National Calendar for England

The National Calendar for England received the recognitio of the Holy See in 2000. The calendar includes a wide range of Saints from England representing the history of Christianity in this country.

The Calendar also includes the Feasts of the 6 patrons of Europe established by Pope John Paul II.

The National Calendar is complemented by diocesan calendars which can include more local saints and attach greater solemnity to particular local patrons.

  • The Roman Missal, 3rd edition contains proper texts for the National Calendar. The suggestions below are for the Lectionary where needed.
  • Where no other indication is given the celebration is an optional memorial.

January

12 January

St Aelred of Rievaulx

abbot

Born in 1110, St Aelred died at Rievaulx (Yorkshire) on this day in 1167. The son of a priest, he was educated at Durham and in the household of King David of Scotland. In 1134 he visited the newly-founded Cistercian abbey of Rievaulx, and was so attracted to the place and its life that he chose to become a monk there, and was eventually elected abbot. He is remembered for his gift for friendship, for his sensitive and gentle rule, and for his enduringly popular spiritual writings, especially that on friendship.

  • Common of Holy Men and Women, for Religious

19 January

St Wulstan

bishop, religious

St Wulstan was born in Warwickshire about 1008, and died in 1095. He became a Benedictine monk of the cathedral priory of Worcester, but in 1062 was appointed bishop, and was one of the few Anglo-Saxons in high office to survive the Norman Conquest. He was renowned as a confessor, and for his care of the poor and the sick and for the high standards he demanded of his clergy.

  • Common of Holy Men and Women, for Religious

February

14 February

St Cyril and St Methodius Feast

monk and bishop, patrons of Europe

St Cyril and St Methodius were brothers from Thessalonica (Greece). Cyril was born about 826 and died at Rome in 869; Methodius was born about 815 and died in Velehrad (Czech Republic) in 885. With papal approval they preached the gospel in Moravia using their own translations of the Scriptures and the liturgy in the local language. These translations into Slavonic were based on an alphabet they invented, now called Cyrillic. Cyril and Methodius are honoured as apostles of the Slavic peoples.

  • Proper of Saints
  • Common of pastors: for founders of churches, or for missionaries

March

1 March

St David Feast

bishop, patron of Wales

Very little is known about the life of St David (Dewi Sant). He belonged to that great monastic movement which became influential in Wales in the sixth century and which had links with monasticism in Gaul and in Ireland. The earliest references to David are in Irish Annals. Many churches across South Wales claim David as their founder. His chief foundation was at Mynyw or Menevia in Dyfed. He was canonised by Pope Callistus II in 1123.

  • Common of Pastors: Bishops
  • Common of Holy Men and Women: for Religious

17 March

St Patrick Feast

bishop, patron of Ireland

Born in Roman Britain around the end of the 4th century, St Patrick died in Ireland about the middle of the 5th century. As a missionary bishop, he faced hardship and opposition even from his friends and fellow Christians. Yet he worked to conciliate, to evangelise, and to educate local chieftains and their families. Patrick is remembered for his simplicity and pastoral care, for his humble trust in God, and for his fearless preaching of the gospel to those who had enslaved him in his youth.

  • Common of Pastors: Missionaries
  • Common of Pastors: Bishops

April

21 April

St Anselm

bishop, doctor of the Church

Born in 1033 at Aosta (Italy), St Anselm died at Canterbury on this day in 1109. He was a monk of Bec (Normandy), where he taught theology and devoted himself to the spiritual life. After some years as abbot, he succeeded his master Lanfranc as archbishop of Canterbury. His bitter disputes with the kings over the independence of the Church resulted in his twice being exiled. He is remembered for his theological learning and writings, and for organising and reforming church life in England.

  • Common of Pastors: Bishops
  • Common of Doctors of the Church
  • Common of Holy Men and Women: for Religious

23 April

St George Solemnity

martyr, patron of England

St George was martyred at Lydda (Israel) around 303, in the persecution of Diocletian. His cult, which predates the legend of his slaying the dragon, spread quickly through East and West. During the crusades, George was seen to personify the ideals of Christian chivalry, and he was adopted as patron saint of several city-states and countries. King Richard I of England placed his crusading army under his protection, and in 1222 his feast was proclaimed a holiday.

