SS Cuthbert and Wulfram OSB (March 20)



Today I'd like to draw your attention to two saintly monks mentioned in the martyrology, SS Wulfram of Sens, and St Cuthbert.

St Cuthbert

From the martyrology:

"In England, the death of St. Cuthbert, bishop of Lindisfarne, who from his childhood until his death was renowned for good works and miracles."

St Cuthbert (634-687) was an Anglo-Saxon monk, bishop and hermit whose life was written by St Bede.

Cuthbert was in the Kingdom of Northumbria in the mid-630s, some ten years after the conversion of King Edwin to Christianity in 627.


He decided to become a monk after seeing a vision on the night in 651 that St Aidan, the founder of Lindisfarne, died, but seems to have seen some military service first. He was quickly made guest-master at the new monastery at Ripon, soon after 655, but had to return with Eata to Melrose when Wilfrid was given the monastery instead. About 662 he was made prior at Melrose, and around 665 went as prior to Lindisfarne. In 684 he was made bishop of Lindisfarne but by late 686 resigned and returned to his hermitage as he felt he was about to die, although he was probably still only in his early 50s.

St Cuthbert had a reputation for piety, diligence, and obedience. After the Synod of Whitby, St Cuthbert seems to have accepted the Roman customs, and his old abbot, Eata, called on him to introduce them at Lindisfarne as prior there. His asceticism was complemented by his charm and generosity to the poor, and his reputation for gifts of healing and insight led many people to consult him, gaining him the name of "Wonder Worker of Britain". He continued his missionary work, travelling the breadth of the country from Berwick to Galloway to carry out pastoral work.

St Wulfram

From the martyrology:

"In the monastery of Fontanelle in France, St. Wulfram, bishop of Sens, who resigned his bishopric, and after having performed miracles, departed out of this life."

St Wulfram (640-703) was a Frank. He became Archbishop of Sens in 692, but resigned from the see in 695 and retired to the Benedictine Monastery of Fronenelles (probably in Rouen).

He went on mission to Frisia, where he proved extremely effective.  Acorrding to the wikipedia:

"...in Frisia, St. Wulfram converted the son of King Radbod and was allowed to preach. The custom was that people, including children, were sacrificed to the local gods having been selected by a form of lottery. Wulfram, having remonstrated with Radbod on the subject, was told that the king was unable to change the custom but Wulfram was invited to save them if he could. The saint then waded into the sea to save two children who had been tied to posts and left to drown as the tide rose. According to the story, the turning point came with the rescue of a man, Ovon, who had been chosen by lot to be sacrificed by hanging. Wulfram begged King Radbod to stop the killing, but the people were outraged at the sacrilege proposed. In the end, they agreed that Wulfram's God could have a chance to save Ovon's life, and if he did, Wulfram and the God could have him. Ovon was hanged, and left for a couple of hours, while Wulfram prayed. When the Frisians decided to leave Ovon for dead, the rope broke, Ovon fell - and was alive. Ovon became Wulfram's slave, his follower, a monk, and then a priest at Fontenelle Abbey. The faith of the missionaries (and their power to work miracles), frightened and awed the people who turned from their old ways, and were baptized."

He subsequently retired back to his monastery, and died there in 703. 

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