Thursday 30th October 2014

Home » saints » Currently Reading:

Catholic Heroes… St. Cuthbert

March 17, 2014 saints No Comments

By CAROLE BRESLIN

The Melrose Abbey in Scotland, which is located about 30 miles south-southeast of Edinburgh, attracts more visitors than just about any other attraction in Scotland. Although mostly in ruins now, the abbey boasts a museum and other sites of interest, such as the embalmed heart of Robert the Bruce. Mel Gibson revived interest in him with the making of Braveheart. Three miles to the east of this abbey, there was once another Melrose Abbey founded by St. Aidan and later there was also the abbey of which St. Cuthbert served as prior for a brief period of time.
St. Cuthbert, claimed by some Irishmen to be from their country, more likely was born in the Lowlands of Scotland. Since history does not pick up his life until he was about eight years old, he may have been an orphan, certainly born of poor parents. His caretaker, named Kenswith, cared for him as though he were her son.
Like most young boys, he was lively and active in many physical undertakings. He excelled at running and jumping as well as the “manly” art of wrestling. He did not seem to care much for the things of God by participating in these activities. However, one day a young lad stunned him with the comment, “How can you waste your time in idle sport — you whom God has set apart to be a priest and bishop?”
From that time on Cuthbert spent much time in contemplation and prayer facilitated by his quiet life of shepherding in Northumbria. In 651 — Cuthbert was about 15 years old at the time — he had a vision of St. Aidan’s soul being carried by angels to Heaven the very night Aidan died. From that moment on, the shepherd consecrated his life to God.
St. Cuthbert first went off to the military before showing up one day at the door of Melrose Abbey; he was accepted by St. Boisil, the prior, immediately. After nine years, he followed St. Eata to Ripon, just outside of Glasgow, where another abbey was to be built upon land which had been donated by the king.
Shortly thereafter, Cuthbert came down with the yellow plague that was decimating the people of Scotland. When he learned that an all-night vigil of prayer by his confreres saw him through the ordeal, he arose, exclaiming that God could not ignore the prayers of such good men.
Noticing that the populace was reverting to pagan charms and superstitious means to alleviate the plague, he undertook greater work to preach to the people and visit them to revive the Christian faith. He did this even though he had not fully recovered from the illness himself.
During his time at Ripon he ministered to those who were most far away, knowing that they saw priests the least. This travel over such hilly terrain certainly was not easy, but he did not count the cost. Even as prior of Melrose and then at Lindisfarne, he continued his visits both far and near.
Many miracles were worked at his hands, leading to his nickname, “The Wonderworker of Britain.” Other witnesses said that he rose at night to enter the water, as cold as it was, and spent the night up to his neck, praising and singing to the Lord. When he came ashore, legend has it that two otters rubbed him with their fur to warm his chilled body.
Another time when he and two other travelers were stranded at the foot of a cliff because of inclement winter weather, the two others feared for their lives. St. Cuthbert told them to trust in God who would provide for them and indeed they found a supply of dolphin meat nearby that sustained them until they were saved.
Conflict soon occurred to disrupt the peace. The struggle between the Celtic Rite and the Roman Rite, although settled at the Council of Whitby when the king ruled for the use of the Roman Rite, resulted in the Irish monks leaving and returning to Ireland, taking the remains of St. Aidan, the founder of Melrose, with them. The job left for St. Eata, who then became bishop, and St. Cuthbert his prior, was challenging, to say the least. Those disgruntled by the ruling made life difficult by opposing the ruling.
St. Cuthbert would simply close the meetings without delay when passions ran too high.
Eventually peace was restored by his patience and perseverance. He then continued his apostolic work with the people of the countryside by his preaching and visitations. He also labored to care for those who were physically ailing as well spending his nights in prayer and his days at work.
He yearned for a more solitary existence where he could spend his time in prayer, so, with the permission of his superior, he left for what is to this day called St. Cuthbert’s Isle off the east coast of Scotland. Visitors braved the stormy seas to reach him, however, driving him to move to an even more remote island that had neither water nor food.
At last he did find water on the island and after a year of crop failure he managed to raise some barley to sustain him. Even all this hardship did not deter those seeking his help. Surrendering, he built a guesthouse for those landing on the island. He left this island only once to minister to the king’s daughter, who urged him to accept a bishopric.
After long prayer and deliberation, he agreed, if he could spend six more months at his hermitage. During this time he spoke with St. Eata, who agreed to some changes which would allow St. Cuthbert to become bishop of Lindisfarne and thus be in charge of the monastery there.
He was consecrated bishop of Lindisfarne in 685. He continued to give alms, preach, and visit the poor. Sadly, two weeks after Cuthbert’s consecration, the king was killed in battle. This tragic loss of king and battle ushered in another round of the plague. Once again, the bishop visited the sick, working many miracles, bringing much hope to the suffering. He even brought one boy back to life.
Two years later, recognizing that his end was near, he gave some final instructions to his brethren. He suffered great trials at the end when no one could reach him. He died on March 20, 687.
In death, his body traveled almost as much as in life. He was first buried at Lindisfarne where his body remained for nearly 200 years. When the Northmen attacked Scotland, the body was carried to various sites, before finally being placed in Durham Cathedral.
Many pilgrims came to this shrine for Cuthbert, but during the chaos following the divorce of Henry VIII, his body was removed again when the Catholic churches were pillaged. Several places now claim to have portions of his remains in Scotland.
Dear St. Cuthbert, your prayers sustained your labors. Teach us to pray and to pray more deeply, listening and praising. Help us to support all our labors of evangelization with the all-important requirement of prayer and communion with our Father in Heaven, together with Jesus His Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.

