Winsome Saint Willibrord

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Energetic in Everything He Undertook for God

Saint Willibrord is the patron saint of The Netherlands. He was also a Benedictine, one of the companions of Saint Boniface and Saint Lioba in the English evangelization of Northern Europe. Alcuin, in his Life of Willibrord, describes him as "comely of face, cheerful in spirit, wise in counsel, pleasing in speech, grave in character and energetic in everything he undertook for God. Willibrord's ministry was one of zealous preaching shaped by the psalmody of the Hours and by the practice of lectio divina.

Willibrord Changes Water Into Wine

Alcuin relates a number of miracles performed by Saint Willibrord. I especially like one having to do with wine. It shows a fully human and compassionate Willibrord. On one occasion, Willibrord came with his companions to the house of a friend of his and wished to break the fatigue of the long journey by taking a meal there, but it came to his ears that the head of the house had no wine. He gave orders that four small flasks -- all that his companions carried with them for their needs on the journey -- should be brought to him. He blessed them in the name of Christ who at the marriage feast of Cana changed water into wine. After Willibrord's gracious blessing about forty people drank their fill from the small bottles. With great thanksgiving and joyful hearts, they said one to another: " The Lord Jesus has in truth fulfilled His promise in the Gospel: 'He who believes in me will do the deeds I do, and greater than these shall he do.'"

Plant the Cross and Build A Monastery Around It

Saint Willibrord illustrates for us, in this time of the New Evangelization, the enduring value of the monastic mission. To plant the Cross and to build a monastery around it remains, even today, an act of evangelization, an effective way of preaching the gospel. Monasteries open and monasteries close but wherever men and women truly seek God and prefer nothing to the love of Christ the seed of the Gospel is planted in the earth to bear a fruit that will abide (Jn 15:16).

I came across this wonderfully evocative Litany of Saint Willibrord. It gives, I think, the portrait of a true missionary of the Gospel:

Lord, have mercy.
Christ, have mercy.
Christ, hear us.
Christ, graciously hear us.

God the Father in heaven,
have mercy on us.
God the Son, Redeemer of the world,
have mercy on us.
God the Holy Spirit,
have mercy on us.

God the Holy Trinity,
have mercy on us.

St Willibrord, pray for us!
St Willibrord, Guiding Light of the Church,
St Willibrord, Bright-shining star of our country,
St Willibrord, Missionary to our homeland,
St Willibrord, special protector of this our land,
St Willibrord, first apostle of the Netherlands.
St Willibrord, founder of monasteries and churches,
St Willibrord, promotor of progress and knowledge,
St Willibrord, teacher of truth,
St Willibrord, passionate interpreter of the teaching of Christ,
St Willibrord, ceaseless proclaimer of the Holy Gospel,
St Willibrord, teacher of true faith,
St Willibrord, founder of peace and justice,
St Willibrord, model of hope and reconciliation,
St Willibrord, conqueror of injustice and discord,
St. Willibrord, Architect of Community and Unity,
St Willibrord, Destroyer of idols,
St Willibrord, Patron Saint of children,
St Willibrord, Gentle guide of the lost,
St Willibrord, Support of the homeless,
St Willibrord, Friend of the persecuted,
St Willibrord, Light of the blind,
St. Willibrord, Refuge for the sick,
St Willibrord, Gentle father of the poor,
St Willibrord, Comforter of the afflicted and sorrowful,
St Willibrord, Helper to the suffering,
St Willibrord, True voice of God,
St Willibrord, Humble servant of Jesus Christ,
St Willibrord, Mighty advocate in heaven,
St Willibrord, Miraculous healer,
St Willibrord, True witness and confessor of Christ,
St Willibrord, Saviour of those who doubt their faith,
St Willibrord, Supporter of the care-giver and educator,
St Willibrord, Hope of those who pray,
St Willibrord, Model of patience and gentleness,
St Willibrord, Example of active love,
St Willibrord, Master of joy and life,
St Willibrord, Disciple of Christ,

Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world,
Hear us!
Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world.
Graciously hear us!
Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world.
Have mercy on us!

V. Pray for us, Saint Willibrord.
R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

Let us pray.

O God, the Saviour of all,
who sent Thy bishop Willibrord as a pilgrim for Christ
to proclaim the Gospel to many peoples
and confirm them in their faith,
grant us, we beseech you,
so to witness to Thy steadfast love by word and deed
that Thy Church may flourish and wax strong in holiness.
Through Christ our Lord.


Dear Father Mark, thank you for your news; I will certainly hold you both in my prayers and in the words of St JoseMaria in The Forge 318

Place yourself before the Lord each day and tell him slowly and in all earnestness, like the man in the Gospel who was in such great need, Domine, ut videam! — Lord, that I may see!; that I may see what you expect from me, and struggle to be faithful to you.

And at the same time I ask prayer for the needs of the members and the Apostolic work of the Opus Dei in the Netherlands

Father Prior & Dom Benedict,

My prayers will be with you, as I'm sure yours will for our poor country.

~ Br Melchesidech

Thanks for this wonderful post. I'm going to link to this on the Irish Saints calendar on my site. Please pray for religious freedom.

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About Dom Mark

Dom Mark Daniel Kirby is Conventual Prior of Silverstream Priory in Stamullen, County Meath, Ireland. The ecclesial mandate of his Benedictine community is the adoration of the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar in a spirit of reparation, and in intercession for the sanctification of priests.

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