St. Willibrord (Feast: November 7)
Willibrord was born in 658 in Northumbria. When he was seven he was sent to a monastery governed by St. Wilfrid, where he remained for thirteen years until he traveled to Ireland to join St. Egbert and St. Wigbert to study in monastic schools.
He studied in Ireland for the next twelve years, receiving ordination and extensive missionary training. In 690, he set out with a dozen companions for Friesland, or Frisia, to evangelize.
In 693, he visited Rome to seek approval from Pope Sergius for his labors. Approval was granted and Willibrord was given relics to be used for the consecration of new churches.
In 695, Willibrord again visited the Eternal City, this time with a letter of recommendation from the Frankish leader Pepin of Heristal. Willibrord returned to Frisia a consecrated archbishop, built the Church of Our Savior in Utrecht and in the year 696, established his episcopal see there.
Some years later, Willibrord founded the monastery of Echternach in Luxembourg to serve as a center of missionary endeavors and extended the efforts of missionaries into Denmark and Upper Friesland. Daily he faced menacing dangers from outraged pagans, including one who nearly murdered him after he tore down a pagan idol.
In 714, the pagan Radbod reclaimed the extensive territories acquired by Pepin, and Willilbrord watched as all of the progress he had made become nearly undone. However, after Radbod's death, Willibrord began again with great enthusiasm, receiving invaluable assistance from St. Boniface (who spend three years in Friesland before going to Germany) and other colleagues, this time expanding into Holland, Zeeland and the Netherlands.
Willibrord died on retreat at the monastery of Echternach on November 7, 739 when he was eighty-one years old. For his apostolic efforts, he is called the Apostle of the Frisians.
DAILY QUOTE for April 8, 2020
SAINT OF THE DAY
St. Julie Billiart
He hung on a cross that day, writhing in pain and discomfort, the infamous highwayman.