Lord God our King, who by the hand of thy servant Oswald didst lift up the standard of the cross in the land of Northumbria, that thy Gospel might be preached in that land: Plant, we beseech thee, the standard of the cross in our hearts, and let thy grace shine forth in our lives, that thereby many may be drawn to the knowledge and love of thee; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost, one God, now and ever.
(Polycarp, Letter to the Philippians)
Feast Day is February 28th
The last acts in the life of today's saint make for an amazing story. In truth, they merely underscore the holiness he exhibited throughout his life.
Born into a military family in 10th-century England, Oswald was a nephew of the archbishop of Canterbury, who raised him and played a crucial role in his early education. Oswald continued his studies abroad in France, where he became a Benedictine monk.
Following his appointment as bishop of Worcester, and later as archbishop of York, he founded monasteries and introduced many reforms. He supported—and improved—scholarship at the abbeys he established, inviting leading thinkers in such fields as mathematics and astronomy to share their learnings.
He was widely known for his sanctity, especially his love for the poor. The final winter of his life was spent at the cathedral in Worcester that he so loved. At the start of Lent in February of the year 992, he resumed his usual practice of washing the feet of 12 poor men each day. On Leap Year Day, February 29, he died after kissing the feet of the 12th man and giving a blessing.
The news of Oswald's death brought an outpouring of grief throughout the city.
from Saint of the Day Lives, Lessons and Feast, By Leonard Foley, O.F.M.; revised by Pat McCloskey, O.F.M.
Two Hearts – One Love