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Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Saint Fridewide, Virgin 735

Saint Frideswide, V

Frideswide, the Patron Saint of Oxford and the foundress of that city, was born about the year 735, probably of a South Mercian family of noble rank. And she founded a nunnery at Oxford ; which same, in the twelfth century, was rebuilt and re-founded as a theological school by the Austin Canons ; and from this beginning, it is believed that the great University of Oxford came into being. Wherefore, on February 11th, in 1180 her relicks were solemnly translated to the church which had been built in her name, whereafter her shrine became one of the chief pilgrimage places of England. * In 1546 Cardinal Wolsey dissolved the Priory of Saint Frideswide, and made it into a college : which Henry VIII re-established in 1546 as the House of Christ, or Christ College ; whereupon the Church of Saint Frideswide was used as the college chapel, and later became Christ Church Cathedral of the Diocese of Oxford, where her shrine is still shewn, and the faithful still invoke her prayers. * It is told that after her father built her a nunnery at Oxford, a South Mercian prince, who loved her, tried to carry her off ; and that she was obliged to flee with two companions to Abingdon, where she concealed herself for three years in a pig’s cote. And that to rid herself of her suitor’s attentions, she invoked God’s aid, who struck him with blindness, from which he recovered only when he firmly resolved to leave the maiden in peace. Which story so frightened the men of England that for many years those with similar illicit passions avoided the shrine of Saint Frideswide, who died in the peace of God about the year 735, after having lived in retirement for a long time in a cell near the town Thornburg.

Antiphon on the Benedictus:
The kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchantman seeking goodly pearls, * who when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had and bought it (Alleluia).
Antiphon on Magnificat:
Come, thou bride of Christ, receive the crown * which the Lord hath prepared for thee for ever. (Alleluia).
Graciously hear us, O God of our salvation, that like as we do rejoice in the festival of blessed Frideswide thy holy Virgin, so we may learn to follow her in all godly and devout affections, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

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