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February 1

St Brigid of Ireland_by_Patrick_Joseph_Tuohy - February 1

Saint Brigid of Ireland

Nun, Abbess

Patroness of Ireland

(Around 453 – Around 523)

I would like the angels of Heaven to be among us.
I would like an abundance of peace.
I would like full vessels of charity.
I would like rich treasures of mercy.
I would like cheerfulness to preside over all.
I would like Jesus to be present.
I would like the three Marys of illustrious renown to be with us.
I would like the friends of Heaven to be gathered around us from all parts.
I would like myself to be a rent payer to the Lord; that I should suffer distress, that he would bestow a good blessing upon me.
I would like a great lake of beer for the King of Kings.
I would like to be watching Heaven’s family drinking it through all eternity.

Saint Brigid of Ireland

Saint’s Life Story

Born of Wedlock 

Saint Brigid of Ireland was said to have been born around 453 in the 5th century in Faughart in County Louth, Ireland. Her mother was said to be a slave named Brocca, who had been baptized by Saint Patrick. Her father was a pagan nobleman and chieftain of Leinster named Dubhthach. When Dubhthach’s wife found out that Brocca was carrying her husband’schild, she sold Brocca to a Chieftain in Connaught and Brigid was given to a Druid to be raised and educated.

Her Early Life

As a child, Brigid vomited when the Druid tried to feed her. She was nourished solely by the milk of a white cow with red ears. During her life, Brigid performed many miracles, including healing and feeding the poor. According to one story, she once gave away her mother’s entire store of butter to the poor. The butter was then miraculously replaced in answer to Brigid’s prayers.

Returned Back Home

At the age of ten, Brigid was returned as a household slave to her father, where her charitable and generous nature caused her to donate his possessions to anyone who asked. When Dubtach protested, she replied that “Christ dwelt in every creature”. Dubthach was so angry with her that he took her in a chariot to the king of Leinster to sell her. However, while Dubthach was speaking to the king, Brigid gave away his jeweled sword to a beggar to exchange it for food to feed his family. The King, a Christian, forbade Dubtach to strike her, saying “Her merit before God is greater than ours”. Dubtach solved this domestic problem by giving Brigid her freedom. 

Gave Away Dairy Produce

Brigid’s mother, who was older, was in charge of her master’s dairy. Brigid took charge of the dairy and often gave away the produce. But the dairy prospered under her (so that is why Brigid is the patron of dairy workers).

Refused To Be Married

So then Brigid returned to her father, who arranged a marriage for her with a young bard. Bride refused, and to keep her virginity, went to her Bishop, Saint Mel of Ardagh, and took her first vows. Legend says that she prayed that her beauty be taken from her so no one would seek her hand in marriage; her prayer was granted, and she regained her beauty only aftermaking her vows. Another tale says that when Saint Patrick heard her final vows, he mistakenly used the form for ordaining priests. When told of it he replied, “So be it, my son, she is destined for great things.”

Regardless of the accounts, Brigid was said to have received her veil of chastity from the Church. She made a vow of piety, chastity, and poverty for the rest of her life. She spent her time preaching and praying.

Founded Double Monastery and Abbess

St Brigid of Ireland's Monastery
St Brigid of Ireland’s Monastery

Around 480, Brigid founded a monastery at Kildare, “Church of the Oak”, on the site of an older pagan shrine to the Celtic goddess Brigid. The site chosen was under a large oak tree. With a group of seven companions, Brigid founded the first consecrated religious order for women in Ireland. Along the Liffey Rivier , she invented the double monastery, one for men and the other for women. She invited Conleth, a hermit, to assist her in Kildare as spiritual pastor. Saint Conleth subsequently became the Bishop of Kildare. Thus, for centuries, Kildare was ruled by a double line of abbot-bishops and of abbesses, with the Abbess of Kildare serving as superior general of the monasteries in Ireland. This connection and the installation of a bell that lasted over 1000 years apparently led to her patronage of blacksmiths.

Her Works

Brigid was a great traveller, especially considering the conditions of the time, which led to her patronage of travellers. Brigid’s wisdom and generosity became legend. People traveled from all over the country to share her wisdom as abbess. She spent the rest of her life planting churches and winning souls through her teachings. Throughout the rest of her life, she established several monasteries across Ireland. Brigid rooted her  life as a nun in prayer, but she also performed substantial manual labor: cloth making, dairy farming, and raising sheep.