24 April

St Adalbert

bishop, martyr

St Fidelis of Sigmaringen

priest, martyr

St Adalbert is transferred from 23 April in the Universal Calendar

29 April

St Catherine of Siena Feast

St Catherine was born at Siena (Italy) in 1347 and died at Rome on this day in 1380. Committed to the practice of prayer and penance from an early age, she entered the Dominican Third Order while still an adolescent. Catherine is remembered for her holiness and determination and, though she never learned to write, for the quality of her teachings. She is remembered also as a mystic and a reformer of religious life.

  • Proper of Saints

May

4 May

The English Marytrs Feast

The English Men and Women martyred for the Catholic Faith 1535–1680 and beatified or canonised by the Holy See. On this day in 1535 there died at Tyburn three Carthusian monks, the first of many martyrs, Catholic and Protestant, of the English reformation. Of these martyrs, forty two have been canonised and a further two hundred and forty two declared blessed, but the number of those who died on the scaffold, perished in prison, or suffered harsh persecution for their faith in the course of a century and a half cannot now be reckoned. They came from every walk of life; there are among them rich and poor, married and single, women and men. They are remembered for the example they gave of constancy in their faith, and courage in the face of persecution.

  • Common of Martyrs: Several Martyrs in the Easter Season

19 May

St Dunstan

bishop

St Dunstan was born near Glastonbury in 909, and died at Canterbury on this day in 988. Born into a noble family and raised at court, he studied secular arts and literature before becoming a monk at Glastonbury. As abbot of Glastonbury, he was the principal agent in the restoration of English monasticism after the Viking devastations. In rapid succession, he became bishop of Worcester, bishop of London, and archbishop of Canterbury. A man of many talents, he was renowned as a painter, musician, and worker in metals, besides being a counsellor of kings and a zealous reforming bishop. He is remembered as one of the most popular Anglo-Saxon saints.

  • Common of Pastors: Bishops
  • Common of Holy Men and Women: for Religious

25 May

St Bede the Venerable Memorial

priest, doctor of the Church

Born at Wearmouth in 673, St Bede died at Jarrow on this day in 735. He was educated at the monasteries of Wearmouth and Jarrow, where he was a monk for the rest of his life. He was the first historian of the English church and people, a master of the Scriptures and of the teaching of the Fathers. Known for his delight in learning, teaching and writing, he is venerated as the 'light of the Church' in the period called the Dark Ages, and as a forerunner of the 8th and 9th century renaissance of the Western Church.

  • Common of Pastors: for Pastors
  • Common of Holy Men and Women: for Religious
  • Common of Doctors of the Church

27 May

St Augustine of Canterbury Feast

bishop

Born in Italy in the 6th century, St Augustine died at Canterbury on 26 May around 604/5. As prior of a Roman monastery, he was sent by Pope Gregory the Great with thirty monks to preach the gospel to the English. After being ordained bishop in Gaul, he arrived in Kent in 597. Under Gregory's guidance, he adapted rites and practices to local conditions, and successfully evangelised the kingdom of Kent, establishing bishoprics at Canterbury, Rochester and London. He is venerated by Catholics and Anglicans alike as founder of the metropolitan see of Canterbury.

  • Common of Pastors: for Bishops
  • Common of Pastors: for Missionaries
  • Common of Holy Men and Women: for Religious

June

5 June

St Boniface Memorial

bishop, martyr

Born as Winfrith possibly at Crediton (Devon), about 675, St Boniface was killed in the Netherlands on this day in 754. After several years as monk and teacher at Nursling (Hampshire), he went to evangelise the Germanic peoples. Ordained bishop, he was given wide-ranging papal commissions throughout Germany and Gaul. With much support from England in materials and personnel, he founded monasteries and established dioceses, presided at synods, and liaised with kings. He is remembered as a determined missionary, and as a church organiser and reformer, whose work shaped the future of Europe. He is buried at his abbey of Fulda, and is honoured as apostle of Germany.

