Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Hilda, Abbess of Whitby

When I was a teenager, my parish church had a stained glass window dedicated to St. Hilda. I've admired her for a long, long time. And I've come to think it a real pity that her viewpoint of favoring the Celtic Christian tradition over the Roman one did not prevail at the Synod of Whitby. (A good list of the most common features of Celtic Christianity can be found here. You will need to scroll down a bit.)

Here's something from an essay about her:
She was the adviser of rulers as well as of ordinary folk; she insisted on the study of Holy Scripture and proper preparation for the priesthood; the influence of her example of peace and charity extended well beyond the walls of her monastery; and "all who knew her called her Mother, such were her wonderful godliness and grace." Saint Hilda is often represented in art holding Whitby Abbey in her hands with a crown on her head or at her feet.
And I think the collect for her feast day is particularly lovely:

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.

1 comment:

  1. thanks ellie! and let's hear it for the Celtic Way!


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