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Hilda, Saint

Saint Hilda, 614–80, English abbess of Whitby, princess of Northumbria. She became a Christian at the age of 13 and a nun at 33. About 647 she set out for a convent in France, but was recalled by St. Aidan to found a convent on the banks of the Wear River. In 657, St. Hilda founded the abbey later called Whitby. It was a double monastery, housing both men and women. The poet Cædmon became a lay brother there during her abbacy. Her strong personality made her a great figure in the Church in N England, and the Synod of Whitby (663) met in her abbey to settle differences between the Roman and the Celtic ecclesiastical uses. St. Hilda herself favored the Celtic rite, but the Roman rite was adopted. Feast: Nov. 17.

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