Hilda of Whitby
As the General Synod considers yet again how to make it possible for women to be bishops in the Church of England without driving out those of its members who are unable to accept that change, it seems apt that today's commemoration is for Hilda, Abbess of Whitby.
St Hilda (Hild) was a woman of great influence in the 7th century church in England. As Abbess of a monastery for women and men at Whitby she,
"...taught there the strict observance of justice, piety, chastity, and other virtues, and particularly of peace and charity; so that, after the example of the primitive church, no person was there rich, and none poor, all being in common to all, and none having any property. Her prudence was so great, that not only indifferent persons, but even kings and princes, as occasion offered, asked and received her advice; she obliged those who were under her direction to attend so much to reading of the Holy Scriptures, and to exercise themselves so much in works of justice, that many might be there found fit for ecclesiastical duties, and to serve at the altar." Bede: Ecclesiastical History, Book 4, Chapter XXIII.
If you want to know more about St Hilda's life and times, here is a very interesting article.
The collect prayer for today:
who made the abbess Hilda to shine like a jewel in our land
and through her holiness and leadership
blessed your Church with new life and unitry:
help us, like her, to yearn for the gospel of christ
and to reconcile those who are divided;
through him who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.