March 02, 2015

⛪ Saint Chad of Mercia

Saint Chad of Mercia,
Pray for us !
Saint of the Day : March 2

Other Names :
• Chad of Lichfield   Ceadda   Apostle of Mercia

Memorial :
• 2 March
• 4 May (translation of relics)

Born :
• c.620 in Northumbria, England

Died :
• 2 March 672 at Lichfield, England of natural causes after a brief illness, probably the plague • His initial tomb was in the form of a small wooden house • Some relics preserved in the cathedral of Saint Chad in Birmingham, England

⛪ Patronage :
• Archdiocese ofBirmingham, England • Diocese ofLichfield, England

⛪ Symbol :
• Bishop holding Lichfield Cathedral and a branch, usually a vine • Bishop holding the cathedral in the midst of a battlefield with the dead surrounding him • Man with a hart leading hunters to him by a pool • Converting Saint Wulfhald and Saint Rufinus who converted on finding him in chapel while they were hunting

He was brother to Saint Cedd, bishop of London, and the two holy priests Celin and Cymbel, and had his education in the monastery of Lindisfarne, under Saint Aidan. For his greater improvement in sacred letters and divine contemplation he passed into Ireland, and spent a considerable time in the company of Saint Egbert, till he was called back by his brother Saint Cedd to assist him in settling the monastery of Lestingay, which he had founded in the mountains of the Deiri, that is, the Woulds of Yorkshire. Saint Cedd being made bishop of London, or of the East Saxons, left to him the entire government of this house. Oswi having yielded up Bernicia, or the northern part of his kingdom, to his son Alcfrid, this prince sent Saint Wilfrid into France, that he might be consecrated to the bishopric of the Northumbrian kingdom, or of York; but he staid so long abroad that Oswi himself nominated Saint Chad to that dignity, who was ordained by Wini, bishop of Winchester, assisted by two British prelates, in 666. Bede assures us that he zealously devoted himself to all the laborious functions of his charge, visiting his diocess on foot, preaching the gospel, and seeking out the poorest and most abandoned persons to instruct and comfort in the meanest cottages, and in the fields. When Saint Theodorus, archbishop of Canterbury, arrived in England, in his general visitation of all the English churches, he adjudged the see of York to Saint Wilfrid. Saint Chad made him this answer: “If you judge that I have not duly received the episcopal ordination, I willingly resign this charge, having never thought myself worthy of it; but which, however unworthy, I submitted to undertake in obedience.” The archbishop was charmed with his candour and humility, would not admit his abdication, but supplied certain rites which he judged defective in his ordination: and Saint Chad, leaving the see of York, retired to his monastery of Lestingay, but was not suffered to bury himself long in that solitude. Jaruman, bishop of the Mercians, dying, Saint Chad was called upon to take upon him the charge of that most extensive diocess. He was the fifth bishop of the Mercians, and first fixed that see at Litchfield, so called from a great number of martyrs slain and buried there under Maximianus Herculeus; the name signifying the field of carcasses. Hence this city bears for its arms a landscape, covered with the bodies of martyrs. Saint Theodorus considering Saint Chad’s old age, and the great extent of his diocess, absolutely forbade him to make his visitations on foot, as he used to do at York. When the laborious duties of his charge allowed him to retire, he enjoyed God in solitude with seven or eight monks, whom he had settled in a place near his cathedral. Here he gained new strength and fresh graces for the discharge of his functions: he was so strongly affected with the fear of the divine judgments, that as often as it thundered he went to the church and prayed prostrate all the time the storm continued, in remembrance of the dreadful day on which Christ will come to judge the world. By the bounty of king Wulfere, he founded a monastery at a place called Barrow, in the province of Lindsay, (in the northern part of Lincolnshire,) where the footsteps of the regular life begun by him remained to the time of Bede. Carte conjectures that the foundation of the great monastery of Bardney, in the same province, was begun by him. Saint Chad governed his diocess of Litchfield two years and a half, and died in the great pestilence on the 2nd of March, in 673. Bede gives the following relation of his passage: “Among the eight monks whom he kept with him at Litchfield, was one Owini, who came with queen Ethelred, commonly called Saint Audry, from the province of the East Angles, and was her major-domo, and the first officer of her court, till quitting the world, clad in a mean garment, and carrying an axe and a hatchet in his hand, he went to the monastery of Lestingay, signifying that he came to work, and not to be idle; which he made good by his behaviour in the monastic state. This monk declared, that he one day heard a joyful melody of some persons sweetly singing, which descended from heaven into the bishop’s oratory, filled the same for about half an hour, then mounted again to heaven. After this, the bishop opening his window, and seeing him at his work, bade him call the other seven brethren. When the eight monks were entered his oratory, he exhorted them to preserve peace, and religiously observe the rules of regular discipline; adding, that the amiable guest who was wont to visit their brethren, had vouchsafed to come to him that day, and to call him out of this world. Wherefore he earnestly recommended his passage to their prayers, and pressed them to prepare for their own, the hour of which is uncertain, by watching, prayer, and good works.”

The bishop fell presently into a languishing distemper, which daily increased, till, on the seventh day, having received the body and blood of our Lord, he departed to bliss, to which he was invited by the happy soul of his brother Saint Cedd, and a company of angels with heavenly music. He was buried in the church of Saint Mary, in Litchfield; but his body was soon after removed to that of Saint Peter, in both places honoured by miraculous cures, as Bede mentions. His relics were afterwards translated into the great church which was built in 1148, under the invocation of the Blessed Virgin and Saint Chad, which is now the cathedral, and they remained there till the change of religion.

Source : Lives of the Saints, by Father Alban Butler

More Info :
📕 Catholic Ireland 📕 Catholic Online 📕 Wikipedia

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