Monday, November 18, 2013

Hilda of Whitby

The ruins of Whitby Abby, founded by St. Hilda

Hilda of Whitby, born in 614 in Northumbria, was a spiritual leader, abbess at the monastery at Whitby, and advisor to kings and commoners. Her preferred practice was centered in Celtic Christianity, though she brokered a peaceful transition when at the Council of Whitby, King Oswy decided to bring Northubria in line with Roman tradition. She also nurtured and encouraged a stable hand named Caedmon to sing his songs in his native Anglo-Saxon, thus she assisted in bringing forth the first English poet.

St. Hilda’s feast day is November 17 in the Roman Catholic Church, but in the Episcopal Church her day is celebrated on my birthday, November 18 – which is why on this day I am more Anglican than Catholic. I take some time on this day to honor the Celtic heritage, feminine leadership, and the poetic voice.

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