November17th is the feast of St Hilda

icon_bede-When Hilda had governed this monastery [Whitby] many years, it pleased Him Who has made such merciful provision for our salvation, to give her holy soul the trial of a long infirmity of the flesh, to the end that, according to the Apostle’s example, her virtue might be made perfect in weakness.

Struck down with a fever, she suffered from a burning heat, and was afflicted with the same trouble for six years continually.

During all this time she never failed either to return thanks to her Maker, or publicly and privately to instruct the flock committed to her charge.

Taught by her own experience, she admonished all men to serve the Lord dutifully, when health of body is granted to them, and always to return thanks faithfully to Him in adversity, or bodily infirmity.

In the seventh year of her sickness, when the disease turned inwards, her last day came, and about cockcrow, having received the voyage provision of Holy Housel, she called together the handmaids of Christ that were within the same monastery.

She admonished them to preserve the peace of the Gospel among themselves, and with all others; and even as she spoke her words of exhortation, she joyfully saw death come, or, in the words of our Lord, passed from death unto life.

That same night it pleased Almighty God, by a manifest vision, to make known her death in another monastery, at a distance from hers.

[…]  A certain nun called Begu…was resting in the dormitory of the sisters, when on a sudden she heard in the air the well-known sound of the bell, which used to awake and call them to prayers, when any one of them was taken out of this world, and opening her eyes, as she thought, she saw the roof of the house open, and a light shed from above filling all the place.

Looking earnestly upon that light, she saw the soul of the aforesaid handmaid of God in that same light, being carried to heaven attended and guided by angels.

Then awaking, and seeing the other sisters lying round about her, she perceived that what she had seen had been revealed to her either in a dream or a vision.

And rising immediately in great fear, she ran to the virgin who then presided in the monastery in the place of the abbess, whose name was Frigyth.

With many tears and lamentations, and heaving deep sighs, she told her that the Abbess Hilda, mother of them all, had departed this life, and had in her sight ascended to the gates of eternal light, and to the company of the citizens of heaven, with a great light, and with angels for her guides.

The Venerable Bede (672/4-735): Ecclesiastical History of England, 4, 23.

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