  • Proper of Saints
  • Common of Martyrs
  • Common of Pastors: for Bishops
  • Common of Pastors: for Missionaries
  • Common of Holy Men and Women: for Religious

9 June

St Columba

abbot

St Columba or Colm Cille, was born in Gartan (Co. Donegal) about 521 and died at Iona (Scotland) in 597. He was of royal lineage, and studied under Finnian of Moville and Finnian of Clonard. Before leaving Ireland as an 'exile for Christ', he had founded monasteries at Derry, Durrow, and possibly Kells. His principal foundation was Iona, from where he converted much of Western Scotland, and his followers took the Gospel to northern England. He was renowned as a poet and scribe as well as a spiritual guide. In Gaelic literature, he appears as Ireland?s most popular saint, noted for his great personal love of all creatures, human and animal.

  • Common of Pastors: for Missionaries
  • Common of Holy Men and Women: for Religious

16 June

St Richard of Chichester

bishop

St Richard de Wych was born in Droitwich (Worcestershire) in 1197, and died in Dover on 3 April 1253. As a boy, he worked on his father?s farm, though he eventually went to the universities of Oxford, Paris and Bologna. He was not ordained priest until he was 45 years old. He was appointed bishop of Chichester two years later, but because of the king?s opposition he was unable to take over the see until 1247. Meanwhile he lived in a priest's house, visiting the parishes of his diocese on foot, and looking after an orchard. He is remembered for his generosity to the poor, the mercy he showed to sinners, and the reform of the liturgical life of his diocese.

  • Common of Pastors: for Bishops

20 June

St Alban

martyr

Alban is venerated as Britain?s first saint. He died just outside the city which now bears his name, probably in the persecution under the emperor Decius, in the middle of the 3rd century. According to the story told by Bede, Alban was a pagan soldier who gave shelter to a Christian priest and was converted by him. He then put on the priest's clothes, and was arrested and executed in his place. Two hundred years later, the site of his martyrdom had already become a shrine to his memory, and has remained such to the present day.

  • Common of Martyrs

22 June

St John Fisher and St Thomas More Feast

bishop, martyrs

St John Fisher was born at Beverley (Yorkshire) in 1469, and died at London on this day in 1535. After a distinguished academic career at Cambridge, he was appointed Chancellor of that University and bishop of Rochester. He combined diligent pastoral ministry with continuing study and writing, especially in defence of Catholic doctrine.

Thomas More was born in London in 1478, and died there on 6 July 1535. He was an Oxford scholar, a noted humanist and apologist, an incorruptible judge and parliamentarian who served as Speaker and Lord Chancellor. He was married twice, and a loving father of four. Both were drawn into conflict with Henry VIII over his remarriage and ultimately over papal supremacy. Both were imprisoned and beheaded for treason. They are remembered for their intellectual acumen, for their devotion to the Church, and for their uncompromising integrity and courage.

  • Common of Martyrs

23 June

St Ethelreda (Audrey)

abbess

Born in Suffolk in the first quarter of the 7th century, St Etheldreda died at Ely in 679. Though twice married, she remained a virgin, and in 672 left her second husband, the king of Northumbria, to become a nun. The following year she founded a monastery of women and men, which she ruled as abbess, on the site of what is now Ely cathedral. She was the most venerated of the women saints of Anglo-Saxon England, renowned for her dedication to a life of chastity, and for the austerity of the regime she imposed on herself in her later years.

  • Common of Holy Men and Women

July

1 July

St Oliver Plunket

bishop, martyr

St Oliver Plunket was born in Co. Meath in 1625, and died at Tyburn in 1681. Ordained in Rome in 1654, he was professor at the college of Propoganda Fide till 1669, when he was appointed archbishop of Armagh. He held synods and visitations and promoted the reforms initiated by the Council of Trent. Imprisoned in Dublin in 1679, he was tried, condemned and executed in London, the final victim of the 'Popish Plot' and the last person to be executed for the faith in England. He is remembered for his pastoral zeal and for the friendly relations he established with those who did not share the Catholic faith. His body rests at Downside Abbey, his head at Drogheda.

  • Common of Pastors: for Bishops
  • Common of Martyrs

11 July

St Benedict Feast

abbot, patron of Europe

Born at Norcia (Italy) about 480, St Benedict died at Monte Cassino about 547. After studies in Rome he became a hermit at Subiaco, where many sought his counsel. He then founded the monastery at Monte Cassino. Benedict is remembered for his widely influential monastic rule, combining work and prayer, and for his charity and moderation.

