I have to confess that I love St. Aidan and his apprentice St. Cuthbert. Both were the Abbot of the Monastery on Lindisfarne, a tiny tidal island off the East Coast of Northern England.
Aidan had been a monk with St. Columba on Iona before setting out on a missionary journey from the western Scottish isles to England. Remember, at this point, the countries were not divided up like they are now and consisted of lots of much smaller kingdoms, some of which were possible to evangelize, and others which were so disorganized and violent that it would have been a hopeless task.
Aidan is said to have gone out into the ocean every morning and recited the Psalter. That is, 150 Psalms. Remember this is the North Sea, not the Florida coastline. Both saints were certainly used to a rugged and simple lifestyle, and both were committed to preaching the Gospel. When Cuthbert died his life had so inspired those around him that he was declared a Saint. Aidan was buried on Lindisfarne. Cuthbert is in Durham Cathedral, on the mainland, after his body was hidden for many years from the Viking invaders.
Aidan has been described as “Apostle to the English”. In many ways he would be a good choice as patron saint for England showing determination, tenacity and a thorough and lived-out devotion to his ministry. As opposed to, of course, George – a dragon slaying knight who may, or may not, have existed (spot the personal bias – sorry!). But this brings me to my question. What is it that you most admire in the people of great faith whom you have met? Those who walk with and before us are often sent as those who inspire our own walk with God. Pay attention for the stirring of the Spirit, for that connection in the life of another, which may be calling you to branch out on your own journey.