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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