  • Proper of Saints

23 July

St Bridget of Sweden Feast

religious, patron of Europe

Born in Sweden about 1303, St Bridget died at Rome on this day in 1373. She was a devoted wife and the mother of eight children, one of whom was Saint Catherine of Sweden. After being widowed, Bridget founded a religious order (Bridgettines). She is remembered for her asceticism, her dedication to reform within the Church, and her lifelong mystical experience of Christ's passion.

  • Proper of Saints
  • Common of Holy Men and Women: for Religious

August

9 August

St Teresa Benedicta of the Cross (Edith Stein) Feast

virgin, martyr, patron of Europe

  • Common of Martyrs
  • Common of Virgins

26 August

Bl. Dominic of the Mother of God Barberi

priest

Blessed Dominic Barberi was born near Viterbo (Italy) in 1792, and died at Reading on 27 August 1849. He joined the Congregation of the Passion in 1814, was ordained priest only four years later, and became a distinguished member of his congregation. He came to work for the conversion of England, though he believed that the surest way to church unity was through the example of Christian living. In the seven years of his ministry in England, he preached missions and retreats all over the country, founded four monasteries, and received many distinguished people into full communion with the church, among then John Henry Newman.

  • Common of Pastors
  • Common of Pastors: for Missionaries
  • Common of Holy Men and Women: for Religious

30 August

St Margaret Clitherow, St Anne Line and St Margaret Ward

virgin, martyrs

St Margaret Middleton was born in York in 1556, lived there all her life, and died there on 25 March 1586. At 15, she married a butcher, John Clitherow, and three years later became a Catholic. Imprisoned for her non-attendance at church, she taught herself to read and later ran a small school for her own and her neighbours' children. Her husband remained Protestant, but allowed her to hide priests in their house. In 1586, the secret hiding places were discovered, and Margaret was put on trial. She refused to plead, for which the punishment was being crushed to death.

St Anne Heigham was born at Dunmow (Essex) around 1565, and was hanged at Tyburn on 27 February 1601. In her teens, she became a Catholic and was disinherited, and in 1585 married Roger Line, also a disinherited convert, who was subsequently imprisoned then exiled for his faith, leaving her destitute. She taught and embroidered, and also kept house for priests. After a large number of people had been seen gathering at her house for Mass, she was arrested, tried and condemned to death.

St Margaret Ward was born at Congleton (Cheshire), but entered into the service of a family in London. She was arrested after assisting a priest escape from prison, but refused under severe torture to reveal his hiding place or to renounce her faith. She was tried at the Old Bailey, and executed on this day in 1588. All three are remembered for their resourcefulness, for their loyalty, for their outstanding courage, and for the service they rendered the Church during dangerous times in aiding the ministry of priests.

  • Common of Martyrs

31 August

St Aidan and Saints of Lindisfarne

bishop

Born in Ireland, St Aidan died at Bamburgh (Northumberland) in 651. A monk of Iona, he was sent to Northumbria when King Oswald asked for help in converting his kingdom, and established his monastery on the island of Lindisfarne. Assisted by King Oswald, and later by King Oswy, Aidan preached the Gospel, founded churches and monasteries, and liberated slaves throughout the kingdom. Since the testimony of Bede, he has been venerated for his simplicity and poverty, for his love of prayer and the scriptures, and for his care of the sick and the poor. With him are also remembered all those holy abbots and bishops, teachers and missionaries who made Lindisfarne a cradle of English Christianity.

  • Common of Pastors
  • Common of Holy Men and Women

September

3 September

St Gregory the Great Feast

pope, doctor of the Church

Born about 540, St Gregory died in Rome in 604. While prefect of Rome, he founded monasteries there and in Sicily and himself became a monk. Called to be a deacon of Rome by Benedict I, he was then sent as a papal legate to Constantinople. Elected pope in 590, he reorganised church life and administration in a time of crisis, sponsored liturgical reform, and initiated the evangelisation of the English. He sent Augustine and his monks on their mission in 596, provided them with continuing advice and support, and sent reinforcements in 601. He is remembered also for his extensive writings on pastoral care, spirituality and morals, and for his self-designation as 'servant of the servants of God'.

