St Willibrord

Romans 12.5-16; Psalm 130; Luke 14.15-24

Born near York around the year 658, Willibrord was the son of the hermit St Wilgis, who sent his son to the Benedictine monastery at Ripon, where St Wilfrid was Abbot.  Wilfrid was deposed and exiled in 677 or 678, and Willibrord decided to exile himself as well, going to live for 12 years in Ireland, where he became a disciple of St Egbert at the Abbey of Rath Melsigi in County Carlow, a major centre of learning in the 7th Century.  Willibrord was ordained a priest in 688.  In 690 Egbert sent him with 11 companions to bring the Gospel to Frisia.  He founded a monastery at Echternach, Luxembourg, to serve as a missionary base and extended the mission into Denmark and Upper Friesland.  In 695 he was consecrated Archbishop of the Frisians by Pope Sergius, and he established his see at Utrecht.

In 716 the pagan Radbod reclaimed the territories of Frisia, burning churches and killing missionaries.  Willibrord and his companions fled.  In 719, upon the death of Radbod, Willibrord returned to resume his work.  He died on 7th November 739 and was buried at Echternach.  He is considered the Apostle to the ‘Benelux’ countries—Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg.

Posted in Daily Reflection.