Saint Brigid


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Brigid of Kildare is the secondary patron saint of Ireland and the most prominent female saint of my ancestral land. Thus it was natural for my older sister to take Brigid as her confirmation name. The one thing I know about Brigid is that a unique cross is named for her. My sister had one of these hanging on her bedroom wall when we were growing up.

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There is an informative article about the history and signifigance of St. Brigid’s Cross at the Cross & Crucifix.

But what of Brigid herself?

Few verifiable facts are known about Brigid who was born around 452 in Ireland. She is the only one of the three patrons of Ireland (along with Patrick and Columba) actually born in the country. She came from a royal family although many accounts state that her mother was a slave and some that Brigid herself was a slave of her father. At a young age she heard Patrick preach — perhaps was even converted by Patrick — and gained a great devotion to the poor. This manifested itself in her giving away her father Dubtach’s valuables, much to his disappointment.

Dubtach tried to marry Brigid off, but she was resistant, and according to one legend praying to lose her beauty until she could take her vows as a nun. She was seen as a saint in her own lifetime and founded convents across Ireland including the Abbey of Kildare, a center of education and spirituality for both women and men. Brigid’s feast day is considered the traditional first day of spring in Ireland. Tis confused me when a priest mentioned it at a Mass I attended in Galway in 1998, because Feb. 1 is far too early for spring. Perhaps Bridgid shares a spiritual kinship with the groundhog?

Appropriate to the patroness of the Island of Saints and Scholars, Brigid is also the patron saint of scholars.

More on Saint Brigid at Catholic Encyclopedia, Saint of the Day, and Ireland’s Eye.

One thought on “Saint Brigid

  1. St. Brigid’s Prayer:

    I’d like to give a lake of beer to God.
    I’d love the Heavenly
    Host to be tippling there
    For all eternity.

    I’d love the men of Heaven to live with me,
    To dance and sing.
    If they wanted, I’d put at their disposal
    Vats of suffering.

    White cups of love I”d give them,
    With a heart and a half;
    Sweet pitchers of mercy I’d offer
    To every man.

    I’d make Heaven a cheerful spot,
    Because the happy heart is true.
    I’d make the men contented for their own sake
    I’d like Jesus to love me too.

    I’d like the people of heaven to gather
    From all the parishes around,
    I’d give a special welcome to the women,
    The three Marys of great renown.

    I’d sit with the men, the women of God
    There by the lake of beer
    We’d be drinking good health forever
    And every drop would be a prayer.

    Like

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