king to monk

Feast of All Saints of Lincolnshire, England.
A number of the many saints of Lincolnshire commemorated on this day are ancestors in my family’s genealogical tree.

Saint Offa of Essex (688-709), generation 44 grandfather.
Offa was the son of Queen Saint Osyth and King Sighere of Essex (East Saxons, England). After Sighere’s death, Saint Osyth retired to a convent, and Offa became king. In 709, at age 18 or 19, he abdicated the throne, leaving his infant daughter to his mother’s care, in order to become a monk. He made a pilgrimage to Rome together with Cenred the abdicated King of Mercia, that they may both receive the monastic tonsure from the Pope. They retired to a monastery in Rome and Offa died the same year. His contemporary, St Bede the historian, wrote of Offa that “he was a youth of most lovely age and beauty, and most earnestly desired by all his nation to be their king.” Saint Offa and his mother Saint Osyth, like so many of my saintly ancestors, found the life of a monk or nun, sometimes that of a hermit, more appealing than the political and military life of a ruler.

gen 45 St Osyth+King Sighere of Essex
gen 44 King St Offa Of Essex+Koneswitha of Mercia
gen 43 Elfrida of Essex+King Ceolwulf I of Mercia
gen 42 King Esne of Mercia+Cyrefirth
gen 41 King Wiglaf of Mercia+Princess Cynefrith
gen 40 King Wigmund of Mercia+Elfleda
gen 39 King Ethelred Mucel of Mercia+Edburga
gen 38 St Ealhswith of Mercia+King St Alfred the Great


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