St Cuthbert – the man who loved God, others and the environment.
Patron Saint of: North of England
Cuthbert was born in southern Scotland. As a young man he worked as a shepherd. When in the fields one night at the age of 18 he had a vision. He saw the body of a man being taken to heaven by angels.
Cuthbert discovered that Aiden, a Bishop had died. St. Aiden had been invited by King Oswald to set up monasteries for Monks across the North.
Cuthbert felt that this one a sign from God to become a monk. So, he joined a monastery at Melrose, which is now in southern Scotland. Here he learnt how to be a Monk.
As Cuthbert arrived at the monastery one of the monks said, “Here comes a man of God”. The monk did not know Cuthbert, but it was clear that Cuthbert was special. Cuthbert soon became the leader of the monastery at Melrose.
Cuthbert soon became a popular monk. He was then asked to go to Lindisfarne to be the leader of the monks there too. Lindisfarne is an island just off the Northumberland coast in the North East. It can be reached by road when the tide goes out at different times during the day.
Cuthbert would spread the Good News about Jesus and he converted many people to Christianity. Cuthbert had a special gift – the gift of healing. People would travel from all over the country to be prayed over by Cuthbert. He had a very large following of people and even though he loved to help people, he loved God the most. Cuthbert decided to take time out to pray and be alone with God. Cuthbert moved to a small island called the Inner Farne. He became a hermit. He built himself a small house, a chapel and guest house for the other monks to stay in when they visited. Cuthbert would spend his days in prayer. It is here that Cuthbert became one with God’s creation. He often took care of the animals that lived around him.
Cuthbert was very happy on his island with God and nature. However, the King had other ideas for him. He asked Cuthbert to become the Bishop of Lindisfarne. Cuthbert reluctantly agreed.
After being Bishop for a number of years, Cuthbert eventually retired back to his beautiful Inner Farne Island where he later died in 687.
St Cuthbert was buried back on Lindisfarne Island. Here many people came on pilgrimage to his resting place. As people visited the monks noticed that healing miracles were still taking place. St. Cuthbert was still very popular even in death.
The Monks decided to share these miracles so they decided to remove St. Cuthbert’s bones and take them around different churches across England.
When the monks opened up his coffin 11 years after his death they did not find a skeleton they found the body of St. Cuthbert fully intact as if he has only just passed away.
The Vikings invaded England. The monks moved St. Cuthbert’s body from Lindisfarne several times over the next 100 years to safety away from the invaders. Legend has it, that one night, as the monks moved the coffin again, that the coffin became too heavy to carry, it felt like stone. The monks rested over-night and planned where they would go next. That night it is said that St. Cuthbert appeared to one of the monks in a dream and told him to take the body to ‘Dun Home’ – which is called Durham today.
In 1093 the monks build a Cathedral around the burial site on St. Cuthbert to honour him. St. Cuthbert still rests there today inside Durham Cathedral where pilgrims still come to visit.
Our school badge tells the story of St Cuthbert.
The common Eider sea birds are known as ‘Cuddy ducks’ tradition has it that Cuthbert, who had a strong relationship with nature, helped save their lives from hunters.
There is a special hat worn by Bishops. Cuthbert would have worn a bishop’s hat like this one.
The cross of St Cuthbert. The original cross was found in his tomb. He would have worn this everyday as symbol of his faith.
The monks at Lindisfarne copied the Gospel by hand and decorated them in detail this was because there were no printers. This Latin translation of the Gospel of John was found in St Cuthbert’s tomb. This Gospel which is over 1,300 years old was sold to the British Library for 9 million pounds. It is thought to be the oldest intact book in Europe.
St Cuthbert was a very special man who is always honoured and remembered across the British Isles. He was a man of God. He said, “Have faith and whole heartedly trust God who will never abandon you”. He had a great faith in God. His faith in God led him to love other people. St Cuthbert always took care of those around him by preaching the good news about Jesus to them, healing them and by taking care of the poor. He said, “Always preserve divine charity among yourselves”. Charity is something that was very important to him. Finally, he loved God’s creation. He cared for his environment and the animals around him.
In our school community we follow his example by loving and serving God, other people and the environment.