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To live a life devoted to the service of God is like choosing to lie down on a bed of roses, there will be many a thorny poke with the uplifting aroma of the rose petals. Such was the experience of the 13th century saint whose day is September 24.

Robert of Knaresborough (1160-1218) grew up in York becoming a member of the clergy early in life. After a few months as a subdeacon at the Cistercian abbey in Newminster he chose to become a hermit and took up residence in a cave at Knaresborough. However life was not peaceful or monotonous as a hermit. On the death of a fellow hermit, a knight in hiding, he returned his body to his wife. When he left the cave to accept a kind offer of a cell and chapel, his new residence was destroyed by bandits a year later. The constable of Knaresborough charged him with harbouring thieves and outlaws and destroyed a new hermitage he had built. Finally, Robert returned to the cave and lived out his days in devotion and caring for the poor. His supporters eventually included King John, and the constable who had been a prickly thorn earlier in life. (Reference: The Oxford Dictionary of Saints)

Bible Reading: Matthew 20: 20-28