Lives to Inspire: Brigid of Ireland

Brigid, the daughter of an Irish chieftain and a Christian slave, was unendingly generous to the poor and able to perform miracles from an early age. She became the founding abbess of a double abbey at Kildare. Legend reports that she asked the King of Leinster for land for it, but he only agreed to give as much land as her cloak would cover. The cloak spread out for acres.

Although she is one of Ireland’s patron saints, many of St Brigid’s attributes are associated with the Celtic pagan goddess Brigid, whose shrine was at Kildare. Brigid’s feast day falls on the Celtic festival of Imbolc. Both are associated with poetry, healing, blacksmiths and livestock. Although facts are few, what is certain is that St Brigid’s qualities touch something deep at the heart of Irish culture.

‘Anam cara’ or soul friendships were highly valued in the early Celtic Church. These were deep relationships with wise, trusted spiritual advisors based on openness and vulnerability.  Brigid was an exemplar, notably with her pupil, Darlugdach.

Saint Brigid of Kildare

Name: Brigid or Bride

c451: born in Faughart, Co. Louth

c 480: Founded a monastery at Kildare

c 525: died in Kildare

c 650 Biography of Brigid written by Cogitosus

Quote from Saint

“In the kingdom of love there is no competition; there is no possessiveness or control. The more love you give away, the more love you will have.”

John O’Donohue; Anam Cara: a Book of Celtic Wisdom.

Today’s Scripture

Romans 12:9-13 New Revised Standard Version, Anglicised

Let love be genuine; hate what is evil, hold fast to what is good; 10
 love one another with mutual affection;
outdo one another in showing honour. 11 
Do not lag in zeal, be ardent in spirit, serve the Lord.
Rejoice in hope, be patient in suffering, persevere in prayer. 13 
Contribute to the needs of the saints; extend hospitality to strangers.

Thought for the Day

Who has been a soul friend to you?

Music

We sing a song to Brigid,
Brigid brings the spring
Awakens all the fields and the flowers
And calls the birds to sing.

All were welcome at her door,
no one was turned away.
She loved the poor, the sick and the sore,
She helped them on their way.

She laid her cloak out on the ground
And watched it grow and grow,
In wells and streams and fields of green
St. Brigid’s blessings flow.