+    +    +

(Carole Breslin home-schooled her four daughters and served as treasurer of the Michigan Catholic Home Educators for eight years. Mrs. Breslin’s articles have appeared in Homiletic & Pastoral Review and in the Marian Catechist Newsletter. For over ten years, she was national coordinator for the Marian Catechists, founded by Fr. John A. Hardon, SJ.)

Share Button

Comment on this Article:

Angola: Catholic Priest Refutes Criticism of Church Practices

Lubango — The Southern Huila province?s Lubango city emeritus archbishop, Zacarias Kamwenho, rejected as false the claim that Catholic Christians worship images. Speaking on Sunday in the Muxima Diocese, in Lubango, the archbishop explained that Catholic Christians worship God instead,…Continue Reading

Ave Maria School of Law Wins Its HHS Mandate Case in Federal Court

The Obama Administration has suffered another defeat in its quest to force Catholics and people of faith to pay for abortion-causing drugs, as required by the HHS Mandate. Today the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida came down…Continue Reading

Catholic Educators Appeal to Obama Administration for Relief from HHS Mandate

Today a coalition including The Cardinal Newman Society, leaders of Catholic schools and colleges, and the expert attorneys of the Alliance Defending Freedom told the Obama administration that its latest rule mandating insurance coverage for sterilization and contraception, including abortion-causing…Continue Reading

Toronto schools hosting ‘LGBTQ’ conference for students as young as 11

The Toronto District School Board (TDSB) is hosting three student conferences within the span of eight days for the purpose of LGBTQ activism.  The conferences, which have been organized in collaboration with Jer’s Vision, will take place on October 28,…Continue Reading

The Synod and the Media: Culpable Naïveté or Shrewd Calculation?

Upon becoming director of media relations for the American bishops in late 1969, I quickly made a crucial discovery about my new employers. With just a handful of exceptions, the bishops were painfully naïve about the news business, yet convinced…Continue Reading

Chaldean Catholic patriarch suspends 10 priests, including 1 from El Cajon

SAN DIEGO – The head of the Chaldean Catholic Church has suspended 10 priests, including one from El Cajon. Chaldean Catholic Patriarch Louis Sako issued a decree a month ago, demanding the priests return to Iraq or be suspended. Wednesday…Continue Reading

Retired Pope Says Interreligious Dialogue No Substitute For Mission

VATICAN CITY – Retired Pope Benedict XVI said dialogue with other religions is no substitute for spreading the Gospel to non-Christian cultures, and warned against relativistic ideas of religious truth as “lethal to faith.” He also said the true motivation…Continue Reading

California Forces Churches to Directly Fund Abortions, Churches Refuse to Comply

To the dismay of California’s people of faith, the California Department of Managed Health Care has reclassified abortion as a “basic health service” under the Affordable Care Act and ordered all insurance plans in the state to begin covering surgical…Continue Reading

Relax. God’s Still In Charge.

