St. Hilda was born in 614. She was the grandniece of King Edwin of Northumbria, a kingdom of the Angles. In the year 647 her household became Christian, and she decided she wanted to become a nun.
She was very successful in strengthening the Christian Faith among the native people of Britain. The Celtic people and others in the area heard the Gospel well before the 300′s, and the Celts strongly influenced the faith. In the 400′s and 500′s war and a onslaught of people from Germany invaded Britain. Mainly the Angles, the Saxons, and the Jutes.
The Celts where forced from the land and to Wales, Scotland, and Ireland. The new invaders were pagan, and missionaries were sent from the Celts and from Rome. Under the direction of Aidan St. Hilda built and established several monasteries. The most notable one was in Whitby. Like the monastery built buy St. Brigid of Kildare This was a dual house. A home for men and woman alike with a chapel in between the homes.
Her monastery in Whitby became a education center for what would become England. 5 Bishops came out of her work. The church was greatly influenced by this center. So much that conflict raised between the Celts, and the Romans. The difference was not in doctrine. It was over ideas on monastic life and on the date Easter should be celebrated.
It was important to the Roman Christians the Easter universally be celebrated on the same day. On the other hand for at least 4 centuries Celts celebrated Easter on a different day. In 664 the Synod of Whitby met at St. Hilda’s monastery to hash out a final decision on this matter. This Synod was the turning point in Roman Catholicism in England. The decision was to follow Roman Tradition, and support of the Roman Bishops in the area.
St. Hilda was in favor on continuing in the Celtic tradition, but supported the new order for the much desired peace over her land. She had a great influence when it came to Kings and the common. All regarded her advice, and direction. Her continued voice for the study of the Scripture and high education for clergy. I believe this emphases is still seen in the Anglican church today.
St Hilda died 17 November 680.
O God of peace, by whose grace the abbess Hilda was endowed with Gifts of justice, prudence, and strength to rule as a wise mother over the nuns and monks of her household, and to become a trusted and reconciling friend to leaders of the Church: Give us the grace to respect and love our fellow Christians with whom we disagree, that our common life may be enriched and your gracious will be done, through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.