  • Proper of Saints
  • Common of Pastors: for Popes
  • Common of Doctors of the Church

4 September

St Cuthbert

bishop

Born about 634, St Cuthbert died on Farne (Northumberland) on 20 March 687. By tradition a shepherd boy, he became monk and later prior at Melrose. After the Synod of Whitby in 664, he became prior of Lindisfarne, and gradually won over the community to Roman customs. Although zealous in preaching the Gospel, he was most deeply attracted to the life of a hermit, and in 676 left the monastery to live in solitude on the island of Inner Farne. For the last two years of his life he served as bishop of Lindisfarne but returned to his island to die. His incorrupt remains were removed from their resting place at Lindisfarne to escape Viking raiders, and on this day were eventually enshrined at Durham, which with Lindisfarne has remained a centre of his cult to this day. He is remembered as the most popular of the Anglo-Saxon saints of Northern England.

  • Common of Pastors: for Bishops
  • Common of Holy Men and Women: for Religious

19 September

St Theodore of Canterbury

bishop

Born at Tarsus (Turkey) about 601, St Theodore died at Canterbury on this day in 690. A Greek by birth, Theodore was a monk in Italy who was not ordained priest until he was appointed Archbishop of Canterbury by Pope Vitalian in 666 at the age of 65. He arrived in England in 669, and for the rest of his life reorganised and reformed the life of the Church throughout the country, holding visitations and synods, establishing new dioceses and a great school at Canterbury, and reconciling divisions between those of the Celtic and those of the Roman tradition. He is remembered for his scholarship and for his bringing unity and organisation to a divided church.

  • Common of Pastors: for Bishops
  • Common of Holy Men and Women: for Religious

24 September

Our Lady of Walsingham Memorial

This feast celebrates the shrine of Our Lady at Walsingham in Norfolk, one of the great pilgrimage centres of medieval times. The lady of the manor of Walsingham, Richeldis de Faverches, was instructed by a vision of the Virgin Mary to build in her village an exact replica of the house in Nazareth in which the Annunciation had taken place. The vision occurred, according to tradition, in 1061, though a more likely date for the construction of the shrine is a hundred years later. The original house was destroyed at the Reformation, but during the 19th and early 20th centuries pilgrimage to Walsingham was revived both for Anglicans and for Catholics.

  • Common of Blessed Virgin Mary

October

9 October

Bl. John Henry Newman

priest

Born in London in 1801, he was for over twenty years an Anglican clergyman and Fellow of Oriel College, Oxford. His studies of the early Church led him progressively towards Catholicism, and in 1845 he embraced “the one true fold of the Redeemer”. In 1847 he was ordained priest and went on to found the Oratory of St Philip Neri in England. He was a prolific and influential writer on a variety of subjects. In 1879 he was created Cardinal by Pope Leo XIII. Praised for his humility, unstinting care of souls and contributions to the intellectual life of the Church, he died in Birmingham on 11 August 1890.

10 October

St Paulinus of York

bishop

St Paulinus died on this day in 644. He was among the second group of monks sent to England by Pope Gregory in 601. After working for twenty years in Kent, he was ordained bishop and sent to Northumbria as chaplain to the Christian princess Ethelburga who was to marry the pagan king Edwin. By 627, he was able to baptise the king and many of his nobles, but before he received the pallium as archbishop of York, Northumbria was overrun by pagans in 633, and Paulinus returned to Kent, where he served as bishop of Rochester for his remaining years.

  • Common of Pastors: for Bishops
  • Common of Pastors: for Missionaries
  • Common of Holy Men and Women: for Religious

12 October

St Wilfred

bishop

St Wilfrid was born in Northumbria about 634, and died possibly at Oundle (Northamptonshire) in 709. He was educated in the Celtic tradition at Lindisfarne, but after a visit to Rome became a protagonist of Roman customs, which he successfully championed at the Synod of Whitby in 664. As bishop of York he was the first English bishop to appeal to the pope, after his diocese had been divided without reference to him. On his way to Rome, he spent a year preaching the Gospel in the Low Countries, and on his return went as a missionary to Sussex and the Isle of Wight. Although reinstated in York, he fell out again with the king and other bishops, and exercised his ministry then in the East Midlands and finally at Hexham. He is remembered for his forceful personality and apostolic spirit, as a founder of churches and monasteries, and as a patron of the arts.

