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July 13

St Mildred of Thanet - July 13

Saint Mildred of Thanet

Abbess, Virgin

“The Fairest Lily of the English”

(Around 7th Century – Around 8th Century)

“Maintain, most dear ones, peace and holiness among yourselves, continue to love God diligently, and to do good to your neighbour.”

Saint Mildred of Thanet

Saint’s Life Story

Her Saintly Family Background

Mildred was the daughter of King Merewald of Magonset and his wife, Saint Ermenburga, and sister of Saints. Milburga and Milgith. At an early age, her mother sent Mildred to be educated by an abbess at Chelles in France, where many English ladies were trained to a saintly life.

Marriage Proposal Turned to Miracle

A young nobleman, related to the Abbess of Chelles, asked the abbess for her hand in marriage. Despite a favorable recommendation from the abbess, Mildred told her that she had been sent there to be taught, not to be married. All the abbess’s advice, threats and blows failed to persuade Mildred from entering into marriage. Finally, the abbess threw Mildred into a large hot oven. After three hours, the abbess opened the oven door expecting to find ashes, but instead, Mildred came out unscathed and radiant.

Fled France

Hearing of the miracle, the faithful venerated Mildred as a saint. However, the abbess threw her on the ground, beat, kicked and scratched her and tore out a handful of her hair. Mildred was able to send her mother a letter, enclosing some of the hair that had been torn from her head. Queen Saint Ermenburga immediately sent ships to fetch her daughter.

The abbess, fearing that her evil deeds should come to light, would not permit Mildred to leave. That did not stop Mildred from escaping during the night.

Returned to England

Upon her arrival back in England, she landed at Ebbsfleet where she found a great square stone, miraculously prepared for her to step on from the ship. The stone received, and retained, the mark of her foot and was afterwards moved to the Abbey of Minster-in-Thanet and kept there in memory of her. Many diseases are said to have been cured for centuries afterwards by water containing a little dust from this stone.

Abbess at Minster-in-Thanet Abbey

With her mother’s consent, Mildred joined her at her monastery at Minster-in-Thanet. She was given the veil by Theodore, Archbishop of Canterbury, at the same time as seventy other nuns. Upon St. Ermenburga’s death, Mildred succeeded her as Abbess of the community and set a holy example of patience, love and kindness. Mildred was noted for her generosity to the poor and special attention she paid to social outcasts. 

Legend

An old story is recorded that one night, while Mildred was praying in the church of her monastery, the devil blew out her candle, but an angel drove him away and re-lighted it for her.

Her Death

Around early 700’s, Mildred died at Minster-in-Thanet, Kent, England from a lingering illness. She was succeeded by Saint Edburga of Minster-in-Thanet. During Saint Edburga’s rule, the bell-ringer fell asleep before the altar. The departed Mildred awoke him by hitting him on the ear, exclaiming, “This is the oratory, not the dormitory!” 

In 1033, Mildred’s relics were transferred to St. Augustine’s Abbey in Canterbury and minor relics also were taken to Deventer in Holland where she was also honored. There was, however, another set of relics which were said to have been hidden at Lyming, with those of her sister, Milgitha, during the Viking devastation. These were given to the Religious Hospital of St. Gregory in Canterbury, by Archbishop Lanfranc in 1085.

Born:                   Around 7th Cenury in unknown location

Died:                   Around 8th Century in Minster-in-Thanet, Kent, England

Beatified:           Not Available

Canonized:        1388 by Pope Urban VI

Feast Day:          July 13

Patron Saint:    Minster-in-Thanet, Kent, England

Source:

Reflection

St. Mildred of Thanet was a princess daughter of a King. She gave up all the allurements of her royal rank and humbled herself from all worldy pride. Instead, she became an abbess following her mother’s footsteps serving widows, orphans, the poor and the afflicted. While you may not be a prince or princess born into royalty, we all can share the inheritance of Jesus Christ dying for our sins on the cross. 

What “wealthy” treasures has God provided you to share with others in need today? Whether young or old, we all have the ability to share are talents, treasure and time with those around us spreading our faith by example.

Prayers

St. Mildred of Thanet, through constant prayer and frequent fasting, you denied the entrapments of a priviledged royal life. Let us imitate your virtues and free oursleves from all earthly attachments, so that we may join you with Christ our Saviour in heaven .

St. Mildred of Thanet, pray for us. Amen.

Saint Links 

AnaStpaul – Saint of the Day – 13 July – St Mildred of Thanet OSB (Died c 700) “The Fairest Lily of the English”

Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America – St. Mildred of Thanet 

Bartleby – Rev. Alban Butler Volume I: January. The Lives of the Saints. 1866. February 20 St. Mildred, Virgin and Abbess

Catholic Online – St. Mildred

CatholicSaints.Info – Saint Mildred of Thanet

Life of Saint Mildred, Abbess of Minster in Thanet, by A Lay-Tertiary of Saint Francis

Celtic Saints – St. Mildred of Thanet, Abbess of Minster, England

Independent Catholic News – St Mildred Celebrated on July 13th

Orthodox England – Commemoration of Our Venerable Mother Mildred, Abbess of Minster-in-Thanet, Wonderworker of Kent

Wikipedia – Mildrith

Video Link