Sunday, March 25, 2012

St Brigid of Kildare Abbess of Kildare [c. A.D.525]

With St Patrick, St Brigid is our very cherished patron saint.  There can be no doubt that Brigid must be numbered among the greatest and most highly venerated of the saints whose virtues lent glory to Ireland and helped, at least indirectly, to christianize Europe.  Her memory, as it lived in the hearts of the people, was identified with an extraordinary spirit of charity.
St Brigid was born about 451 at or near the present Umeras between Rathangan and Monasterevan.  Her father Dubthach was a pagan chieftain of Leinster and her mother Brocca was a christian Pict who had been baptised by St Patrick. 
Brigid showed signs of great holiness from an early age.  Brigid became a nun, and beneath a beautiful oak tree she built her first church, and ever since it has been named Cill Dara [Kildare]  the church of the oak.  [The oak tree under which St Brigid built her oratory was preserved with great veneration down to the tenth century, when it succumbed to age and the violence of a winter storm].

St Brigid's monastery flourished and soon became famous as a place of pilgrimage, and helped spread christianity through Ireland and beyond her shores.

St Brigid was famous for her great compassion and her hospitality, she never turned anyone in want away.  She prayed and the food would multiply, and would be enough for everybody who came to her door.

St Brigid was blessed by God with the gift of healing. Many are the stories of her healing people and animals.  She cured people of leprosy, blindness, so many healings but I think this one stands out:
" One evening as the sun went down, Brigid sat with sister Dara, a holy nun who was blind, and they talked of the love of Jesus Christ and the joys of Paradise.  Now their hearts were so full that the night fled away whilst they spoke together, and neither knew that so many hours had passed.  Then the sun came up from behind the Wicklow mountains and the pure white light made the face of earth bright and happy.  Then Brigid sighed, when she saw how lovely were earth and sky, and knew that Dara's eyes were closed to all this beauty.  So she bowed her head and prayed, and extended her hand and signed the dark orbs of the gentle sister.  Then the darkness passed away from them, and Dara saw the golden ball in the east and all the trees and flowers glittering with dew in the morning light.  She looked a little while, and then, turning to the abbess, said, " close my eyes again, dear Mother, for when the world is so visable to the eyes, God is seen less clearly to the soul".  So Brigid prayed once more, and Dara's eyes grew dark again".

St Brigid is patron of Milkmen, poets, cows, and yard animals, blacksmiths and healers.
Her feastday is 1st February.


  1. I love your description of my favourite saint. JCH