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Saint Willibrord

Saint Willibrord (c. 658 - November 7, 739) was a Northumbrian missionary, known as the "Apostle to the Frisians" in the modern Netherlands. He became the first Bishop of Utrecht and died at Echternach, Luxembourg.

A disciple of St. Wilfrid, he was sent to the Abbey of Ripon almost as soon as he was weaned. Later he joined the Benedictines. He spent the years between the ages of 20 and 32 in the Abbey of Rathmelsigi which was a center of European learning in the 7th century. During this time he studied under Saint Egbert, who sent him and twelve companions to Christianize the pagan North Germanic tribes of Frisia, at the request of Pepin, Christian king of the Franks and nominal suzerain over that region. At the request of Pepin he traveled twice to Rome, finally being consecrated Bishop of the Frisians in the Church of St. Cecilia. It was November 21, 695 and he was given the name of Clement. He was also given the pallium by the pope. He returned to Frisia to preach and to build numerous churches, among them a monastery at Utrecht, where he established his cathedral and is counted the first Bishop of Utrecht. In 698 he established an abbey at a Roman villa of Echternach, in Luxemburg near Trier, which was presented to him by Irmina, daughter of Dagobert II, king of the Franks.

His frequent visits to the Abbey of Echternach resulted in his being interred there after his passing, and he was quickly judged to be a saint. His feast is celebrated on November 7 outside England, but on November 29 in England, by order of Pope Leo XIII.

Numerous miracles and relics have been attributed to him, and in one particularly memorable moment, the transport of his relics was celebrated thus "the Five bishops in full pontificals assisted; engaged in the dance were 2 Swiss guards, 16 standard-bearers, 3045 singers, 136 priests, 426 musicians, 15,085 dancers, and 2032 players".

Saint Willibrord,
Follower of Jesus

Saint Willibrord, Apostle
Whom God sent to the poor
They had not heard the Gospel
You brought it to their door.
You taught them of God’s mercy
And His redeeming love.
So now we ask your prayers for us
In Heaven’s joys above.

Saint Willibrord, now bless us
As once you blessed the weak.
You healed the little children
And taught them God to seek.
Oh, you brought the Good News
To those who had not heard
Now help us teach of Jesus’ love
By Sacrament and Word.