  • Common of Pastors: for Bishops
  • Common of Pastors: for Missionaries
  • Common of Holy Men and Women: for Religious

13 October

St Edward the Confessor

Born in 1003, St Edward died at Westminster on 5 January 1066. He became king of England in 1042, the last of the old Anglo-Saxon line; his death precipitated the Norman invasion of 1066. Commonly known as the 'Confessor', he was regarded as a saint during his lifetime, renowned for his generosity to the Church and to the poor, and because of the readiness with which he listened to his subject's grievances. His relics were translated on this day in 1163 to a new shrine in Westminster Abbey, which foundation he had richly endowed and expanded.

  • Common of Pastors: for Bishops Common of Martyrs

22 October

Bl. John Paul II

pope

Charles Joseph Wotjtyła was born in 1920 in Wadowice, Poland. After his ordination to the priesthood and theological studies in Rome, he returned to his homeland and resumed various pastoral and academic tasks. He became first auxiliary bishop and, in 1964, Archbishop of Krakow and took part in the Second Vatican Council. On 16 October 1978 he was elected pope and took the name John Paul II. His exceptional apostolic zeal, particularly for families, young people and the sick, led him to numerous pastoral visits throughout the world. Among the many fruits which he has left as a heritage to the Church are above all his rich Magisterium and the promulgation of the Catechism of the Catholic Church as well as the Code of Canon Law for the Latin Church and for the Eastern Churches. In Rome on 2 April 2005, the eve of the Second Sunday of Easter (or of Divine Mercy), he departed peacefully in the Lord.

26 October

St Chad and St Cedd

bishops

St Chad, who died at Lichfield on 2 March 672, and Cedd, who died at Lastingham (Yorkshire) on this day in 664, were brothers who were educated at Lindisfarne under Aidan.

St Cedd was founder of many monasteries and was sent as a bishop to evangelise the East Saxons and established his see at Bradwell (Essex). He died of the plague at his monastery in Lastingham.

St Chad was abbot of Lastingham when chosen bishop of Northumbria, but his ordination was contested by Wilfrid, and he humbly withdrew. He then was sent as bishop to Mercia, where he founded the see of Lichfield. Despite the shortness of his ministry, he was immediately revered as a saint because of the holiness of his life, his outstanding humility, and his dedication to preaching of the Gospel.

  • Common of Pastors: for Bishops
  • Common of Pastors: for Missionaries
  • Common of Holy Men and Women: for Religious

November

3 November

St Winefride

virgin

Very little is known for certain about the life of St Winefride, except that she lived in the 6th or 7th century near Treffynon (Holywell) in Clwyd. According to one version of her life, she was beheaded by a prince whose advances she refused, and springs of water sprang up at the place of her martyrdom. She was, however, restored to life by her uncle, St Beuno, and lived the rest of her days as a nun. Her cult has been widespread since the middle ages, centred at Shrewsbury where her remains were enshrined in 1138, and her well at Holywell, which has remained a place of healing and pilgrimage through penal times to the present day.

  • Common of Holy Men and Women

7 November

St Willibrord

bishop

Born in Yorkshire in 658, St Willibrord died at Echternach (Luxembourg) in 739. Originally a pupil of St Wilfrid, he studied for twelve years at Rathmelsige in Ireland, and was ordained priest there. On his return to England, he set out again in 690 to evangelise Frisia. He was ordained bishop by Pope Sergius in 695, and founded the metropolitan see of Utrecht (Netherlands). He preached the Gospel in North Germany and Denmark and founded several dioceses and monasteries in the Netherlands and Luxembourg. He was the first of the great Anglo-Saxon missionaries to Europe, and is remembered not just for his devotion to preaching the Gospel, but also for his joyfulness of character and his holiness of life.

