Richard was born A.D. 1197, in the little town of Wyche, eight miles from Worcester, England. He and his elder brother were left orphans when young, and Richard gave up the studies which he loved, to farm his brother’s impoverished estate. His brother, in gratitude for Richard’s successful care, proposed to make over to him all his lands; but he refused both the estates and the offer of a brilliant marriage, to study for the priesthood at Oxford.
In 1135 he was appointed, for his learning and piety, chancellor of that University, and afterward by St. Edmund of Canterbury, chancellor of his diocese. He stood by that Saint in his long contest with the King, and accompanied him into exile. After St. Edmund’s death, Richard returned to England to toil as a simple curate, but was soon elected Bishop of Chichester .
Young and old loved St. Richard. He gave all he had, and worked miracles, to feed the poor and heal the sick; but when the rights or purity of the Church were concerned, he was inexorable. A priest of noble blood polluted his office by sin; Richard deprived him of his benefice, and refused the King’s petition in his favor. On the other hand, when a knight violently put a priest in prison, Richard compelled the knight to walk round the priest’s church with the same log of wood on his neck to which he had chained the priest.
Richard died A.D. 1253.
Reflection. — As a brother, as chancellor, and as bishop, St. Richard faithfully performed each duty of his state without a thought of his own interests. Neglect of duty is the first sign of that self-love which ends with the loss of grace.
Illustration and text from Pictorial Lives of the Saints With Reflections for Every Day in the Year (New York: Benziger Bros., 1922).