Hilda of Whitby

November 17

Hilda of Whitby was born in 614, and when she was orphaned as a thirteen year old she became the guardian of her great-uncle, King Edwin of Northumbria. That same year, Edwin's entire household was baptized by St. Paulinius. Twenty years later, Hilda felt called to religious life as a nun. Under the direction of Aiden she established several monasteries, the last of which was at Whitby.

During her tenure as abbess of Whitby Hilda encouraged study of scripture, established a library and school, and presided over a double (male and female) monastery that became a great religious center of learning in the known world. She was well-known as a spiritual director for royalty and common people.

The important Synod of Whitby met to decide between Celtic and Roman practices for the date of Easter, proper dress for monks, and other disputes.

She was sick for the last seven years of her life and died on November 17, 680 at the age of sixty-six. Several religious communities devoted to Saint Hilda exist today.

If Hilda of Whitby had taken the Spiritual Types Test, she probably would have been a Sage. Hilda of Whitby is remembered on November 17.

Image is detail of stained glass window of Hilda of Whitby in the Lady Chapel, St. Wilfrid's Church, Bognor Regis, UK.

Today's Reflection

Hilda of Whitby