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Boisil, Saint

Religious superior, teacher of St. Cuthbert (d. 664)

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Boisil, Saint, superior of Melrose Abbey, d. 664. Almost all that is known of St. Boisil is learnt from Bede (Eccles. Hist., IV, xxvii, and Vita Cuthberti). He derived his information from Sigfrid, a monk of Jarrow, who had previously been trained by Boisil at Melrose. St. Boisil’s fame is mainly due to his connection with his great pupil, St. Cuthbert, but it is plain that the master was worthy of the disciple. Contemporaries were deeply impressed with Boisil’s supernatural intuitions. When Cuthbert presented himself at Melrose, Boisil exclaimed “Behold a servant of the Lord”, and he obtained leave from Abbot Eata to receive him into the community at once. When in the great pestilence of 664 Cuthbert was stricken down, Boisil declared he would certainly recover. Somewhat later Boisil himself, as he had foretold three years before, fell a victim to this terrible epidemic, but before the end came he predicted that Cuthbert would become a bishop and would effect great things for the Church. After his death Boisil appeared twice in a vision to his former disciple, Bishop Ecgberht. He is believed, on somewhat dubious authority, to have written certain theological works, but they have not been preserved. St. Boswell’s, Roxburghshire, commemorates his name. His relics, like those of St. Bede, were carried off to Durham in the eleventh century by the priest Aelfred. In the early Calendars his day is assigned to February 23, but the Bollandists treat of him on September 9.

HERBERT THURSTON


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