Saint Wilfrid of York
Jul 16, 2015 / Written by: America Needs Fatima
Feast October 12
Wilfrid was born in 634, the son of a nobleman. At odds with his stepmother, he was sent to the court of King Oswy of Northumbria, where Queen Eanfleda, complying with his wishes, kindly saw to his education in the sacred sciences.
In 654 he went to Europe with St. Benet, and after a stay in Lyons, went on to Rome where he studied under Boniface the Archdeacon, secretary to Pope St. Martin.
Back in England, in league with King Alcfrith of Deira, he labored to bring the Roman discipline to the English church, taking distance from Celtic usages. Among the Roman practices he worked to establish in England was the Roman calculation for the celebration of Easter.
He became abbot of the monastery of Ripon where he introduced the rule of St. Benedict, and soon after was ordained a priest.
Appointed Bishop of York, he went to France to be consecrated. Lingering, for reasons unknown, then suffering shipwreck, when he returned, found that another, St. Chad, had been appointed in his place by King Oswy.
Wilfrid did not dispute the election, but later, St. Theodore, Archbishop of Canterbury, found that the appointment of St. Chad had been irregular and placed St. Wilfrid in the see of York.
As a bishop, he was exemplary and beloved of his people, but his path was not peaceful. First at odds with the heir to Oswy, King Egfrith, and then with the latter’s successor, Aldfrith, he twice lost his see and twice had to travel to Rome to be reinstated, besides facing all sorts of difficulties.
He died in 709 and his body is buried in his monastery of Ripon. Part of the epitaph on his tomb reads: “… drove error far, and showed his folk sound law and liturgy … At home, abroad long time in tempests tossed … he bore a bishop’s charge … Passed to rest and gained the joys of heaven … Grant Lord his flock may tread their shepherd’s path!”