> Commemoration: St Bridget of Kildare

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Tuesday February 1, 2022 All Day
Annually on February 1

St Bridget of Kildare,

Abbess

d. 1 February 523


Prayers:

Everliving God, we rejoice today in the fellowship of your Blessed servant Brigid, and we give you thanks for her life of devoted service. Inspire us with life and light, and give us perseverance to serve you all our days; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, world without end. Amen.

O God, whose blessed Son became poor that we through his poverty might be rich: Deliver us from an inordinate love of this world, that, following the example of thy servant Bridget, we may serve thee with singleness of heart, and attain to the riches of the world to come; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.



"The Giveaway" (from The Love Letters of Phyllis Mcginley, New York, Viking Press, 1957) [1]:

 

Saint Bridget was

A problem child.

Although a lass

Demure and mild,

And one who strove

To please her dad,

Saint Bridget drove

The family mad.

For here's the fault in Bridget lay:

She Would give everything away.


To any soul

Whose luck was out

She'd give her bowl

Of stirabout;

She'd give her shawl,

Divide her purse

With one or all.

And what was worse,

When she ran out of things to give

She'd borrow from a relative.


Her father's gold,

Her grandsire's dinner,

She'd hand to cold

and hungry sinner;

Give wine, give meat,

No matter whose;

Take from her feet

The very shoes,

And when her shoes had gone to others,

Fetch forth her sister's and her mother's.


She could not quit.

She had to share;

Gave bit by bit

The silverware,

The barnyard geese,

The parlor rug,

Her little niece-

's christening mug,

Even her bed to those in want,

And then the mattress of her aunt.


An easy touch

For poor and lowly,

She gave so much

And grew so holy

That when she died

Of years and fame,

The countryside

Put on her name,

And still the Isles of Erin fidget

With generous girls named Bride or Bridget.


Well, one must love her.

Nonetheless,

In thinking of her

Givingness,

There's no denial

She must have been

A sort of trial

Unto her kin.

The moral, too, seems rather quaint.

WHO had the patience of a saint,

From evidence presented here?


St. Bridget of Kildare by Jen Norton


From Holy Women, Holy Men [2]:

Next to Patrick, Brigid is the most beloved of Irish saints. Born at Fauchart about the middle of the fifth century, she may have met Patrick as a young girl. She was said to be the daughter of Dubhthach, poet laureate of King Loeghaire, and was reared in a Druid household. She decided early in life to dedicate her life to God alone as a Christian. She received a nun’s veil from Bishop Macaile of Westmeath.

Gathering around her a group of women, Brigid, in 470, founded a nunnery at Kildare, a place whose name meant “Church of the Oak.” Here had flourished the cult of a pagan goddess, from which it was said to have derived the sacred fire, which she and her successors maintained. To secure the sacraments, Brigid persuaded the anchorite Conlaed to receive episcopal ordination and to bring his community of monks to Kildare, thus establishing the only known Irish double monastery of men and women. Brigid actively participated in policymaking decisions in Church conventions. One story has it that she received episcopal orders, which may reflect only the fact that she exercised the jurisdictional authority that was customarily wielded by medieval abbesses.

Many stories are told of Brigid’s concern for the poor and needy. When a leper woman asked for milk she was healed also of her infirmity. Two blind men were given their sight. Best known is the tale that tells of Brigid’s taming of a wolf at the request of a local chieftain whose pet dog had been killed accidentally by a peasant. The Gaelic name given to the oyster-catching bird, galle-brigade, attests to her affinity for birds. Her feast day itself, February 1, was long held sacred as Imbolg, the Celtic festival of Spring.

Brigid died about 523 at Kildare, outside whose small cathedral the foundations of her fire-house are still shown to tourists. Her remains are said to have been re-interred, at the time of the Danish invasions of the ninth century, with those of Patrick, at Downpatrick.

Brigid, also known as Bride, was very popular both in Scotland and England, where many churches have been dedicated to her. The best known of them is that church which was designed by Christopher Wren on Fleet Street in London. In Wales, Brigid achieved fame under her Gaelic name Ffraid.


The Passing of St. Brigid of Kildare


Sources:

[1] Society of Archbishop Justus:

http://justus.anglican.org/resources/bio/93.html

[2] Holy Women, Holy Men (P. 202):

https://diobeth.typepad.com/files/holy-women-holy-men.pdf


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