Saint of the Day – 18 December – Saint Winebald OSB (c 701-761) Priest, Abbot, Confessor, Missionary, Founder of many Monasteries, disciple of St Boniface – born in c 701 at Wessex, England and died on 18 December 761 at Heidenheim, Germany of natural causes. St Wieibald was the son of St Richard, Prince of Wessex, brother of St Willibald and St Walburga. Also known as – Winebaldus, Winnibald, Wunebald, Wunibald, Wynbald, Wynnebald, Vunibaldo, Vinebaldo. Patronages – construction workers, engaged couples.
God blessed St Richard with three saintly children, St Winebald, the eldest, St Willibald, who died Bishop of Eichstätt and St Walburga, Abbess. St Richard leaving his native country, took with him his two sons and landed on the coast of Normandy. They visited all the places of devotion on their way and then travelled into Italy, intending to go to Rome but at Lucca, St Richard fell sick and died about the year 722.
Winebald and Willibald accomplished their pilgrimage to Rome. After some stay there to perform their devotions, St Willibald undertook another pilgrimage to the holy places in Palestine but Winebald, who was from his childhood of a weak constitution, remained at Rome, where he pursued his studies for seven years, took the tonsure and devoted himself with his whole heart to the divine service. Then returning to England, he engaged several amongst his kindred and friends to accompany him in his journey back to Rome and there to dedicate themselves to God in a religious state.
Around 737, St Boniface, who was Uncle of St Winebald, visited Rome. By this time Willibald had returned from his travels and had become a Monk at Monte Cassino. Boniface recruited both nephews for the German mission. Willibald was Ordained and based in Eichstätt. Boniface received a promise that Winebald would go to Germany. Winebald arrived in Thuringia on 30 November, 740 and was Ordained Priest by his Uncle who, thereafter, placed him in charge of seven Churches.
Winebald established a Monastery in Schwanfeld but in 742 transferred it to Heidenheim, where the brothers founded a double Monastery for the training of Priests and as a centre of learning. Winibald became the first Abbot.
Winebald took part in the Concilium Germanicum, (the first major Synod of the German Church which was presided over by St Boniface) in 742, and subscribed Pepin’s donation to Fulda in 753. In 762, he joined the League of Attigny, a confraternity of prayer established by Chrodegang, Archbishop of Metz. All this the saint accomplished in spite of continual illness, which prevented him from ending his life at Monte Cassino as he had hoped. Wieibald died at Heidenheim on 18 December 761.
The Vita of St Winebald assures us of several miraculous cures which were performed at his tomb. St Ludger also writes in the life of St Gregory of Utrecht, “Winebald was very dear to my master Gregory and shows, by great miracles since his death what he did whilst living.”
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