St. Bridget of Sweden (1303-1373) was a religious foundress noted for combining a life of mysticism with charitable activities in the secular world. Beginning at the age of seven, she had visions of the crucified Lord; at the age of fourteen, she was married to Ulf Godmarsson, a Swedish nobleman. They had eight children, including a daughter who was herself later canonized a saint (St. Katherine of Vadstena), and a son (Charles) who was a notorious sinner and a source of great anguish to his mother later in life.
In 1335, Bridget was appointed principal lady-in-waiting to the queen of Sweden; while at court, she tried to bring about the moral conversion of the royal family. Though not fully successful at this, the king did grant her some land and buildings to use as a monastery for women. After her husband died in 1344, Bridget devoted herself to establishing a religious order for women (the Order for the Holy Savior, or “Bridgettines”). The year 1350 was designated a “Year of Jubilee,” and Bridget decided, in spite of the Black Death which was then ravaging Europe, to make a pilgrimage to Rome. She spent the remainder of her life there, caring for the poor and sick, giving outspoken advice to popes on contemporary affairs, writing many works describing her mystical experiences, and carrying on the work of her order, in spite of opposition and financial difficulties. While on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land, Bridget experienced shipwreck and received news of her son’s death after a dissolute life. These events contributed to her own death, following her return to Rome in 1373. Her daughter Katherine completed her work by obtaining official approval for the Bridgettine Order from Rome.
Other Saints We Remember Today
St. Apollinaris (of Ravenna) (79), Bishop and Martyr; disciple of St. Peter
St. Liborius (4th Century), Bishop