October 2005 - Volume 10, Issue 3

Saint of the Month

St. Edward the Confessor - October 13

St. Edward

Edward was born around 1005, during a time of political upheaval in England. Because his father was king of the Saxons, Edward and his family faced persecution from the Danes who ruled England. So he and his brother Alfred were sent to Normandy for safety. Although he enjoyed the social pastimes of his privileged class, Edward also developed a deep faith and often assisted during Mass.

In 1036, Alfred returned to England to take the throne but was murdered. Then in 1042, Edward was called back to England, and Danes, Saxons and Normans alike welcomed him as their ruler. Tensions still ran high, though, between various political factions. Edward's diplomacy was integral in ending the disputes and maintaining peace during his reign.

Edward came to be known as "the Confessor" because of his spiritual nature. A gentle man, he was easily accessible to his subjects. Edward ended taxes that had been started under the Danes and gave the already-collected funds to the poor. He also used his own wealth to help the needy.

In his youth, Edward had vowed to make a pilgrimage to Rome if God ended his family's suffering, and Edward wanted to go. But his advisors said he needed to stay in England to ensure peace. To solve Edward's dilemma, Pope Leo IX told him to use the money he would have spent on his pilgrimage instead to help the poor and to endow a monastery. So Edward rebuilt an abbey just outside of London B the first Westminster Abbey.

Edward died in 1066 and was buried in the abbey. He was canonized in 1161, and his body was found intact when it was later moved to a new shrine.

Dear Lord,
You called Edward to an earthly throne
so that he might advance Your heavenly kingdom.
You blessed him with love for others
and a devotion to Your Son.
Grant that we who remember Edward
may share in his generosity of riches and of spirit,
to help others in any way we can.
We ask this through Jesus Christ, our Lord.

From Ordinary People, Extraordinary Lives