Born in Ireland in the year 450 to parents who had been baptized by Saint Patrick, Brigid even as a child showed interest in the religious life. Sometimes referred to incorrectly as Bridget, Brigid was the daughter of an Irish chieftan; her mother, Brocca, had been a slave at his court.
There were many good influences in Brigid’s life, one being Saint Patrick, who had a close friendship with her family. She took the veil in her youth from St. Mel of Armagh and he also apparently later conferred abbatial authority on her. In her adulthood, Brigid, along with seven other virgins, settled in an area at the foot of Croghan Hill near an old oak tree. This small oratory was called Cill-Dara (later to be called Kildare) of which Brigid was the abbess of the convent. It was the first oratory in Ireland, and would later become a well-known center of learning and spirituality.
Brigid also founded a school of art in this region. Renowned for her spirituality, Brigid was a devout and pious woman of great intellect who did much to help others in their spiritual growth. There have been many stories and legends attributed to Brigid that are certainly exaggerated, given her popularity. But there is no doubt that she was a person of great charity and compassion. Brigid died at Kildare on February 1, 525.
Saint Brigid is buried at Downpatrick with St. Columba and St. Patrick, and she shares with these great saints the title of patron of Ireland. Another name by which Brigid is sometimes known is Bride.
“When the Lord knows that good health is necessary for our welfare, He sends it to us; and when we need sickness, He sends that too. —Traditionally attributed to St. Teresa of Ávila Can I think of a time in my own life (or in another’s life) when sickness was a blessing? What spiritual benefits did it bring? “We know that in everything God works for good with those who love him, who are called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28).”
Dear Father in heaven, we thank you for St. Brigid and all that she brought about in her homeland for our Irish brothers and sisters. The whole world can now enjoy the fruit of the labors of St. Brigid, and we are thankful for the great heritage and example she left us. Amen.
Other Saints We Remember Today
St. Ignatius of Antioch (107), Bishop, Martyr