Feast Day: August 31
Born: (around) 590 :: Died: 651
Aidan of Lindisfarne was born in Ireland. As a young boy, he studied under St. Senan and later became a monk. He lived at the great monastery of Iona, which St. Columban had founded.
He was a humble man, who was greatly loved and respected and was the kind of person anyone would love to call "friend".
When St. Oswald became king of North England he asked for missionaries to preach to his pagan people who did not believe in God. The first missionary to go soon came back complaining that the English were rude, stubborn and wild.
The monks got together to talk about the situation. "It seems to me," St. Aidan said to the returned monk, "that you have been too harsh with those people."
He then explained that, as St. Paul says, first teach them simple lessons, then when the people have grown stronger on the Word of God, they can begin doing the more perfect things of God's holy law.
When the monks heard such wise words, they turned to Aidan. "You should be the one to go to North England to preach the Gospel," they said and Aidan went willingly. He humbly took on his new job with a spirit of prayer.
As he began preaching, King St. Oswald himself translated Aidan's sermons into English until the saint learned the language better. St. Aidan knew the bible well and always traveled on foot preaching and helping the people. He did much good and was greatly loved by the people.
After thirty years of St. Aidan's ministry, any monk or priest who came into the village was greeted with great joy by all the villagers.
On the island of Lindisfarne, St. Aidan built a large monastery and King Oswald made him the first bishop there. So many monks from this monastery later became saints that Lindisfarne became known as the Holy Island.
Slowly, the work of these eager missionaries changed North England into a civilized, Christian land. St. Aidan died in 651.
We can learn from St. Aidan's life that the witness of a joyful, kind person is a powerful influence on others. When we find it difficult to see the good in people, we can whisper a prayer to St. Aidan and he will help us.
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