St. Aidan of Lindisfarne
Aidan was a seventh century Irish monk involved in the work of the Iona religious community on the Isle of Iona, off the coast of Mull in western Scotland. Around 635 A.D. he was asked to go to Northumbria, on the north-east coast of England to do mission work among the Angles and to be their bishop. He established his headquarters at Lindisfarne, a tiny island on the Northumbrian coast, not far from King Oswald’s court at Bamburgh. Although not much is known about St. Aidan’s early life, as an adult he preached widely throughout Northumbria, making a habit of travelling by foot in order to be closer to the people. Many Irish and Scottish monks helped Aidan with his missionary work, and many Anglo-Saxon youths were educated under his tutelage. Lindisfarne became a teaching and learning centre of Christian England, but the church and abbey were later destroyed by Viking raiders, and remain a much-visited ruin to this day. As our patron saint, Aidan represents a model of frugal living, sacrifice, giving to the least fortunate, and proclaiming God’s love for all people.