Legends of Her Miracles

Many miracles have been attributed to St. Brigid that involve physical healing, including healing a nun called Dara of blindness. Another example was when Brigid was travelling to see a physician for her headache. She stayed at the house of a couple who had two mute daughters. The daughters were travelling with Brigid when her horse startled, causing her to fall off and injure her head on a rock. When the girls touched her bloodied wound, they were both healed.

Her Death

Brigid continued her holy and charitable work until her death around 525 AD in Kildare, Ireland. She was laid to rest in a jeweled casket on the right-handside of the Kildare Cathedral church altar. This spot became a popular place for a pilgrimage. er relics were transferred to Downpatrick, Ireland in 878, where they were interred with those relics of Saint Patrick and Saint Columba. However, some accounts note that her head was moved to a Jesuit Church in Lisbon, Portugal.

On February 1, the feast of St. Brigid, Ireland’s female patron saint, is now a national public holiday in Ireland, the first public holiday for a female.

Born:                   Around 453 in Faughart, County Louth, Ireland

Died:                   Around 525 in Kildare, Ireland

Beatified:           Pre-Congregation

Canonized:        Pre-Congregation

Feast Day:         February 1

Patron Saint:    Blacksmiths; Children Whose Parents Were Not Married; Dairy Workers; Diocese of Kildare, Ireland; Healers; Ireland; Midwives; Nuns; Poets; Travellers

Source:

Reflection

Saint Brigid was known for her kindness and compassion in all she did. From giving away her mother’s butter to the poor, that was replenished through her prayers to giving away her father’s sword to a beggar to sell to feed his family, Saint Brigid never stopped her charitable works. As Saoint Brigid stated “Is it not Christ Himself we help when we help His poor?” 

Do you show the poor and suffering kindness and compassion, or are you scared away by a situation that you are unfamiliar with? Ask for God’s help to always assist those who need help, especially during difficult situations.

Prayers

Prayer of St. Brigid of Ireland

St. Brigid,
You were a woman of peace.
You brought harmony where there was conflict.
You brought light to the darkness.
You brought hope to the downcast.

May the mantle of your peace cover those who are troubled and anxious,
And may peace be firmly rooted in our hearts and in our world.
Inspire us to act justly and to reverence all God has made.

Brigid you were a voice for the wounded and the weary.
Strengthen what is weak within us.
Calm us into a quietness that heals and listens.
May we grow each day into greater wholeness in mind, body and spirit.
Amen.

Saint Brigid of Ireland, pray for us. Amen.

Source: St. Brigid of Ireland: Healer and Miracle Worker (catholicfire.blogspot.com)

Saint Links 

Aleteia – The spiritual meaning behind St. Brigid’s cross

All Saints & Martyrs – Saint Brigid of Ireland – Abbess & Patroness of Ireland

AnaStpaul – Saint of the Day – St Brigid of Ireland/Kildare (c 453-523)

Angelus – Saint of the day: Brigid of Ireland

A Reason2BCatholic – Saints Alive! | St Brigid of Ireland

Catholic Culture  – St. Brigit: The Mary of the Gail by Hugh de Blacam

Catholic Exchange – St. Brigid of Ireland: Fearless Mercy by Sean Fitzpatric

Catholic Fire – St. Brigid of Ireland: Healer and Miracle Worker

Catholic Ireland – Feb 1 – St Brigid 452-524 AD – Miracle Worker

Catholic News Agency – St. Brigid of Ireland Feast Day: Feb 01

Catholic Online – St. Brigid of Ireland

CatholicSaints.Info – Saint Brigid of Ireland

CatholicSaints.Info – Amy Steedman – Saint Bridget of Ireland

Independent Catholic News – St Brigid of Ireland

Loyola Press – Saint Brigid Feast Day February 1

New Advent – Grattan-Flood, W. (1907). St. Brigid of Ireland. In The Catholic Encyclopedia

Newman Ministry – Saint Brigid of Kildare

Saints, Feast, Family – The Feast of St. Brigid, also known as Imbolc

Saint Mary’s Press – Saint Brigid of Ireland (c.452-524)

Saint of the Day – February 1 Saint Brigid of Ireland

Sanctoral – Saint Bridgid Abbess and Patroness of Ireland

uCatholic – Saint Brigid of Ireland

WikipediaBrigid of Kildare

Video Links

St. Brigid of Ireland – YouTube Video (Catholic Online)