Nothing much is known about her early years but in around AD 647 she decided to answer the call of St. Aidan, Bishop of Lindisfarne, to return to Northumbria and live as a nun. In AD 657 Hilda became the founding abbess of a new monastery at Whitby (then known as Streonshalh); she remained there until her death.
In 867 the abbey fell to Viking attack and was abandoned. In 1078 the abbey was re-established and it lasted until it was partially destroyed by Henry VIII in 1540. The abbey buildings fell into ruins but still remain a prominent landmark, although in 1914 two German cruisers demolished part of the Western Arch. The ruins of St Hilda’s abbey are occasionally seen in the background during the TV series Heartbeat which is filmed in that area.
Prayer – St Hilda
O God, whose blessed Son became poor that we through his poverty might be rich: deliver us from an inordinate love of this world, that, following the example of your servant Hilda, we may serve you with singleness of heart, and attain to the riches of the world to come; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.