  • Common of Pastors: for Bishops
  • Common of Pastors: for Missionaries
  • Common of Holy Men and Women: for Religious

16 November

St Edmund of Abingdon

bishop

St Edmund Rich was born in Abingdon (Oxfordshire) about 1175, and died at Soissy (France) on this day in 1240. He studied at both Paris and Oxford and in the cathedral school at Salisbury. Despite being attracted to the monastic life, he was appointed archbishop of Canterbury in 1233. He had frequent disputes with the king and it was while on his way to ask for the pope?s support that he died in France. He was buried in the Cistercian abbey of Pontigny. He is venerated as a vigorous, reforming bishop and as a peacemaker, as well as being a distinguished commentator on the Scriptures and an effective spiritual writer.

  • Common of Pastors: for Bishops

St Margaret of Scotland

Born in Hungary about 1046, St Margaret died in Edinburgh on this day in 1093. Of Anglo-Saxon and Hungarian parentage, she found refuge from the Norman conquest of England with Malcolm III of Scotland. They were married in 1070, and she bore eight children. Margaret reformed the royal court, founded monasteries, and supported major reforms of Church life. She is remembered for the happiness of her marriage, for her devotion to prayer and learning, and especially for her generosity to the poor.

  • Proper of Saints
  • Common of Holy Men and Women: for those who work for the Underprivileged.

17 November

St Hilda

abbess

St Hilda was born in Northumbria in 614, and died at Whitby on this day in 680. Baptised as a child by St Paulinus, she became a nun at the age of thirty three, eventually becoming abbess of Hartlepool before moving to the double monastery of Whitby, which under her leadership became a great centre of learning, of literature, and of the arts. Renowned for her wisdom, she was consulted by kings and bishops alike. She hosted at her monastery the decisive synod of 664. Though herself sympathetic to the Celtic tradition she loyally accepted the synod's decision, which decided that the Church in England would follow Roman customs. She is remembered for her patronage of learning, and for her leadership of the English Church in a formative period.

  • Common of Holy Men and Women

St Hugh of Lincoln

bishop

Born near Grenoble (France) about 1140, St Hugh died in London on 16 November 1200. When he was twenty five, he entered the Grande Chartreuse, but in 1175 he was asked by King Henry II of England to become prior of a Carthusian house in England. A decade later he was appointed bishop of Lincoln, only accepting on the direct command of the prior of Grand Chartreuse. He spent the rest of his life in ceaseless work about his diocese, the largest in the country. He delegated much authority, and though a friend and critic of successive kings, he worked with his own hands on the extension of his cathedral. He gained a great reputation for justice, for the care of the sick, and for the support of the oppressed, including the Jewish community for whom he risked his life. He was declared a saint in 1220, the first Carthusian to be canonised.

  • Common of Pastors: for Bishops
  • Common of Holy Men and Women: for Religious

St Elizabeth of Hungary

religious

The Memorial of St Elizabeth in the Universal Calendar is reclassified as an Optional Memorial to allow the celebration of St Hilda and St Hugh.

30 November

St Andrew Feast

apostle, patron of Scotland

Born at Bethsaida (Galilee), St Andrew was a fisherman and perhaps a disciple of St John the Baptist. He introduced his brother, Simon Peter, to Jesus and became one of the first to follow Christ. He is mentioned a number of times in the gospels, for example, in introducing some Gentiles to Jesus. Widely venerated since ancient times, he is remembered as one of the twelve who bore witness to the life, death and resurrection of Jesus. He became recognised as patron saint of Scotland because, according to legend, some of his bones were brought there and buried in the place which now bears his name.

  • Proper of Saints

December

29 December

St Thomas Becket Feast

bishop, martyr

Born in London in 1118, St Thomas, archbishop of Canterbury, was murdered in his cathedral on this day in 1170. A deacon when he was appointed chancellor of England, he became a close friend of King Henry II. His ordination as bishop brought an abrupt conversion of life and led him to oppose the king over Church rights. After six years' refuge in a French monastery, he returned to his diocese, but careless words from the king inspired four knights to assassinate him. Immediately acknowledged as a martyr, he is remembered for his courage in defence of the rights of the Church.

  • Common of Pastors: for Bishops Common of Martyrs