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Blessed Richard Rolle of Hampole

(1290-1349 A.D.)


Richard comes from an Old French word meaning “strong ruler.” Rolle comes from an old German name that means “famous wolf.” Hampole is a small English village.


Suppose you just don’t fit in with society. Can you be a saint? You can, according to the example of Blessed Richard Rolle from Hampole near West Yorkshire, England. Richard was so kind and good that people declared him to be saint when he died.

Richard was born almost 1300 years after Jesus. His birthplace was the English town Thornton in Yorkshire, England. Like most people of his time, Richard didn’t know the day he was born or even the exact year. Those details didn’t matter then. What mattered was caring for yourself and others and trying to be good.

Richard must have come from a wealthy family because he was educated at schools in Paris and Oxford. However, the more he studied, the more he desired simplicity, prayer, and being alone. So, after six years of study in these busy, noisy cities, Richard asked a friend if he might live a quiet life as a hermit on his friend’s estate. Perhaps his friend was a bit puzzled by such a request, but he respected Richard and granted his wish. After several years of intense prayer and contemplation in quiet solitude, Richard felt the Holy Spirit calling him to wander, preach, pray, and write.

Obedient to this prompting, Richard began walking and ministering to others as he went. He found many interesting people and places that helped him see God at work in the world.

When he arrived at the town of Hampole, Richard met a group of Cistercian nuns who lived there and who seemed to need his insights and spiritual guidance. So, he stayed nearby and assisted them with his gentle guidance and practical help. He also continued his writing. The nuns began to share his written messages with others. In time, Richard became well known. However, he never wished that to be well known. He wanted God to be the One people were seeking.  

Richard wrote letters. He wrote his thoughts on Scripture passages. He wrote articles on how to become a better and more faith filled person. He even wrote a poem. After Richard’s death, people still shared his writings. They prayed to him at the place where he was buried. People claimed that miracles happened there.

Blessed Richard, pray that we, too, may use our talents in following God’s Will for our lives.

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