Wulfstan spent most of his life in the cathedral monastery of Worcester, where he was respected for his humility, asceticism, charity, and courage. He accepted the episcopate with extreme reluctance, but having resigned himself to it, he administered the diocese with great effectiveness.
Even though Wulfstan (1009-1095) had been sympathetic to King Harold of Wessex, he was among those who submitted to William of Conqueror in 1066. He therefore was allowed to retain his see. At first, the Normans tended to disparage him for his lack of learning and his inability to speak French, but he became one of William’s most trusted advisers and administrators. William came to respect a loyalty based on principle and not on self-seeking. Archbishop Lanfranc also recognized the strength of Wulfstan’s character, and the two men worked together to end the practice at Bristol of kidnaping Englishmen and selling them as slaves in Ireland.
Because he was the most respected prelate of the Anglo-Saxon Church, Wulfstan’s profession of canonical obedience to William the Conqueror’s Archbishop of Canterbury, Lanfranc, proved to be a key factor in the transition from Anglo-Saxon to Anglo-Norman Christianity. William’s policy, however, was to appoint his own fellow-Normans to the English episcopate, and by the time of William’s death, in 1087, Wulfstan was the only English-born bishop still living
Our Father in heaven,
We thank You for the model of humility of Wulfstan and implore You to raise up clerics throughout the Church of England who seek Your face, rather than self-interest. We particularly ask You to bless the clergy of the Diocese of Worcester and their bishops, John Inge and David Walker. Amen.
Hat tip: SF