+ Swithbert (who is also known as Suitber) was born in Northumbria (England) and later studied in Ireland under Saint Egbert at the abbey of Rathemgisi.
+ A noted preacher and teacher, he became the spiritual father of Saint Willeic, another monk-missionary who would labor in Germany.
+ Swithbert and eleven other monks, led by Saint Willibrord, began to work as missionaries in Friesland, a group of islands of the cost of the Netherlands. To support the mission, Swithbert was consecrated as a bishop in 693.
+ Switherbert later founded the great Benedictine abbey at Werth (modern-day Düsseldorf-Kaiswerwerth, Germany).
+ Saint Swithbert died in 747 and is honored as one of the patrons of Germany.
For prayer and reflection
“I will praise you, Lord, among the nations.”—Psalm 18:50
Today the Church also remembers Saint Agnes Cao Guiying. A Chinese Christian, she was widowed when her husband was martyred for his Christian faith. Following his death, she devoted herself to teaching catechism. For this “crime,” she was executed on March 1, 1856, in Xilin, China. She was canonized with other Chinese martyrs in 2000.
O God, who through the Bishop blessed Swithbert brought peoples without faith from darkness to the light of truth, grant us, through his intercession, that we may stand firm in faith and remain constant in the hope of the Gospel he preached. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your 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: Common of Pastors—For a Missionary)
Saint profiles prepared by Brother Silas Henderson, S.D.S.