It’s an enormous challenge to maintain pristine doctrinal purity while at the same time respond to the experiential, personal, and difficult needs of married couples and families. Behind every arcane discussion of gradualism and natural law there are parents and…Continue Reading

Cardinal Burke: The “Relatio Synodi” Is “A Significant Improvement Over The Text Of The ‘Relatio Post Disceptationem'”

In a third short interview with CWR, conducted by e-mail late yesterday, Cardinal Raymond L. Burke, the Prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura, offers his impression of the Relatio Synodi, comments on reports that the Synod has…Continue Reading

Synod Final Document Reaffirms Church Teaching

The final document of the Extraordinary Synod was released Saturday as the Synod Fathers voted to approve all 62 paragraphs, but with three paragraphs not receiving the normally required two-thirds majority vote. The three paragraphs, which in the past would…Continue Reading

Catholic Synod: Gay Rights Groups ‘Disappointed’

Catholic gay rights groups say they are disappointed after bishops rejected proposals for wider acceptance of gay people, which had the Pope’s backing. The call to “accept and value” homosexuals was in a draft report, but failed to win the…Continue Reading

Untitled 5 Untitled 2

Attention Readers:

  Welcome to our new website. Readers who are familiar with The Wanderer know we have been providing Catholic news and orthodox commentary for over 145 years in our weekly print edition. Now we are introducing the online daily version of our print journal.


  Our daily version offers only some of what we publish weekly in print. To take advantage of everything The Wanderer publishes, we encourage you to subscribe to our flagship weekly print edition, which is mailed every Friday or, if you want to view it in its entirety online, you can subscribe to the E-edition, which is a replica of the print edition.
 
  Our daily edition includes: a selection of material from recent issues of our print edition, news stories updated daily from renowned news sources, access to archives from The Wanderer from the past 10 years, available at a minimum charge (this will be expanded as time goes on). Also: regularly updated features where we go back in time and highlight various columns and news items covered in The Wanderer over the past 145 years. And: a comments section in which your remarks are encouraged, both good and bad, including suggestions.

 
  We encourage you to become a daily visitor to our site. If you appreciate our site, tell your friends. As Catholics we must band together to rediscover our faith and share it with the world if we are to effectively counter a society whose moral culture seems to have no boundaries and a government whose rapidly extending reach threatens to extinguish the rights of people of faith to practice their religion (witness the HHS mandate). Now more than ever, vehicles like The Wanderer are needed for clarification and guidance on the issues of the day.

Catholic, conservative, orthodox, and loyal to the Magisterium have been this journal’s hallmarks for five generations. God willing, our message will continue well into this century and beyond.

Joseph Matt
President, The Wanderer Printing Co.

Untitled 1

'From our friends at The Foundry'


Today . . .

Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI Writes Personal Ordinariate Of Our Lady Of Walsingham

ben1

(Vatican Radio) Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI has sent a message to the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham, which was established for former Anglicans in England in 2011.  The message was on the fifth anniversary of Pope Benedict’s apostolic constitution Anglicanorum Coetibus, which was released on November 4th 2009. The Pope Emeritus was responding to a letter he received…Continue Reading

Pope At Audience: The Church Visible And Spiritual

pope650

(Vatican Radio)  “Often, we hear people say: the Church doesn’t do this …the Church doesn’t do that!’ ‘Tell me who is the Church? – ‘Well the Church is the priests, the bishops, the Pope …’ We are all the Church! All of us all of us Baptized! We are the Church, the Church of Jesus’”. This was the message at…Continue Reading

Pope At Angelus: Love Of God And Neighbour Are Inseparable

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis prayed the Angelus with pilgrims and tourists gathered in St Peter’s Square beneath the window of the Papal apartments in the Apostolic Palace at the Vatican on Sunday. In remarks ahead of the traditional prayer of Marian devotion, the Holy Father offered some reflections on the Gospel reading of the day, which was taken from Gospel…Continue Reading

Pope At Santa Marta: Called To Be Children Of Light

(Vatican Radio) At morning Mass on Monday Pope Francis said that a conscientious examination of our words will help us understand whether we are Christians of light, Christians of darkness or Christians of grey areas. Reflecting on the First Reading from St. Paul’s Letter to the Ephesians, the Pope said men are recognizable by their words. By inviting Christians to…Continue Reading

Pass-Fail Grading: For The Professors’ Benefit?

By JAMES K. FITZPATRICK S.M. writes to offer some observations about the proposal to introduce a “pass-fail” grading system for freshmen at Princeton University. The possibility of doing that was discussed in the October 9 edition of First Teachers. He sees the idea as a “form of grade inflation that is solely intended to accomplish…Continue Reading

Contemporary Culture Encapsulated In A Single Sentence

By DONALD DeMARCO It is remarkable how much a single sentence can reveal about the temper of a culture, even when its author is trying to be withholding. Jacalyn Duffin, a historian and practicing hematologist, is the author of History of Medicine (University of Toronto Press, 2000). It is a 243-page tome that was produced…Continue Reading

