Queen of Northumbria, Abbess of Wimborne, Died: 31st August AD 725 at Wimborne, Dorset
St. Cuthburga was the daughter of Prince Coenred, a second-cousin of Caedwalla, King of Wessex. Her brothers were St. Ine, King of Wessex and Ingild, great-great-grandfather of Egbert, the first King of the English, and direct ancestor of Alfred the Great. Her sisters were St. Cwenburga, Edburga and Tata. Caedwalla became a Christian, in AD 688, and went to Rome to be baptised, resigning the throne to Ine. Cuthburga married Aldfrith, King of Northumbria. He was the illegitimate son of Oswiu, King of Northumbria, and was educated among the monks of Iona. He was learned in the Scriptures and was a great friend of SS. Adomnan and Benedict Biscop. They were the parents of Osred, King of Northumbria, and probably of St. Osanna.
Aldfrith and Cuthburga eventually separated for religious motives. Cuthburga took the veil with her sister, St. Cwenburga, at Barking. This nunnery was famous for the zeal of the nuns in the study of sacred and classic literature; and together they became pupils of St. Hildelith, the second abbess. Ine, now King of Wessex, saw that his sisters had devoted themselves to the service of God and was impressed. Desiring to build a church for the good of his soul and the advantage of his people, he had a double monastery erected, between AD 700 and 705, for Cuthburga, at Wimborne in Dorset, near his own residence. Cuthburga was its first abbess. Cwenburga was a nun there with her.
The divided enclosure at Wimborne was rigorously enforced by Cuthburga and not even prelates were allowed into the nuns’ quarters. The saintly lady communicated with them through a little hatch. She was kindly to the brethren and sisters under her care, but austere to herself and assiduous in fasting and prayer. Her nunnery soon became the dominant of the two communities and was even more famous than Barking as a training-school for learned and active women. It was from here, in the next generation, that SS. Lioba, Walburga and others, at the call of St. Boniface, joined the great English apostle of Germany and helped in his grand mission. The abbey of Wimborne was destroyed by the Danes about the year AD 900 and, when afterwards restored, it was dedicated anew in the name of St. Cuthburga and given over to secular canons. St. Cuthburga’s chest, hollowed from a single piece of oak, was supposed to have survived the devastation and it is still pointed out in the North Aisle of the Minster. Her burial-place is said to be under the wall of the chancel.
INTROIT Psalm 118: 75, 120
I know, O Lord, that Thy judgments are equity, and in Thy truth Thou hast humbled me : pierce Thou my flesh with Thy fear, I am afraid of Thy judgments. (Psalm 118) Blessed are the undefiled in the way : who walk in the law of the Lord. v. Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Ghost, as it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end. Amen. Repeat I know, O Lord…
O God, Who didst teach blessed Cuthburga to leave the pomp of the world for the humble following of Thy cross, grant that, through her merits and intercession, we may learn to trample under foot the perishable delights of the world and in the embrace of Thy cross to overcome all things that oppose us. Who livest and reignest, with God the Father, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, Forever and ever. R. Amen
Collect of the Souls
From all perils of soul and body defend us, O Lord, we beseech thee, and by the intercession of blessed and glorious ever Virgin Mary, Mother of God, of blessed Joseph, of thy blessed apostles Peter and Paul, and of blessed N. and all the Saints, graciously grant us safety and peace that all adversities and errors being overcome, thy Church may serve thee in security and freedom
for the Church
Mercifully hear the prayers of thy Church, we beseech thee, O Lord, that all adversities and errors being overcome, she may serve thee in security and freedom. Through Jesus Christ, thy Son our Lord, Who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end.
