Sunday, September 6, 2020

St. Bega

Bega was the daughter of an Irish King. Her father had promised her in marriage to the son of the King of Norway, but Bega had already consecrated her life to Christ by a vow of virginity. A bracelet marked with a cross was given to her by an angel as a token of her sacred promise. The day before her wedding, she escaped with the help of the holy bracelet: it guided her outside to a clod of earth and she was transported across the Irish Sea and safely deposited upon the English coast at Cumbria.

She settled there for some years living in the strictest seclusion in a hut she had built in a grove of trees near the seashore. Finding herself rejected by the people living along the coast, she survived on nourishment miraculously brought to her by seagulls and gannets. In the course of time that coastline became frequented by pirates. Fearing the Viking pirates, not on account of her life or possible mutilation, but on account of her virginity, Bega left the Cumbrian coast and traveled to Northumbria where, on the advice of King Oswald (later St. Oswald), she professed her religious vows. She established a monastery at St. Bees, which later became a cell of the Benedictine Abbey of St. Mary at York. The people there came to revere her for her goodness and kindness, and she is still venerated in Northumbria and Scotland today.
Photo by: Doug Sim

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