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Cuthbert and the Mystery Guest : A young monk was rewarded for taking his duties as guest-master seriously.
Cuthbert and the Mystery Guest

Based on The Life of St Cuthbert by St Bede of Jarrow (672-735).

In about 658, Abbot Eata sent Cuthbert from Melrose Abbey away south to Ripon, to be the guest-master in a new monastery there. It was while he was at Ripon that Cuthbert had a remarkable experience which left him trembling with excitement and fear.

SNOW was falling one chilly winter’s morning, when Cuthbert found a footsore traveller in the guest-house. He made sure his visitor was dry and warm, and suggested breakfast. His guest, it seemed, was from some distant place, and eager to be gone, but Cuthbert insisted.

As there was no fresh bread, he went to see if the morning’s batch was ready. On his return – apparently disappointed – he found the guest-house empty. That puzzled him, as the footprints in the snow were all his own. Shrugging the mystery off, Cuthbert cleared away the dishes.

He was just leaving when he noticed a delicious aroma, with a hint of honey, which proved to be rising from three loaves of hot, white bread, set by the door.

His first thought was that if he could make bread like that, he would call himself a baker.

His second was that the guest who made no footprints had left them, and that he had been entertaining angels unawares.*

* See Hebrews 13:3 - ‘Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.’

Based on The Life of St Cuthbert by St Bede of Jarrow (672-735).

More like this

Saint Bede of Jarrow (19) Lives of the Saints (94) History (393) St Cuthbert of Lindisfarne (13) Northumbrian Enlightenment (30) Northumberland (26) Bible and Saints (109)

Picture: © Richard Croft, Geograph. Licence: CC BY-SA 2.0. View original
The mediaeval kitchen at Gainsborough Old Hall in Lincolnshire, roughly midway between Doncaster and Lincoln.
Based on the account by Reginald of Durham
(12th century)
Based on an account by Saint Bede of Jarrow

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