May 7: St. John of Beverley
St. John of Beverley was the Bishop of Hexham, and later of York. He was born in Harpham, Yorkshire, and died in Beverley on May 7, 721.
As a youth, John manifested a strong desire to devote his life to God, and eventually left his native Yorkshire and traveled Kent where he studied at the famous ecclesiastical school of St. Theodore, archbishop of Canterbury.
He returned toYorkshire upon the completion of his studies, and joined a Benedictine monastery where he devoted himself to contemplation. He was called out of his monastic seclusion to be consecrated as bishop of Hexham in 687, a see he occupied for 18 years while still managing to devote time to contemplation and the study of Scripture.
With the death of St. Bosa, archbishop of York, John was transferred to York and served there until his retirement from ill health in 717. He spent his last four years in a monastery that he built at Beverley.
John was renowned for the miracles that he performed, both during his life and those that took place after his death. Most famously, he cured a young man who was dumb and had reportedly never spoken a word in his life, and obtained from him the ability to speak. He took the young man under his wing and patiently taught him the alphabet and the fundaments of the language.
After his death in 721, owing to the many miracles that occurred through his intercession, his burial site at Beverley became one of the most popular pilgrimage sites in England. He was canonized by Pope Benedict IX in 1037.
The renowned English mystic, Julian of Norwich, and the martyred bishop, St. John Fisher, who was from Beverley, had a great devotion to St. John.