St Brigid of Ireland Celebrated on February 1st

St Brigid of Ireland Celebrated on February 1st

Foundress. St Brigit of Kildare (or Brigid of Ireland) is one of Ireland's patron saints, along with Patrick and Columba.

Brigid is believed to have been born in Faughart, near Dundalk, County Louth, Ireland. Three biographies agree that her mother was Brocca, a Christian Pict and slave who had been baptised by Saint Patrick. They name her father as Dubhthach, a chieftain of Leinster. Several histories say Dubthach's wife forced him to sell her to a druid when she became pregnant. Brigid herself was born into slavery.

From her childhood she was known to be holy and showed great concern for the poor. She took the veil in her youth from St Macaille at Croghan and probably was professed by St Mel of Armagh, who is believed to have conferred abbatial authority on her.

She settled with seven nuns at the foot of Croghan Hill for a time and about the year 468, followed Mel to Meath. About the year 470 she founded a double monastery at Cill-Dara (Kildare) and was Abbess of the convent, the first in Ireland.

The foundation developed into a center of learning and spirituality, and around it grew up the Cathedral city of Kildare. She founded a school of art at Kildare and its illuminated manuscripts became famous, notably the Book of Kildare, which was praised as one of the finest of all illuminated Irish manuscripts before its disappearance three centuries ago.

Brigid was one of the most remarkable women of her times, and despite the numerous legendary, extravagant, and even fantastic miracles attributed to her, there is no doubt that her extraordinary spirituality, boundless charity, and compassion for those in distress were real. She died at Kildare on this day in 525. The Mary of the Gael, she is buried at Downpatrick with St Columba and St Patrick. Her name is sometimes Bridget and Bride.

Mary Patricia Mulhall has sent this special prayer for today from the Bridgidines.

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