EPISTLE Wisdom 31: 10-31
Lesson from the Book of Wisdom. Who shall find a valiant woman? the price of her is as of things brought from afar off, and from the uttermost coasts. The heart of her husband trusteth in her, and he shall have no need of spoils. She will render him good and not evil all the days of her life. She hath sought wool and flax, and hath wrought by the counsel of her hands: she is like the merchant’s ship, she bringeth her bread from afar: and she hath risen in the night, and given a prey to her household, and victuals to her maidens: she hath considered a field and bought it; with the fruit of her hands she hath planted a vineyard. She hath girded her loins with strength, and hath strengthened her arm. She hath tasted and seen that her traffic is good; her lamp shall not be put out in the night. She hath put out her hands to strong things, and her fingers have taken hold of the spindle. She hath opened her hand to the needy, and stretched out her hands to the poor. She shall not fear for her house in the cold of snow: for all her domestics are clothed with double garments. She hath made for herself clothing of tapestry; fine linen and purple is her covering. Her husband is honorable in the gates, when he sitteth among the senators of the land. She made fine linen and sold it, and delivered a girdle to the Chanaanite. Strength and beauty are her clothing: and she shall laugh in the latter day. She hath opened her mouth to wisdom, and the law of clemency is on her tongue: she hath looked well to the paths of her house, and hath not eaten her bread idle. Her children rose up, and called her blessed; her husband, and he praised her. Many daughters have gathered together riches; thou hast surpassed them all. Favor is deceitful, and beauty is vain: the woman that feareth the Lord, she shall be praised. Give her of the fruit of her hands; and let her works praise her in the gates.
GRADUAL (Ps 9: 10,11,19, 20) TRACT (Ps 129: 1-4)
Grace is poured abroad in thy lips: therefore hath God blessed thee for ever. V. Because of truth, and meekness, and justice: and thy right hand shall conduct thee wonderfully.
Come, O spouse of Christ, receive the crown which the Lord hath prepared for thee for ever. V. Thou hast loved justice and hated iniquity: therefore God, thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows. V. With thy comeliness and thy beauty set out prosperously to reign.
GOSPEL St. Matthew 13: 44-52
At that time, Jesus spoke this parable to His disciples: “The kingdom of heaven is like unto a treasure hidden in a field; which a man having found, hid it, and for joy thereof goeth, and selleth all that he hath, and buyeth that field. Again, the kingdom of Heaven is like to a merchant seeking good pearls. Who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went his way and sold all that he had, and bought it. Again, the kingdom of Heaven is like to a net cast into the sea, and gathering together of all kinds of fishes; which, when it was filled, they drew out, and sitting by the shore, they chose out the good into vessels, but the bad they cast forth. So shall it be at the end of the world. The angels shall go out, and shall separate the wicked from among the just, and shall cast them into the furnace of fire; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Have ye understood all these things?” They say to Him, ‘Yes.’ He said unto them,”Therefore every scribe instructed in the kingdom of Heaven, is like to a man who is a householder, who bringeth forth out of his treasure new things and old.”
OFFERTORY ANTIPHON Psalm 44: 3
Grace is poured abroad in thy lips : therefore God hath blessed thee for ever and for ages of ages.
May the offerings of thy holy people be accepted by Thee, O Lord, in honor of Thy saints, through whose merits they know that they have received aid in time of trouble. Through our Lord Jesus Christ Thy Son our Lord, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, one God Forever and ever. R.Amen.
Of the souls
Hear us, O God, our salvation that through the power of this Sacrament thou mayest defend us from all enemies of soul and body and bestow upon us grace here and glory hereafter.
for the Church
Protect us, O Lord, who celebrate thy mysteries, that holding fast to divine things, we may serve thee with body and soul. Through Jesus Christ, thy Son our Lord, Who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end.
PREFACE of the Common
It is truly meet and just, right and for our salvation that we should at all times and in all places, give thanks unto Thee, O holy Lord, Father almighty, everlasting God: through Christ our Lord. Through Whom the Angels praise Thy Majesty, the Dominations worship it, the Powers stand in awe. The Heavens and the Heavenly hosts together with the blessed Seraphim in triumphant chorus unite to celebrate it. Together with them we entreat Thee, that Thou mayest bid our voices also to be admitted, while we say in lowly praise: HOLY, HOLY, HOLY…
COMMUNION ANTIPHON Psalm 44: 8
Thou hast loved injustice and hated iniquity : therefore God thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows.
Thou hast filled Thy household, O Lord, with sacred gifts; ever comfort us, we beseech Thee, by the intercession of the saint whose festival we celebrate. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Who livest and reignest, with God the Father, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, one God For ever and ever. R. Amen.
Of the souls
May the offering of this divine Sacrament cleanse and protect us, O Lord we beseech thee, and by the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God, of blessed Joseph, of thy blessed Apostles Peter and Paul, and of blessed N. and all the Saints, may it purify us from all sin, and free us from all adversity.
for the Church
We beseech thee, O Lord, our God, that thou permit not those, to whom thou hast given a participation of divine things to be subjected to human dangers. Through Jesus Christ, thy Son our Lord, Who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end.