September 2007 - Volume 12, Issue 2

Saint Of The Month

St. Edith Of Wilton - September 16

Edith was born in Kemsing, Kent, in 961, the daughter of King Edgar and an unmarried woman named Wulfthryth. Immediately after Edith's birth, her mother took her and moved to Wilton Abbey. Wulfthryth soon became a nun, doing penance for the sin she had committed, and eventually, she was named abbess.

Edith was raised in the abbey and educated by two chaplains. Shortly before her 15th birthday, she was professed a nun. It is said that her father attended her profession and tried to entice young Edith back to court with gifts of gold and silver, but she refused. According to some accounts, Edith also turned down the position of abbess of three different abbeys, because she felt she was too inexperienced to hold such a responsible post.

When King Edgar died in 975, he was succeeded by his son Edward, who was murdered four years later. A few noblemen, who had supported Edward, then asked Edith to take the throne. But again, she refused, preferring the serenity of life in the abbey.

As a nun, Edith lived quite happily, and was particularly dedicated to serving the poor and taking care of wild animals. She was also gifted in the arts, especially at lettering, illumination and embroidery.

In 984, Edith had a chapel built at Wilton in honor of St. Denis, French martyr. During its dedication, Archbishop Dunston of Canterbury foresaw Edith's death. A little over a month later, 23 year old Edith died on September 16.

Christ with me,
Christ before me,
Christ behind me,
Christ on my right,
Christ on my left,
Christ when I lie down,
Christ when I sit down,
Christ when I arise,
Christ in the heart of everyone who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks of me,
Christ in every eye that sees me,
Christ in every ear that hears me.

– Prayer attributed to St. Patrick

From Ordinary People, Extraordinary Lives