Saint Bede’s story is one of a call within a call, a man who carried in his heart this mission: to break the word to the poor and unlearned. Born the year 673 in Jarrow, Northumbria (England), he was sent to the monastery of St. Peter and St. Paul at the age of three. There he received scholarly instruction from saintly monks and became one of the outstanding scholars of his day. His areas of expertise included philosophy, astronomy, arithmetic, grammar, ecclesiastical history and Holy Scripture. He eventually became a monk there, was ordained at thirty, and except for one brief teaching sojourn in York, devoted his life to the study of Scripture, teaching, and writing at the monastery.
Known as the “Father of English History”, he was the first to date events anno Domini (A.D.) His best-known work is Historia Ecclesiastica gentis anglorum , a history of the English Church and its people, completed in 729. His manuscript remains a primary source of early English history.
Another title awarded St. Bede is “Patron Saint of English Writers and Historians.” Known as a meticulous scholar and respected stylist, in addition to his great work of history, he composed forty-five other books, including thirty commentaries on books of the Bible. Bede spent his final Lent working on a translation of the Gospel of Saint John into English. He completed the translation on the day of his death.
Perhaps his most cherished title is that of “The Venerable Bede.” Venerable: worthy of respect or reverence by reason of dignity, character, and exceptional wisdom. It is said he died in 735 while praying his favorite prayer, “Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. As in the beginning, so now, and forever.” Amen.