About St. Cuthbert of Lindisfarne (by Venerable Bede)

St. Cuthbert in BoatOn September 4, we commemorate the translation of the relics of St. Cuthbert of Lindisfarne (+651) to Durham.  His principle feast day is March 20.

About St. Cuthbert

by Venerable Bede

Cuthbert adopted the name and habit of a monk when he was quite a young man. He first entered the monastery of Mailros, which is on the bank of the river Tweed.

[…] Cuthbert became provost of that monastery, where he instructed many in the rule of monastic life, both by the authority of a master, and the example of his own behaviour.

Nor did he bestow his teaching and his example in the monastic life on his monastery alone, but laboured far and wide to convert the people dwelling round about from the life of foolish custom, to the love of heavenly joy.

For many profaned the faith which they held by their wicked actions. And some also, in the time of a pestilence, neglecting the mysteries of the faith which they had received, had recourse to the false remedies of idolatry, as if they could have put a stop to the plague sent from God, by incantations, amulets, or any other secrets of the devil’s art.

In order to correct the error of both sorts, he often went forth from the monastery, sometimes on horseback, but oftener on foot, and went to the neighbouring townships, where he preached the way of truth to such as had gone astray.

[…] It was then the custom of the English people, that when a clerk or priest came to a township, they all, at his summons, flocked together to hear the Word, willingly heard what was said, and still more willingly practised those things that they could hear and understand.

And such was Cuthbert’s skill in speaking, so keen his desire to persuade men of what he taught, such a light shone in his angelic face, that no man present dared to conceal from him the secrets of his heart, but all openly revealed in confession what they had done, thinking doubtless that their guilt could in nowise be hidden from him. And having confessed their sins, they wiped them out by fruits worthy of repentance, as he bade them.

He was wont chiefly to resort to those places and preach in those villages which were situated afar off amid steep and wild mountains, so that others dreaded to go thither, and whereof the poverty and barbarity rendered them inaccessible to other teachers.

But he, devoting himself entirely to that pious labour, so industriously ministered to them with his wise teaching, that when he went forth from the monastery, he would often stay a whole week, sometimes two or three, or even sometimes a full month, before he returned home, continuing among the hill folk to call that simple people by his preaching and good works to the things of Heaven.

The Venerable Bede (672/4-735): Ecclesiastical History of England, 4, 27.