Synod Document Of October 13, 2014

By JOHN F. KIPPLEY (Editor’s Note: John F. Kippley is the author of Sex and the Marriage Covenant: A Basis for Morality and other books and articles. With his wife Sheila, he is a coauthor of Natural Family Planning: The Complete Approach and cofounder of NFP International. This commentary appeared on his blog [johnkippley.com] of…Continue Reading

Elite Judges Think The Highest Judge Never Will End Their Misrule

By DEXTER DUGGAN Today people worry about globe-trotting terrorists, the transmission of the deadly Ebola virus, and the way contagions can cross borders when the government insists borders must be open for everyone’s alleged benefit. Meanwhile, unaccountable U.S. judges continue their contagion of immorality, as if God’s judgment never will come, maybe in little germs,…Continue Reading

Chilling Free Speech

By ANDREW P. NAPOLITANO Earlier this week, the federal government’s National Science Foundation, an entity created to encourage the study of science — encouragement that it achieves by awarding grants to scholars and universities — announced that it had awarded a grant to study what people say about themselves and others in social media. The…Continue Reading

Advertisement

Our Catholic Faith (Section B of print edition)

Temples Of The Holy Spirit

By FR. ROBERT ALTIER Feast Of The Dedication Of St. John Lateran In Rome Readings: Ezek. 47:1-2, 8-9, 12 1 Cor. 3:9c-11, 16-17 John 2:13-22 Today we celebrate the feast of the dedication of a church building that many people have never heard of and also have no idea of its significance. In Rome, there are four major basilicas; the…Continue Reading

Message Of The Extraordinary Synod Of Bishops . . . We Ask You To Walk With Us Toward The Next Synod

(Editor’s Note: Below is the text of the concluding message of the Extraordinary Synod of Bishops on the Family, held October 5-19. This message was released on October 18. (See Fr. Kevin M. Cusick’s column in this issue, p. 2B, and the front page for reporting and commentary on the separate final document of the Extraordinary Synod.) + + +…Continue Reading

A Leaven In The World… Redefining Marriage: Not About The Kids And The Picket Fence

By FR. KEVIN M. CUSICK Following the Extraordinary Synod and the rollback on confusing language about same-sex attraction and the divorced and remarried in the final version of the Relatio Synodi document, the predictable reactions are coming in. Those who continue to hold Church teaching that marriage is only between a man and a woman are labeled as “bigots,” while…Continue Reading

Debunking The Sola Scriptura Myth… True Tradition And False “Tradition”

By RAYMOND DE SOUZA, KM Part 4 A classical objection: What Catholics call the “Apostolic Tradition” is just a human tradition, which Jesus clearly condemned in the Gospel, when He said to the Pharisees, “Why do you also transgress the commandment of God for the sake of your tradition?…So, for the sake of your tradition you have made void the…Continue Reading

Public Revelation Vs. Private Revelation

By DON FIER Our previous installment ended by citing a pair of remarkable verses from the Letter to the Hebrews, verses that concisely summarize God’s divine pedagogy, His master plan of divine Revelation: “In many and various ways God spoke of old to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days He has spoken to us by a…Continue Reading

Cast A Gauntlet – Sola Scriptura: Part 1

Catholic Heroes . . . St. Wolfgang

By CAROLE BRESLIN October 31 has come to be yet another Christian holy day corrupted by our secular society. All Hallows Eve, Halloween, is now celebrated with emphasis on evil and horror. Corn mazes with frightening objects around the corner, haunted houses to terrify even the bravest of persons, glorification of vampires, and decorations of death and witches — these…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes . . . St. Anthony Mary Claret

By CAROLE BRESLIN St. Anthony Mary Claret has something in common with at least three other saints. Like St. Peter Claver, he was born in northeastern Spain — over 200 years later. Like St. Pio of Pietrelcina, when he heard Confessions, he frequently could read the souls of the penitents, asking them about a sin that they had not confessed.…Continue Reading

A Powerful Weapon: 15 Quotes on the Holy Rosary

We live in evil times. I hardly need elaborate the multitude of crises that fill the globe. Sadly, many are being swept away by this flood of evil and are succumbing to an overwhelming anxiety and discouragement. But no matter how tempting it is, we must not shrink back. We must pray and fast with a living faith and a firm confidence—and there is no better way to…Continue Reading

12 Ways to Become a Committed Catholic Man

There is a Catholic “man-crisis.” Large numbers of men who were baptized Catholic have left the Church and the majority of those who remain are “Casual Catholic Men”, men who do not know the Catholic faith and don’t practice it. This large-scale failure of Catholic men to commit themselves to Jesus Christ and His Church has contributed to the accelerating…Continue Reading