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Saint Richard the Pilgrim

Saint Richard the Pilgrim
  • Century: 7th Century
  • Patronage: -
  • Feast Day: February 7th

St. Richard is known as, St. Richard the Pilgrim, St. Richard of Wessex, St. Richard the King, St. Richard the Saxon, and St. Richard of Swabia.  He is a saint in the Catholic Church, and his feast day is celebrated on February 7th.  He was born in Wessex, England.   Richard had many saints in his family, his brother-in-law was St. Boniface the Archbishop of Mainz; he was the father of St. Willibald the Bishop of Eichstatt and St. Winnebald the Abbot of Heidenheim; and St. Walburga the Abbess of Heidenheim.  His wife was Wuna, and they had the three children.  He founded the Shrine of St. Walburga’s at Eichstatt.  Through prayer, he aided his three-year-old son to recover from being gravely ill.  

St. Richard renounced his Royal Estate and set sail with his two sons from Hamblehaven, near Southampton, around 721.  They landed in France and stayed briefly in Rouen, before setting off on the pilgrimage route to Rome, Italy.  They prayed at most of the Shrines situated along the way.  He later fell ill with a fever and died in Lucca, Tuscany.  He was buried in the Church of San Frediano, which was founded by the Irish Monk Frigidian.  Miracles were reported to have occurred by his tomb and veneration started soon after his death.  

The people of Lucca started the accounts of his life, describing him as an English Prince.  Another apocryphal story described him as the Duke of Swabia, in Germany.  St. Richard’s niece, a Nun called Hugeburc, wrote an account of the pilgrimage, which Willibald had continued until he reached the Holy Land.  Historians date the text between 761 and 786.  Eventually St. Willibald his son had some of his relics moved to Eichstatt, where St. Willibald eventually became Bishop.  

Practical Take Away 

St. Richard was born in Wessex, England and denounced his Royal Estate to set sail with his two sons to Rome.  They visited most of the Shrines along the way, as they made their Pilgrimage.  He died on that trip, and was buried in the Church of San Frediano.  Miracles were reported to have occurred at his tomb soon after his death.  He is the father of Saints Willibald, Winnebald and Walburga.  His brother-in-law was St. Boniface.