Shrine of St. Frideswide, Christ Church Cathedral Oxford.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Feast of St. Winifred, 3 November (also called St. Winefride, Gwenffrewi or Wenefreda)

Fragments of St. Winifred's Shrine at Shrewsbury Abbey.
     Winifred was a welsh princess of the 7th century, who decided to become a nun instead of marrying, joining a monastery in northern Wales. The legend follows that her suitor, Caradog, was enraged with her decision and pursued her, similar to the stories of St. Frideswide and of St. Etheldreda in faraway East Anglia who chose the religious life much to the dismay of the young King Ecgfrith of Northumbria. Caradog struck of the head of Winifred and where it fell a spring appeared, a reoccurring theme in the cult of saints in Wales. Winifred picked up her head and brought it to the renowned missionary and abbot, St. Beuno who restored her to life. Winifred proceeded to become the abbess of Gwytherin, a monastery in Denbighshire, and made a pilgrimage to Rome. She died in A.D. 660 and was buried at Gwytherin but was translated by benedictine monks in the 12th century to the Abbey Church of St. Peter and St. Paul at Shrewsbury, where her relics were venerated in a shrine up to the reformation. The well, where her head landed, continues to be maintained as a pilgrimage site. Winifred is featured in the "Cadfael" series, by Ellis Peters, which takes place at Shrewsbury Abbey during the 12th century.
     Although few of us will ever have the honor of witnessing a miracle exactly like that of St. Winifred, her story remains part of the larger Christian journey. Her persistence to enter a life fully dedicated to the work and thought of Christ, is an example for all Christians today who may becoming priests or religious themselves or who may be looking for a way to integrate Jesus into every aspect of life outside of the religious life and find others who discourage them from doings so or suggest that a person's Christian life should be more private. Followers of Christ carry on a faith that must be expressed in every aspect of life and so by no means can we both live Christianity privately and support the faith fully. St. Winifred is among those saints who lead all Christians to seek full intimacy with Christ in an ordained religious, or lay life despite any form of persecution or discouragement. With St. Winifred's example, we, as Christians, must embody the faith in our own lives and proclaim the love of Christ for the rest of the world to know also.
Gwytherin Church; probably built on the foundations of Winifred's monastery.
The Martyrdom of St. Winifred in Shrewsbury Abbey.

No comments:

Post a Comment