Feast Day: November 7
Born: 658 :: Died: 739
Willibrord was born at Northumbria, in England and was the son of St. Hilgis. He did his early studies at the Abbey of Ripon near York, as a disciple of St. Wilfrid and then entered the Benedictine Order.
When twenty years old he went to Ireland and spent twelve years in the Abbey of Rathmelsigi under St. Egbert. Willibrord and eleven companions were sent on a mission to Frisia (in the Netherlands) by St. Egbert, at the request of King Pepin.
For a long time he had a great desire to go those countries where people did not believe in God and preach the Gospel. At last, his dream came true. With the encouragement of the pope, who made him a bishop, St. Willibrord led many people to accept Jesus as their saviour.
When Radbod gained possession of all Frisia and became king, Willibrord was forced to leave. Radbod destroyed most of the churches that Willibrord had helped build and replaced them by temples and shrines to the idols. He also killed many of the missionaries.
At one time the missionary's ship was driven onto an island which the pagans (people who did not believe in God) of Denmark and Friesland (a province in the north Netherlands) considered sacred to their god.
No one was allowed to kill any animal on it. They were not allowed to eat any vegetable or fruit that grew there, or draw water from its spring, unless in complete silence.
To show them that their god did not exist, St. Willibrord killed some wild animals there to provide food for his companions. He also baptized three persons in the spring.
Hearing him say the words, "I baptize you" loudly, the pagans felt sure he would drop dead. Of course, nothing happened. King Rodbod was told about this and he ordered that one of the Christians should die to "calm the god's anger." So one missionary 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 and holy.
He was full of love and concern for people right to the end of his life. Bishop Willibrord died in 739.
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