Celebration of the Feast of Saint Mildred
The 13th of July is always a very special day for us. It is the feast of Saint Mildred, the patron saint of our monastery and also patron saint of the Thanet Deanery.
Saint Mildred, was the daughter of the Foundress of Minster, Saint Domneva. She joined her mother’s community around 690AD and became the second abbess after Domneva’s death. Mildred died about 725AD. Many stories of St. Mildred’s life and of the miracles attributed to her intercession after her death are recorded. Countless pilgrims came to visit her shrine here at Minster. After the devastation caused by the Vikings, the monastery was rebuilt in the early 11th century by the monks of St Augustine’s Abbey in Canterbury. The monks decided to translate St. Mildred’s relics to the main monastery.
It seemed that with the Dissolution of the monasteries during the Reformation these relics, with so many others, were lost or destroyed. However, in the 19th century well authenticated relics of Saint Mildred were found at Deventer in the Netherlands, at the shrine of Saint Lebuin. A part of these relics was returned to Minster when our monastic community was founded here in 1937, and her feast has been kept with an annual Pilgrimage and Deanery Mass in St. Mildred’s honour on the 13th of July.
Saint Mildred continues to be a powerful intercessor for those in need. In recent years her shrine in the abbey chapel has often been visited by pilgrims walking the ‘Augustine Camino’.
This year we invited Father Mark White CP, the superior of the Passionist Community in Herne Bay, to be the chief celebrant for the Mass in honour of Saint Mildred. He was joined by priests of the Thanet Deanery, and Oblates, parishioners, friends and pilgrims joined us in the abbey chapel. Father Mark’s beautiful homily is reproduced here by kind permission.
After the Mass the Community with all those who had taken part in the celebration adjourned to Parkminster next door where ‘Looking Ahead’ served us a delicious lunch.