Bede the Venerable

The Venerable Bede translates John 1902

Feast Day: May 25
Canonized: 1899

Bede, or Venerable Bede as he is sometimes called, lived from about the year 673 until 735 in England. But his writings were so great that people still study them today.

He was born very close to the monastery in Northumberland where he spent much of his life. His name comes from the Old English word for prayer, so it is possible that his parents always intended for him to enter a monastery. He was sent there at the age of seven to be educated.

He was ordained a deacon at an earlier age than normally allowed, which possibly means he was an excellent student. When he was about 30 years old, he was ordained a priest. He was a teacher and a writer of scientific, historical, and religious works. Many modern historians still study his writing.

In 1899, Pope Leo XIII named Bede a Doctor of the Church because of his contributions to theological writing. Both the Catholic Church and the Anglican Church consider him to be a saint.

Pope Francis’ episcopal motto, “because he saw him through the eyes of mercy and chose him,” is based on a homily by Saint Bede. The homily looks at the Gospel of Matthew in which Jesus saw the tax collector, Matthew, sitting at a customs post and said to him, “Follow me.”