FEast: Aug. 31st
firefighters, deer, solitary people
Aidan, from an Irish family, may have studied under St. Senan. He lived most of his early life (as far as we know) as a monk in the ancient monastery on Iona, an Island off of Scotland.
Around this time, King Oswald of Northumbria vowed that he would make the region of his reign return to Christianity. His first choice of a bishop from Iona turned out to be a man who was harsh and stern, who did not get very far. This monk returned to the monastery convinced the Northumbrians were too stubborn to accept Chritianity. Oswald then asked instead for Aidan, who was well-known and respected within the community. He became bishop and founder of the English Lindisfarne monastery. Through his efforts and leadership there, the area was able to become very strongly devoted to Christianity.
King Oswald also asked Aidan to act as a missionary. He would walk throughout the villages, having light conversations with anyone who might be interested. He not only taught and preached, but actively learned about their lives and participated in their communities. Over time, he built churches, schools, and monasteries throughout the region. He used his own funds to pay for the freedom of enslaved people, liked simplicity, used his own home and buildings to house orphans, and made sure churches were also centers of learning. He even cared for animals, with one story stating that he made a stag invisible to hunters. The area began to flourish, and he was loved by many.
Aidan became friends with Oswald’s successor as well and continued to do his work until 651 when a pagan army attacked the city. As Aidan prayed, the flames from the monastery miraculously shifted and began to blow back towards the army instead.
He died not long after and was buried beneath his monastery.
may we follow your example in evangelizing by our actions. May we be involved in our lives, our communities, and the people around us. May we be patient, simple, loving, and open. May we listen more than we speak and never underestimate the importance of help, no matter how small. May we embrace our world and the people in it rather than waiting for the next. Amen.
In this piece, Aidan wears a sweater bearing symbols of his background and his story. Hie eyes exude kindness and his mouth is closed while he listens and watches the world around him.