. Ninian, bishop of Whithorn (Candida Casa) (432)

Ninian has a separate mention on the Russian online calendar: ‘One of the great missionaries and early Saints of the British Isles, he was born in Britain around the year 360. Though Britain was still mostly pagan, Ninian was born of Christian parents. He traveled to Rome as a young man, and spent several years there engaged in study and ascetic struggle. He was ordained in Rome and sent back as a missionary to Britain around the year 400. On the way he probably met St Martin of Tours: many of the churches he founded, including his cathedral in Whithorn, were named in honor of St Martin. He established several monasteries, ministered to his Christian Briton countrymen and converted many more Britons to the Faith. He also converted many of the fierce Picts, inhabitants of today’s Scotland, to faith in Christ. He reposed in peace in Whithorn in 432.’

Venerable Edith, nun, of Wilton, England (984)

The Archdiocese of Thyateira and Great Britain provides this summary: ‘She was the daughter of King Edgar of England and Wulfrida. She was born at Kensing, England, in 961, and was brought as a very young child to Wilton Abbey by her mother, who later became a nun there and Abbess.

Saint Edith became a nun at fifteen, declined her father’s offer of three abbacies, and refused to leave the convent to become queen when her half-brother, King Edward the Martyr was murdered, as many of the nobles requested.

She built St. Denis Church at Wilton. Saint Dunstan was invited to the dedication and wept much during mass. Being asked the reason, he said it was because Edith would die in three weeks, which actually happened, on 16 September AD 984. ‘

There is a somewhat fulsome, not to say slightly icky, Life in Virgin Saints of the Benedictine Order, online here. But it does have plenty of detail and comment. More about the church at Bishop Wilton, dedicated to St Edith, here

Through the prayers of our holy fathers and mothers among the saints, especially St Ninian and Ven Edith, have mercy on us.

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