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In the 750s, Saint Lebwin needed to make a decision: stay in his native England and its familiarity or sail to a foreign land and preach to a possibly hostile audience.

His hagiography says God called Lebwin to be a missionary, but Lebwin hesitated. He might have known about Saint Boniface’s martyrdom in Frisia. Perhaps, Lebwin admired Boniface for his faith and bravery, and believed Boniface was assured his place in heaven. But Lebwin might not have wanted to meet his end that way.

Medieval people were afraid death like the rest of us.  Maybe even more so, because the priests’ sermons often included eternal punishment for those who disobeyed. Or suffering for a while in Purgatory. Fear for the fate of his soul might have motivated Lebwin the third time God admonished him to go to the Continent.

Once he left home, Lebwin remained committed to his mission, despite the dangers. For more about him, see my post on English Historical Fiction Authors.

Saint Lebwin

An illustration of Lebwin by Frederick Bloemaert, between 1635 and 1650 (public domain via Wikimedia Commons)

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