Saint of the Day Quote: Saint Edward the Martyr

March 18
St. Edward, King and Martyr

HE was monarch of England, and succeeded his father, the glorious King Edgar, in 975, being thirteen years old. He followed in all things the counsels of St. Dunstan; and his ardour in the pursuit of all virtues is not to be expressed. His great love of purity of mind and body, and his fervent devotion, rendered him the miracle of princes, whilst by his modesty, clemency, prudence, charity, and compassion to the poor, he was the blessing and the delight of his subjects. His stepmother, Elfrida, had attempted to set him aside that the crown might fall on her own son, Ethelred, then seven years old. Notwithstanding her treasonable practices, and the frequent proofs of her envy and jealousy, Edward always paid her the most dutiful respect and deference, and treated his brother with the most tender affection. But the fury of her ambition made her insensible to all motives of religion, nature, and gratitude. The young king had reigned three years and a half, when being one day weary with hunting in a forest near Wareham, in Dorsetshire, he paid a visit to his step-mother at Corfesgeate, now Corfe-castle, in the isle of Purbeck, and desired to see his young brother, at the door. The treacherous queen caused a servant to stab him in the belly whilst he was stooping out of courtesy, after drinking. The king set spurs to his horse, but fell off dead, on the 18th of March, 979, his bowels being ripped open so as to fall out. His body was plunged deep into a marsh, but discovered by a pillar of light, and honoured by many miraculous cures of sick persons. It was taken up and buried in the church of our Lady, at Wareham; but found entire in three years after, and translated to the monastery at Shaftesbury. His lungs were kept at the village called Edwardstow, in 1001: but the chief part of his remains were deposited at Wareham, as the Saxon Chronicle and Florence of Worcester say: but part was afterwards removed to Shaftesbury, not Glastenbury, as Caxton mistakes. The long thin knife with which he was stabbed, was kept in the church of Faversham, before the suppression of the monasteries, as Hearne mentions. His name is placed in the Roman Martyrology. The impious Elfrida, being awaked by the stings of conscience, and by the voice of miracles, retired from the world, and built the monasteries of Wherwell and Ambresbury, in the first of which she lived and died in the practice of penance. The reign of her son Ethelred was weak and unfortunate, and the source of the greatest miseries to the kingdom, especially from the Danes. See Malmesbury, Brompton, abbot of Jorvil, in Yorkshire, and Ranulf Higden, in his Polychronicon, published by Gale. Also an old MS. life of the saint, quoted by Hearne, on Langtoft’s Chronicle, t. 2. p. 628. and from the MS. lives of saints, in the hands of Mr. Sheldon, of Weston.

Butler’s Lives of the Saints

More to explorer

One Comment

  1. English Catholics to rededicate nation as ‘Mary’s Dowry’ By Simon Caldwell

    MANCHESTER, England (CNS) — Catholics are preparing for the historic rededication of England as “Mary’s Dowry” in the hope that it will spur the re-evangelization of their country.
    The English bishops decided to rededicate the country at a meeting in November 2017 and are now encouraging Catholics to pray the Angelus daily ahead of the March 29 National Day of Rededication.
    The event involves English Catholics making a personal “Angelus promise” to God in union with the “yes” of Mary at the Annunciation.
    The original dedication of England was carried out in 1381 by Richard II. With the title of “Mary’s Dowry,” the intention of Richard was that England and her people would be set aside for the special guidance and protection of Mary.
    At noon March 29, communal acts of entrustment will be made in cathedrals, renewing the vows of dedication made by King Richard. Schools are invited to join the rededication March 30.
    Pope Francis has supported the rededication by blessing an icon of Our Lady of Walsingham ahead of the event, and it will go on a permanent tour of English parishes. The devotion to Our Lady of Walsingham focuses on the Annunciation and the willingness of Mary to carry out the will of God.
    The image by Amanda de Pulford, an English Catholic iconographer, was taken to Rome in mid-February for the blessing. Cardinal Vincent Nichols of Westminster, president of the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales, told Catholic News Service the pope’s blessing was “a great encouragement to us all as we prepare for March 29 and our act of rededication.”
    In a subsequent pastoral letter, Cardinal Nichols said: “There is much for us to learn about being the Dowry of Mary and the love which is expressed in that title. It is rich in history, even if not contemporary in language. I hope we can use these coming weeks to deepen our knowledge of this ancient and lovely devotion.”
    “Mary will always lead us to her Son,” he added. “She will take us to him so that he can show us his love and mercy.”
    The Marian icon depicts Our Lady of Walsingham dressed in Anglo-Saxon clothing and holding up the child Jesus.
    It includes the coat of arms of St. Edward the Confessor, an Anglo-Saxon patron saint of England, and it depicts Lady Richeldis de Faverches, who built a replica of the “holy house” of Nazareth in the English countryside following an apparition.
    The image also shows a frog in the place of the serpent, following a traditionally old English telling of the book of Genesis.
    The icon is made in a traditional way, using egg tempera on gesso mounted on a birch panel, before a layer of varnish was added for protection.
    The original dedication of England as “Mary’s Dowry” coincided with the growth of the Walsingham shrine into one of the major pilgrimage destinations of medieval Europe.
    The original statue of Our Lady of Walsingham was burned by Protestant reformers in the late 1530s, during the reign of Henry VIII, but the shrine was rebuilt on the same site in Norfolk by Catholics and Anglicans in the 19th century.

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: