After studying at Oxford, Paris, and Bologna, and receiving a doctorate in law, Richard (1197-1253) returned to Oxford to become University Chancellor. Shortly afterward, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Edmund Rich, appointed him to be his own chancellor. The friendship between the primate and his young assistant was close. When conflict with King Henry the Third eventually forced Archbishop Rich into exile in France, Richard accompanied him and nursed him in his final illness. After the Archbishop’s death, Richard moved to the Dominican house at Orleans for further study and teaching. He was ordained priest in 1243.
Richard returned to England and was elected Bishop of Chichester in 1244. King Henry opposed the election, confiscated all the revenues of the diocese, and even locked Richard out of the episcopal dwelling. During these years, he functioned as a missionary bishop, traveling about the diocese on foot, visiting fishermen and farmers, holding synods with great difficulty, and endeavoring to establish order. Threatened by the Pope, Henry finally acknowledged Richard as Bishop in 1246.
For eight years, he served his diocese as preacher, confessor, teacher, and counselor. Nine years after his death, he was canonized. His shrine in Chichester Cathedral, where many cures are said to have been wrought, was destroyed by order of Henry VIII in 1538.
Richard is widely remembered today for the popular prayer ascribed to him
Thanks be to Thee, my Lord Jesus Christ
For all the benefits Thou hast given me,
For all the pains and insults Thou hast borne for me.
O most merciful Redeemer, friend and brother,
May I know Thee more clearly,
Love Thee more dearly,
Follow Thee more nearly