Monday, February 01, 2010

Venerable Brigid (Bridget) of Ireland


Commemorated on February 1

Saint Brigid, "the Mary of the Gael," was born around 450 in Faughart, about two miles from Dundalk in County Louth. According to Tradition, her father was a pagan named Dubthach, and her mother was Brocessa (Broiseach), one of his slaves.

Even as a child, she was known for her compassion for the poor. She would give away food, clothing, and even her father's possessions to the poor. One day he took Brigid to the king's court, leaving her outside to wait for him. He asked the king to buy his daughter from him, since her excessive generosity made her too expensive for him to keep. The king asked to see the girl, so Dubthach led him outside. They were just in time to see her give away her father's sword to a beggar. This sword had been presented to Dubthach by the king, who said, "I cannot buy a girl who holds us so cheap."

St Brigid received monastic tonsure at the hands of St Mael of Ardagh (February 6). Soon after this, she established a monastery on land given to her by the King of Leinster. The land was called Cill Dara (Kildare), or "the church of the oak." This was the beginning of women's cenobitic monasticism in Ireland.

The miracles performed by St Brigid are too numerous to relate here, but perhaps one story will suffice. One evening the holy abbess was sitting with the blind nun Dara. From sunset to sunrise they spoke of the joys of the Kingdom of Heaven, and of the love of Christ, losing all track of time. St Brigid was struck by the beauty of the earth and sky in the morning light. Realizing that Sister Dara was unable to appreciate this beauty, she became very sad. Then she prayed and made the Sign of the Cross over Dara's eyes. All at once, the blind nun's eyes were opened and she saw the sun in the east, and the trees and flowers sparkling with dew. She looked for a while, then turned to St Brigid and said, "Close my eyes again, dear Mother, for when the world is visible to the eyes, then God is seen less clearly by the soul." St Brigid prayed again, and Dara became blind once more.

St Brigid fell asleep in the Lord in the year 523 after receiving Holy Communion from St Ninnidh of Inismacsaint (January 18). She was buried at Kildare, but her relics were transferred to Downpatrick during the Viking invasions. It is believed that she was buried in the same grave with St Patrick (March 17) and St Columba of Iona (June 9).

Late in the thirteenth century, her head was brought to Portugal by three Irish knights on their way to fight in the Holy Land. They left this holy relic in the parish church of Lumiar, about three miles from Lisbon. Portions of the relic were brought back to Ireland in 1929 and placed in a new church of St Brigid in Dublin.

The relics of St Brigid in Ireland were destroyed in the sixteenth century by Lord Grey during the reign of Henry VIII.

The tradition of making St Brigid's crosses from rushes and hanging them in the home is still followed in Ireland, where devotion to her is still strong. She is also venerated in northern Italy, France, and Wales.

Troparion - Tone 1

O holy Brigid, you became sublime through your humility,
and flew on the wings of your longing for God.
When you arrived in the eternal City and appeared before your Divine Spouse,
wearing the crown of virginity,
you kept your promise
to remember those who have recourse to you.
You shower grace upon the world, and multiply miracles.
Intercede with Christ our God that He may save our souls.

Kontakion - Tone 4

The holy virgin Brigid full of divine wisdom,
went with joy along the way of evangelical childhood,
and with the grace of God/ attained in this way the summit of virtue.
She now bestows blessings upon those who come to her with faith.
O holy Virgin, intercede with Christ our God
that He may have mercy on our souls.

SOURCE:

SAINT OR FEAST POSTED THIS DATE 2009(with 2008's link here also):

To Read more about Saint Brigid:

4 comments:

aaronandbrighid said...

Nice St Brigid icon! I may have to steal that in a couple of weeks...

Sophocles said...

Do feel free...I stole it from elsewhere!

I receive an e-mail every so often from this site: http://www.impantokratoros.gr/C4B68E4A.en.aspx

and almost always post their stuff(the posts on the Calendar and such are from these e-mails).

The link above is also about Saint Brigid. I was hoping they would have a different Icon but it IS a good one anyway.

Thanks for stopping by and thanks for the add!

Your wife's name is Brigid, I gather? Many Years to you and her!!

aaronandbrighid said...

My wife is named Brigid! Thank you, though of course we celebrate her nameday on the Old Calendar...

Look for my post a week from Sunday!

Sophocles said...

Will do, Aaron! I'll be a frequent visitor and as I am able, a commentator as well. I'm very pleased to have made your acquaintance.

The Calendar...(sigh). The New Calendar innovation is something that grieves me, but that is a conversation for another time.