St. Willibrord, Archbishop of Utrecht, Apostle of Frisia (739). Celebrated on November 71 min read
St. Willibrord, Archbishop of Utrecht, Apostle of Frisia was born in Northumbria in England around 638. At the age of seven, he was sent to the monastery at Ripon for education under St Wilfrid (April 24) Bishop of York. Between the ages of 20 and 32 St. Willibrord lived in the Abbey of Rath Melsigi, in County Carlow, Ireland, which was a center of European learning in the 7th century.
He spent twelve years there as the spiritual child of St Egbert (April 24). In 690 St Egbert sent Willibrord as head of a company of twelve monks to take the Gospel to the pagan lands around Frisia. St. Willibrord first went to Rome to receive the blessing of Pope Sergius, then with his fellow-monks preached the Gospel throughout Holland and Zealand. In 695 Pope Sergius consecrated Willibrord Archbishop of Utrecht, instructing him to organize the Church throughout that area. As Archbishop, Willibrord continued to labor tirelessly for the spread of the Gospel in that pagan lands. St. Willibrord’s travels took him as far as Denmark. He reposed in 739 at Echternach Monastery (located in present-day in Luxembourg), having served for forty-four years as a bishop and for most of his life as a monastic. His tomb soon became a place of pilgrimage.