Saint Bridget.

Saint Brigid, 'the Mary of the Gael', as she has been known to generations of Irish people, commands affection and respect. She is remembered for her hospitality and hard work, as a woman of God and a woman of the people. A powerful personality, who appealed to all, from those on high to the humble beggar. This is her story.

Brigid's life began in Faughart, a few miles from Dundalk, county Louth, in the year 453. When she came of an age to be useful, Brigid returned to her father's house, taking her mother's place, who had died. Brigid's father re—married so he took her to the king of Leinster to sell. Brigid was left outside in the chariot, and while there, a leper approached her, seeking alms. Without hesitation, Brigid handed over her father's sword, an item of great value. Her father was furious but the king of Leinster checked her father's rage and Brigid was delivered from bondage.

She then choose a life of virginity, a life of service to God and to the poor. Brigid started with seven other women, and together, they approach St Maccaille for guidance.

St Maccaille received their vows, and Brigid established a novitiate under his direction. In due course, the women were brought to the bishop of Ardagh, St Mel, who received their final vows and placed the white veils on their heads.

On Mel's request, Brigid founded a convent at Ardagh, the first convent of strict religious observance to be established on Irish soil. It soon became a centre of great activity, as many women of noble birth left their homes to the shelter of the convent. Thousands came to receive instruction in the Christian faith.

Brigid's most famous foundation is at Kildare, where it flourished into a centre of pilgrimage for bishops, priests and chieftains. Kings vied with one another in showering rich gifts and royal favours upon the cloisters presided over by Brigid.

It was a long and productive life in the service of others. Brigid died shortly after here 70th birthday. Her spirit lives on in the hospitality afforded by the nuns at Kildare, and she is remembered in posterity as a patron of Irish women and motherhood, someone to call on for help in domestic matters.

   Prayer to St Brigid   

Saint Brigid, Mary of Ireland

ask for us all today

the courage to do God's bidding

whatever the world may say

the grace to be strong and valiant

the grace to be firm and true

the grace to be faithful always

To God, God's mother and you.

Amen.

How to make a Saint Bridget's Cross from rushes.