Today is the feast day of Aelred of Rievaulx (1110-1167), An English writer and monk of Northumbrian background. After he became the first abbott at the Rievaulx abbey in Lincolnshire, the abbey grew considerably under his leadership. He was also involved in political negotiations and in writing books like "The Mirror of Charity" and "On Spiritual Friendship," as well as histories. Evidence suggests that he was a homosexual; his own writings emphasize vows of virginity and chastity outside of marriage. Gay-affirming groups such as Integrity (in the Episcopal Church) and the Order of St. Aelred in the Philippines look to Aelred as patron saint. Here is an essay about Aelred's theology of friendship.