Known as the “Wonder-worker of Britain” during his lifetime, Saint Cuthbert was a peasant boy who became one of England ‘s best-loved saints. We have only an approximate year for his birth (637), and nothing is known of his early life except that he was a shepherd on the vast downs of Northumbria, an Anglo-Saxon kingdom in the north of Britain.
As a young man he sought admission to Melrose Abbey, and he spent the rest of his days in various monasteries: Melrose, Ripon, Lindisfame, the last of which was an island abbey where he was prior.
Although he desired complete solitude and spent more than ten years as a hermit on the island of Farne, his country was too close to paganism to allow him to remain in com plete seclusion. Cuthbert devoted most of his energies to missionary work. Traveling through the north of Britain, he preached Christianity and gradually won the people away from their pagan practices.
For the last two years of his life, Cuthbert was bishop of Lindisfarne. When he knew that death was near he asked to be taken back to Fame, where he died on March 2 o, 68 7. The miracles that had earned him the title of “Wonder worker” continued after his death, and his tomb soon be came a shrine for pilgrims. Today, at Durham Cathedral, Cuthbert’s body is still an object of veneration.
From The Lives of the Saints, page 163, (c) 1959, The Catholic Press