A sister of Oswald (see August 5th) and Oswy, kings of Northumbria, Ebba probably married into the royal house of Wessex. She was widowed and returned to Northumbria, where she became a nun. She was consecrated by Aidan (see August 31st) and lived at the monastery at Ebchester near Newcastle.

Later she became the founder and abbess of a double monastery at Coldingham, situated on what is now St. Abb’s Head, which was subsequently named after her. The land was given to her by her brother Oswy as an offering which he hoped would help to atone for his murder of  Oswin (see August 20th). She ruled there for thirty years, but not very strictly; so when the abbey burned down soon after her death in 683 it was seen as a judgement on the prayerlessness of the remaining nuns and brothers. Nevertheless, Ebba is described by Bede (see May 26th) as ‘a pious woman, and a handmaid of Christ’.

My Saviour, sometimes it is hard for me to be everything that You would wish me to be. I falter and fail, and often for good reasons, because I want to be compassionate to all. I continually need to seek Your forgiveness, and to remember that, in spite of my failings, You can achieve great things through me. Thank You, Lord. Amen.