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Saint Winebald of Heidenheim

Missionary Companion of Saint Boniface



Abbot (ca. 701-761)

His life

+ Winebald was the son of Saint Richard, king of Wessex, and Saint Wunna. His siblings included Saint Willibald and Saint Walburga and he was a nephew of the great missionary-bishop Saint Boniface.

+ While on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land, Winebald became ill. During his recovery, he spent time in study and prayer before returning to England. Winebald discerned the call to serve as a missionary and he joined his uncle, Boniface, in his mission in Germany. Winebald was ordained a priest in 739.

+ Winebald served in the regions of Thuringia, Bavaria, and Mainz. He later founded a monastery at Heidenheim and served as the community’s first abbot.

+. Although he had hoped to end his days at the great Benedictine abbey at Monte Cassino, he health was failing, and he was unable to make the trip. Winebald died in the arms of his brother, Willibald, and his sister, Walburga, on December 18, 761. Following his death, Walburga was entrusted with the rule of Winebald’s monastery.

Spiritual bonus

Today is the day on which the Church formerly celebrated a special feast in honor of “the Expectation of the Blessed Virgin Mary.” Originally an alternate feast of the Annunciation (which typically falls during Lent), this feast came to honor Our Lady’s hope-filled expectation of the birth of Jesus in the days preceding Christmas.

For reflection

Remember your leaders who spoke the word of God to you; consider how their lives ended, and imitate their faith.”—Hebrews 13:7


Grant, we pray, almighty God,
that we, who are weighed down from of old
by slavery beneath the yoke of sin,
may be set free by the newness
of the long-awaited Nativity
of your Only Begotten Son.
Who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

(from The Roman Missal: Collect for December 18)

Saint profiles prepared by Brother Silas Henderson, S.D.S.

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