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St. Hilda of Whitby

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Feastday: November 17
Birth: 614
Death: 680

The English princess Hilda led a virtuous life in the world until at the age of thirty-three she resolved to consecrate her virginity to God as a nun. She had at first planned to leave her native land to enter a convent in France where her sister was a nun, "to live an exile for our Lord's sake...so that she might the more easily attain her eternal heavenly home" (as Saint Bede relates). But Hilda was instead persuaded to enter an English convent in Northumbria. Thereafter, she was chosen to become abbess of the nearby double-monastery of Hartlepool, a religious community of monks and nuns living separately in adjoining convents. Later, she served as abbess of another double monastery that came to be known as Whitby. Hilda was a zealous advocate of Scripture studies. Her great virtue and prudence became known outside the monastery, inspiring the conversions of many sinners. Toward the end of her life, she suffered from a lingering illness that subjected her to a continuous high fever. Despite her physical misery, she directed her thoughts to offering thanksgiving to God. Hilda is commemorated on November 17.


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