St Brigid of Ireland.

posted by: Joan Vine | on: Wednesday, 28 February 2018, 09:11

St Bridgid of Ireland

St Bridgid of Ireland

St Brigid (451-525 A.D.) is one of Ireland’s patron saints together with Patrick and Colomba. Her mother was Brocca, a Christian Pict slave who had been baptised by St Patrick. Her father was a Leinster chieftain by the name of Dubhthach.

When Dubhthach’s wife discovered that Brocca was pregnant she was sold to a Druid landowner. Brigid herself was born into slavery. Legends of her early holiness include vomiting when the Druid tried to feed her, due to his impurity. A white cow with red ears appeared in order to give her sustenance.

When Brigid was about ten she was returned to her father’s home, as he was her legal master. Her charity did not end when she left her mother she gave away many of his possessions to the poor. Dubthach was so annoyed with her that he took her in his chariot to the King of Leinster in order to sell her. On arrival her father left Brigid in the chariot together with his jewelled sword. No sooner had her father left than a poor man came along begging alms of Brigid, who having nothing of her own to give, gave him the sword so that he could barter it for food for his family. When the King, who had converted to Christianity, became aware of this he persuaded Dubthach to grant Brigid her freedom telling him, “Her merit before God is greater than ours”.

After being freed, Brigid returned to the Druid and her mother, who was in charge of the Druid’s dairy. Brigid took over and quite frequently gave away their produce to the poor but in spite of this the dairy prospered. The Druid eventually freed Brocca.

Brigid then returned to Dubthach who had arranged for her to marry. She refused and took a vow of chastity. She prayed that her beauty would be taken away so that nobody would want to marry her, and the prayer was granted and it was only after she had taken her final vows as a nun that her beauty was restored.

Relatively little is known about St Brigid’s life after she entered the Church. She was an early Irish Christian Nun, Abbess and founder of several monasteries for Nuns including that of Kildare. Her feast day is the first of February which was originally a pagan festival called Imboic, marking the beginning of spring.

St Brigid helped many people during her lifetime. On February 1st 525 she died of natural causes. Her body was initially kept to the right of the high altar of Kildare Cathedral in a tomb “adorned with gems and precious stones and crowns of gold and silver”, but in 878 during the Viking raids her relics were moved to the tomb of St Patrick and St Columba.

By Alan Vine

 Posted: 28 Feb 2018 | There are 0 comments

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