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St Wilfrid and the Sheriff’s Wife : St Wilfrid brings healing to the wife of his own gaoler.
St Wilfrid and the Sheriff’s Wife

Based on the ‘Life of St Wilfrid’ by Stephen of Ripon (early 8th century).

Having fallen foul of Ecgfrith, King of Northumbria, in 680 Wilfrid found himself in prison, and under very unpleasant conditions. His gaoler was the King’s sheriff, Osfrith.

THE King’s sheriff, Osfrith, was a married man. One day, his wife suddenly fell ill. First, she experienced a growing stiffness, which in time became a complete numbness in all her limbs. The sheriff found her cold to the touch, and flecks of foam appeared round her mouth.

The frightened sheriff could think of nothing else but the holy man kept under his guard. Like the centurion who long ago ran to Jesus,* he ran to the Bishop and begged him to come to his dying wife’s aid.

Wilfrid mildly followed his captor to his house.

The Bishop blessed some water, and sprinkled a little of it over the lady’s face, and onto her dry lips. After a few tense minutes of this, his patient began to breathe deeply.

She opened her eyes. Soon warmth and movement returned to her limbs, and like Peter’s mother-in-law, she got up and busied herself about the house.**

* See Matthew 8:5-13.

** See Matthew 8:14-15.

Based on the ‘Life of St Wilfrid’ by Stephen of Ripon (early 8th century).

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Picture: © Klearchos Kapoutsis, Wikimedia Commons. Licence: CC-BY-SA 2.0. View original
Blessing the waters on the Feast of the Theophany (Epiphany) at the Monastery of Elias, Santorini, Greece.
Based on an account by Stephen of Ripon
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