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Legatus Magazine

Cover Story
Brian Fraga | author
May 12, 2017
Filed under Saints
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Saint Dunstan (909-988)

Feast Day: May 19
Canonization: 1029

One of the most famous English saints before Thomas Becket, Dunstan, abbot of Glastonbury Abbey who later became the archbishop of Canterbury, was born in the 10th century in Baltonsborough, Somerset. As a young boy, he studied under Irish monks who occupied the ruins of Glastonbury Abbey. After spending time in the court of King Athelstan, Dunstan took Holy Orders in 943, and lived as a hermit at Glastonbury. He was appointed abbot under the reign of King Edmund, but was later exiled to Flanders for a year after rebuking King Edwy for sexual immorality.

During the reign of King Edgar the Peaceful, Dunstan became the king’s chief advisor, and was subsequently made bishop of Worcester in 957 and archbishop of Canterbury in 961. Pope John XII also appointed Dunstan as papal legate to England.

Dunstan helped restore monastic life and reform the Church. He died on May 19, 988, was buried at Canterbury, and canonized in 1029. He’s patron saint of English goldsmiths and silversmiths. His feast is May 19.

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