History of St. Bridget

St. Bridget was born in the year 450 AD at Faughart near Dundalk, Louth, Ireland.
Her name Brigi is celtic for strength or might.
Known as St. Bridget of Ireland (also Bride, Brigid).
She was venerated in Ireland as virgin Saint and noted in miracle stories for her compassion.
St. Bridget represents the Irish Goddess.
I st Feburary is the St. Bridget feast day.

According to the legend her parents were baptised by St. Patrick with whom she developed a close friendship.
Her father was Dubthach an Irish chieftain and her mother Brocessa was a slave women.
Even as a young girl she evinced an interest for a religious life and took the veil in her youth from St. Macaille at Croghan and was professed by St. Mel of Armagh.
She settled with seven virgins at the foot of the Croghan Hill.
About 470 she founded a double monastery at Cill -Dara (Kildare) and was abbess at the convent as the first in Ireland.
St. Bridget founded a school of art in Kildare and the illuminated manuscripts became famous.
She was one of the most remarkable women of her times and despite the numerous legendary, extravagant and fantastic miracles attributed to her.
There is no doubt that her extraordinary spirituality, boundless charity and compassion for those in distress were real.
St. Bridget died on the I st February and is buried in Downpatrick with St. Columba and St. Patrick, with whom she is the Patron of Ireland.

St. Brigid of Ireland, Patroness

St. Brigid of Kildare, patroness of our parish, is also the patroness of Ireland. Known as "Mary of the gael" and "Virgin of Kildare", her feast day is celebrated on February 1. She grew up in the fifth century when the great St. Patrick was Christianizing Ireland. She became associated with one of Patrick's followers and fellow bishops and under his authority she became a nun and founded a famous convent at Kildare. The community grew rapidly and soon her sisters were spread throughout the land. Brigid is looked upon as the initiator and abbess of the first women's religious community in Ireland.


St. Bridget`s day

The main significane of the Feast of St. Bridget would seem to be a christianization of one of the focal points of the agricultural year in Ireland.
Every manifestation of the cult of the saint is bound up in some way with food production.
A relaxation of the rigours of winter weather was expected at this time for according to tradition what the saint had promised.

Gach`re la go maith
Every second day fine
O`m la - sa amach
From my day onwards
Agus leath mo lae feinigh
And half of my own day

On St. Bridget`s every farmer`s wife in Ireland makes a cake called bairin - breac, the neighbours are invited, the madder of ale and the pipe go round and the evening concludes with mirth and festivity.
Farmers gave presents of butter and buttermilk to poor neighbours. Some killed a sheep and sent portions of meat to friends and to people who needed it.
It was believed that the saint travelled around the countryside on the eve of the festival, bestowing her blessing on the people and their livestock.