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Feast of St. Oswald

After observing the anniversary of a famous Leap Day birthday, we should also note the anniversary of a Leap Day passing, that of St. Oswald. A nephew of the Archbishop of Canterbury, Oswald professed as a Benedictine monk during his studies in France, at the monastery of Fleury, where his uncle had also received the habit. Having gained a reputation as a founder and reformer of monasteries, he was raised to the episcopate, first as Bishop of Worcester and then Archbishop of York. St. Oswald did much to improve the state of monastic education, by bringing leading scholars from Fleury and other places to England.

Back in the cathedral of Worcester at the end of his life, he exemplified the Lenten practice of humility by washing the feet of twelve poor men, in imitation of Jesus at the Last Supper, on each day of Lent. In 992, on February 29, after kissing the feet of the twelfth man that day, St. Oswald died, with words of blessing on his lips. He is buried in the priory church of St. Mary in Worcester, which he had helped build.

In non-Leap years, St. Oswald's feast day can be observed on February 28.

(left) Page from the Ramsey Psalter (detail -- St. Oswald, center left)

(above) St. Oswald of Worcester, stained glass

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