LIFE OF ST. HERBERT
Herbert, an Anglo-Saxon saint, who, during the seventh century, lived the life of a hermit on a small island in the middle of Derwentwater in the English Lake District. The island still bears his name today and a wall plaque, which outlines his life, is to be found in the narthex of our church. The life of St. Herbert is recorded in Book IV, Chapter 29 of St. Bede's "Ecclesiastical History of the English People".
He was a close friend of St. Cuthbert, who was The Bishop of Lindisfarne, or Holy Island, which lies off the coast of Northumberland. It was at the request of St. Cuthbert that St. Herbert took up the Christian vocation of living alone and serving God in Prayer.
Their friendship continued to grow and they met once a year to pray together and to discuss matters of eternal salvation. At one such meeting, at Carlisle, St. Cuthbert told of his impending death: "Brother Herbert, remember that whatever you wish to ask or tell me, you must do so before we part, as we shall not see one another again in this world. For I know that the day of my death is approaching and that I shall soon leave this earthly dwelling." At these words the other fell at his feet with sighs and tears, saying "In the name of Our Lord, I beg you not to leave me! Remember that I am your most devoted friend and ask God of his mercy to grant that, as we have served Him together on earth, so may we pass away to the heavenly vision together."
This wish was granted and St. Herbert, after a long ilness, died on the same day as the Holy Bishop, the twentieth day of March A.D. 687.
In 1374, The Bishop of Carlisle, Thomas de Appleby, issued a mandate that pilgrimages shou;d be made to the Holy Island of St. Herbert once a year. Since 1983 pilgrimages have been made from Chadderton to Cumbria, with our own parishioners joining priests and people from Churches in the Lake District in crossing Derwentwater and concelebrating a Mass on St. Herbert's Island.
In 1984 the medieval mould from which the pilgrim crosses were fashioned was rediscovered and the pilgrims could once again wear this badge. Not only does it recall the pilgrims of the fourteenth century, but it also symbolises that period, 1300 years ago, during the early days of Christian Faith, when the Patron Saint of our parish lived on the island and found eternal life in the service of Jesus Christ.
Each year, in March, Fr. McKie arranges a Day Pilgrimage to St. Herbert's Island, Derwentwater. It really is worth a visit and if you would like a relaxing day out then this is definitely for you.