Saint Hilda was born in 614 in the north of modern England. She was a relative of King Edwin of Northumbria, who became a Christian about 627.
At the age of 33, Hilda became a nun under the guidance of Saint Aidan of Lindisfarne. She learned the traditions of Irish monasticism and was appointed abbess of a new sisterhood. When King Oswiu granted her 1200 acres near Whitby, she established a double monastery for monks and nuns, with a shared common church.
As abbess, Saint Hilda made Whitby a model of the monastic life. It became an important spiritual center for the English Church, hosting the Synod of Whitby, giving spiritual formation to many saints, and spreading Christianity throughout England. Saint Bede of Jarrow compiled a full biography of her life and works.
Towards the end of her life, Saint Hilda suffered from chronic illness, yet she carried on with zeal until her last days. Her death was met with miracles and visions of angels by many who knew her. Pilgrims came from great distances to venerate her wonderworking relics. She is celebrated to this day as a mother figure of the English people.
Saint Hilda is commemorated on November 17.
This icon is offered by Legacy Icons with the permission of the iconographer, Brian Matthew Whirledge.
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