Continuing the series on patron saints of our oblates. Today is the feast day of St. Aethelwold, Patron of Stephen Aethelwold Hilgendorf, Obl.S.B. Name-day blessings to you, Stephen! And congratulations on being named the Director of Faith Formation at St. Paul’s Cathedral!
[The following is adapted from what is posted here.]
St. Aethelwold was born in Winchester, England in the early years of the tenth century. He died 1 August 984. (St. Aethelwold of Winchester is not to be confused with St. Aethelwold, monk of Ripon and anchorite at Lindisfarne, who died about 720 and whose feast is kept 23 March; and St. Aethelwold, abbot of Melrose and bishop of Lindisfarne, who died about 740 and whose feast is kept 12 February.)
After a youth spent at the court of King Aethelstan, Aethelwold placed himself under Aelphege the Bald, bishop of Winchester, who gave him the tonsure and ordained him priest along with Saint Dunstan. At Glastonbury, where he was dean under Dunstan, he was a mirror of perfection.
In 955, Aethelwold became abbot of Abingdon. On 29 November 963, he was consecrated bishop of Winchester by Dunstan. Aethelwold and Oswald of Worcester worked zealously to combat the general corruption occasioned by Danish inroads. At Winchester, both in the old and in his new minster, he replaced the evil-living seculars with monks and re-founded the ancient nunnery. His labours extended to Chertsey, Milton (Dorsetshire), Ely, Peterborough, and Thorney. He expelled the unworthy and rebuilt and restored. To the rebellious, he was as “terrible as a lion,” to the meek “gentler than a dove.” The epithets “father of monks” and “benevolent bishop” summarize Aethelwold’s character as reformer and friend of Christ’s poor. Though he suffered much from ill-health, his life as scholar, teacher, prelate, and royal counsellor was ever austere.
He was buried in Winchester cathedral, his body being translated later by Aelphege, his successor. Abingdon monastery in the twelfth century had relics of Aethelwold. He is said to have written a treatise on the circle and to have translated the “Regularis Concordia.” His feast is kept on 1 August.