Our Patron Saint
Saint Bede spent his life living a simple life in a monastery. Although he never traveled beyond England, and never played a role in public life, he was known as the greatest teacher of his time. His scholarly writings played an important role in the conversion of the peoples of England to Christianity.
Saint Bede was born in the year 673 near Wearmouth in Northern England. He entered the Monastery of Saint Peter at Wearmouth as a child in the year 680. Shortly after that, Bede was sent to the new monastery of Saint Paul at Jarrow. He was ordained a deacon in 692 at the age of 19. In the year 703, at the age of 30, Bede was ordained to the priesthood.
His earliest duty in the monastery school was to teach the elements of Latin grammar to the oblate boys of the school and later to teach and prepare men for the priesthood. Bede was a beloved teacher. He taught boys and men to love God’s world and God’s Word – just as he did.
Bede studied, translated and wrote. His earliest writings were text-books used to teach grammar to the oblate boys of the school. The range, volume and excellence of Bede’s work are extraordinary. But it is his Ecclesiastical History of the English People for which he is renowned. It is a cornerstone and the earliest known source of English history.
Bede died in the year 735. Bede’s love of learning was evident even on his deathbed where he continued to work on a translation. Not long after the last word was translated, Bede died on the Feast of the Ascension. He was buried in Jarrow.
Today, Bede’s remains rest at the Galilee Chapel in Durham Cathedral. Saint Bede is known as the “venerable,” meaning wise and respected. In 1899, Pope Leo the XIII extended the feast of Saint Bede to the universal church and declared him a Doctor of the Church. Saint Bede’s feast day is May 25.
How fortunate we are to have Saint Bede as our beloved patron! His example of loving God and His Church as well as love for all that God has given us in the physical world is beyond measure. Saint Bede is our advocate in Heaven. May he always remember us as he prays at the Heavenly Altar of our loving God.