St. Richard of Chichester
St. Richard was born in England in 1197. He and his brother became orphans when Richard was very young. His brother owned some farms. Richard gave up his studies to help him save the farms from going to ruin. He worked so hard that his grateful brother wanted to give the farms to him, but Richard would not accept them. He also chose not to marry because he wanted to go away to college to get a good education. He knew that because he had very little money, he would have to work hard to pay his tuition and support.
Richard went to Oxford University and eventually was given an important position at the university. Later, St. Edmund, who was archbishop of Canterbury, gave him responsible assignments in his diocese. When St. Edmund died, St. Richard attended the Dominican House of Studies in France. There he was ordained a priest. Then he was made the bishop of Chichester, England, and that is why he is called Richard of Chichester. King Henry III wanted someone else to be bishop. He had a friend in mind, but this person did not have the qualifications. Richard was the true bishop of Chichester. King Henry III refused to let Richard in his own cathedral. The king also threatened the people of Chichester with punishment if they offered Richard hospitality. But some brave people helped him anyway, like one of the priests of Chichester, Father Simon of Tarring. The two men became great friends. When the pope threatened to excommunicate the king, he stopped interfering and let the new bishop alone.
As bishop, St. Richard did his duties well. He was always gentle and kind with the people. Once in a while, he had to be stern. He was courageous and confronted people when they were doing wrong and were not sorry.
It is said that when St. Richard became ill, he foretold his death, because God had let him know the exact place and time when he would die. His friends, including Father Simon of Tarring, were at his bedside. He died at the age of fifty-five in 1253. He was proclaimed a saint by Pope Urban IV in 1262.
How can the love of Jesus become the center of everything I do?