*We highlight these Saints to inspire our students and contribute to their growth in Catholic education by fostering understanding and appreciation for Catholic values and teachings. We encourage parents to share the stories of these Saints with their children to deepen their spirituality and motivate them to live their faith with conviction, following the examples of these admired role models.*
Long ago in England, there was a king named St. Edward the Confessor. He ruled from 1042 to 1066. People thought he was great because he was very religious and wise. He loved God very much.
We have a special connection to St. Edward the Confessor because we have a school named after him! It’s called St. Edward the Confessor Catholic School, and it’s in Syosset, NY. He was such a good example of how to live a good life.
Edward was born in a place called Islip in England, around the year 1003. His dad was King Æthelred the Unready, and his mom was Queen Emma of Normandy. King Æthelred was a tough ruler who made people pay a lot of money (called Dangeld) to try to keep Vikings away from England. Edward’s family was important in both English and Norman families, and this influenced how Edward grew up.
During the turbulent period of Danish invasions and conquests in England, Edward and his family had to leave their home and live in Normandy with his mom’s family. In Normandy, Edward learned a lot about the Norman way of life and how they ran things. This would be important later when he became King of England. While he was in Normandy, Edward promised to stay unmarried, helped during church services, and became known for being very kind and good.
After King Harthacanute passed away in 1042, Edward came back to England from abroad. This marked the end of Danish rule in England. The English nobles picked Edward to be the new king because they liked him. They called him “Edward the Confessor” because he was really religious and supported the Church a lot.
Edward ruled England for nearly 24 years, presiding over a peaceful and stable period in English history. Edward’s devotion to Catholicism played a significant role in the growth of Christianity in England. For example, he vowed to go on a pilgrimage to visit St. Peter’s grave when he was in Normandy, but that would put his country in jeopardy. Instead, the Pope requested that he rebuild Westminster Abbey, and it became one of the most important religious centers in the country.
Edward also worked to make sure that justice was fair for everyone in England. He made improvements to the legal system so that the laws were applied fairly and consistently. Instead of taking too much money from people through taxes, he managed the country’s money well by using what he already had from his royal lands.
Edward was a good listener and made sure to listen to people’s complaints. He was fair when making decisions about what was right and wrong. He even started a tradition where he would touch people who had a disease called scrofula to try to help them get better. This tradition continued for almost 700 years.
Eventually, Edward married Edith of Wessex for political reasons, as long as she accepted his vow of chastity. When Edward passed away, he didn’t have anyone chosen to take his place. This caused a big problem called a “succession crisis.”
After St. Edward the Confessor passed away on January 5, 1066, a lot of important and uncertain things happened in England. This led to a big event called the Norman Conquest later that year, where a guy named William the Conqueror took control of England.
Edward’s piety and devotion to the Church earned him the title of “Saint” after his death, and he was canonized by the Catholic Church in 1161. He is known for his contribution to English culture, religion, and legal reforms, and his reign had a lasting impact on the development of England as a nation.
Today, St. Edward the Confessor’s tomb can be found in Westminster Abbey. His body still remains incorruptible, meaning it has never decomposed. He is known as one of England’s patron saints and a pivotal figure in its history.