This calendar of saints is drawn from several denominations, sects, and traditions. Although it will no longer be updated daily, the index on the right will guide visitors to a saint celebrated on any day they choose. Additional saints will be added as they present themselves to Major.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

January 19 -- Feast of Saints Wulfstan

Saint Wulfstan
It is fitting that Saint Wulfstan's Day, falls between Martin Luther King Jr's birthday (January 15) and holiday celebrating his birth (January 21 this year).  When he became bishop of Worcester, a brisk slave trade was conducted in the port of Bristol.  Kidnapped English youth were being hauled to Ireland where they were sold into service.  Perhaps it is not appalling that five or six centuries after Saint Patrick's servitude the English were still being sold as slaves in Ireland.  It would take another eight centuries for slavery to be formally outlawed in the United Kingdom and most of the British Empire (Ceylon and St. Helena excepted).  And a couple decades longer for slavery to be formally banned in the USA.  And still the world is struggling to prevent the illegal enslavement of people, especially women and children.  In fact, according the the advocacy group Free the Slaves, there are an estimated 27 million slaves in the world today. Of the 800,000 people who are sold internationally every year, 400,000 are children.  Approximately one million children, including all or nearly all of those sold internationally, are exploited in the commercial sex industry. 

Not the best photo, but the chapel of Our Lady of Africa in the Nat'l Basilica
Wulstan was active in suppressing the Bristol slave trade during his episcopate.  Even if he had not promoted the library of Worcester, introduced pastoral visits to his see, and initiated construction of a new cathedral, he would be hailed as a great bishop for that work alone. 

He accepted the  job of bishop (and all the accessories like the mitre, crozier, and ring) in 1062.  You probably know that William the Tanner's Bastard invaded England and stole King Harold's crown that year.  Wulfstan was one of the few English bishops to keep his job; most were replaced by Normans or French.  Perhaps it was because of his attitude toward the new regime:  "This is a scourge of God for our sins, which we must bear with patience."  

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