Hilda, 614-680, a member of the royal family of Northumbria, decided at age 33 to leave her secular life and become a nun. Hilda was a lover of learning and placed a very high value on giving people the opportunity to become educated. At the age of 43 she established Whitby Abbey composed of a household of monks and a household of nuns. It was a place of learning where both theology and daily life were studied. Hilda became the Abbess of Whitby.

In 664 Hilda hosted the Synod of Whitby. This Synod brought together representatives from the British (Celtic) Church and the Church of Rome. After a long period of debate and conversation it was finally agreed that the Celtic Church would change its practices and adopt those of Rome. Hilda, raised in the Celtic tradition, was unhappy with this decision which changed the worship and discipline of her community; but she decided to support it in order to maintain the unity of the Church.

Hilda greatly influenced the life of the Anglo-Saxon church. She was sought after by religious leaders, kings, and common people for her wise advice. On 18 November 680 Hilda died. Today we commemorate Hilda, Abbess of Whitby, a faithful servant of God.

Bible Reading: Psalm 122, Matthew 19:27-29