Willibrord was born in England in 658. He was educated for many years at an Irish monastery. Most of his life he was a missionary in lands which today are Germany, Holland, Luxemburg and Denmark. He had long had a great desire to preach the Gospel to the nonbelievers of those countries. At last, his dream came true. With the encouragement of the pope, who made him a bishop, St. Willibrord led many people to accept Christianity. The king of the Franks, Pepin, also cooperated with Willibrord.
One very stubborn king made it hard for the saint. This was Rodbod, king of Upper Friesland. At one time the missionary's ship was driven onto an island which the pagans of Denmark and Friesland (a province in the north Netherlands) considered sacred to their god. No one was permitted to kill any animal on it. They could not eat any vegetable or fruit that grew there, or draw from its spring, unless in complete silence. To show them that their god did not exist, St. Willibrord killed some game to provide food for his companions. He also baptized three persons in the spring. Hearing him pronounce the words, "I baptize you" loudly, the pagans felt sure he would drop dead. Of course, nothing happened. King Rodbod was told of this event and he ordered that one of the Christians should die to "calm the god's anger." So it was that one became a martyr.
After this king died, St. Willibrord eagerly went ahead converting many nonbelievers. Although he was growing very old, nothing could stop this apostle. He was still a fine-looking man, cheerful, wise, devout. He was full of love and concern for people right to the end of his life. Bishop Willibrord died in 739.
This saint was especially dedicated to the Truth. In our prayer today, we might consider ways that we could live more genuinely in the Truth.