St. Brigid of Ireland

Everything that St. Brigid would ask of God was granted her at once. For this was her desire: to satisfy the poor, to expel every hardship, to spare every miserable man. Now there never hath been anyone more bashful or more modest or more gentle or more humble or more dsicerning and more harmonious that St. Brigid. In the sight of other people she never washed her hands or her feet or head. She never looked at the face of man. She never spoke without blushing. She was abstemious, innocent, prayerful, patient: and she was glad in God's Commandments; she was firm yet forgiving and loving; she was a cinsecrated casket for keeping Christ's Sacred Body and His Precious Blood; she was a temple of God. Her heart and her mind were a throne of rest for the Holy Ghost, and she was single-hearted towards God; so compassionate towards the wretched and splendid in miracles and marvels that her name among created things is Dove among the bird, Vine among trees, Sun among stars . . . she is the prophetess of Christ, the Queen of the South and she is the Mary of Gael or Ireland . . .

--------------A writer in the "Leabhar Breac"

So strong was the respect and reverence for this holy lady that she became the patroness of parishes, towns, and counties, not only in Ireland, but all across Europe. During the age of Chivalry, she was so revered as a model for women of every age, that gentlemen, knights, and nobles began the custom of calling their sweethearts, their Brides-----a custom that has come down to this very day.

Not only was St. Bridget a patroness of students, but she also founded a school of art, including metal work and illumination, over which St. Conleth presided. From the Kildare scriptorium came the wondrous book of the Gospels, which elicited unbounded praise from Giraldus Cambrensis, but which has disappeared since the Reformation. According to this twelfth- century ecclesiastic, nothing that he had ever seen was at all comparable to the "Book of Kildare", every page of which was gorgeously illuminated, and he concludes a most laudatory notice by saying that the interlaced work and the harmony of the colours left the impression that "all this is the work of angelic, and not human skill". Small wonder that Gerald Barry assumed the book to have been written night after night as St. Bridget prayed, "an Angel furnishing the designs, the scribe copying". Even allowing for the exaggerated stories told of St. Brigid by her numerous biographers, it is certain that she ranks as one of the most remarkable Irishwomen of the fifth century and as the Patroness of Ireland. St. Brigid died leaving a cathedral city and school that became famous all over Europe.

She was a convert from the Druid pagan religion and her Feast Day is February 1.

St. Brigid, please pray for us.



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