Born in Dundalk in 450 AD St. Brigid was the founder of the first monastery in County Kildare. Her father was a pagan chieftain of Leinster and her mother was a Christian. St Patrick inspired her to deepen her faith and spread the word of God. St Brigid is also known as Mary of the Gael or Muire na nGael – Our Lady of the Irish.
She is one of the Patron Saints of Ireland, along with St. Patrick and St. Columcille. When she was young, St Brigid wanted to join a convent however her father took a firm stand and insisted that she marry the wealthy man he had promised her to. The story goes that she asked for God’s help to take away her beauty so that the man wouldn’t want to marry her. Her wish was granted, her father caved and she joined the convent. Not only did her beauty return but apparently she was even more beautiful than ever.
The story of the Cross
St Brigid was by the sick bed of a dying pagan chieftain, soothing him with stories about her faith and her unwavering trust in God. She began telling the story of Christ on the Cross, picking up rushes from the ground to make a cross. Before his death, the chieftain asked to be baptised. Initially, people used to make similar crosses to hang over the door of their homes to ward off evil, fire and hunger. Over time, word spread about St Brigid, her kindness, faith and the making of the cross became synonymous with her.
Where is she buried?
St Brigid died at the age of 75 in AD 525 and was buried in the church she created. Her remains were exhumed years later and brought to Downpatrick to be buried alongside Saints Patrick and Columcille. However, her skull was brought to Lisbon where it remains today.
A Prayer to St. Brigid
You were a woman of peace.
You brought harmony where there was conflict.
You brought light to the darkness.
You brought hope to the downcast.
May the mantle of your peace cover those who are troubled and anxious,
and may peace be firmly rooted in our hearts and in our world.
Inspire us to act justly and to reverence all God has made.
Brigid you were a voice for the wounded and the weary.
Strengthen what is weak within us. Calm us into a quietness that heals and listens.
May we grow each day into greater wholeness in mind, body and spirit.