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Lives of Saints

Saint Brigid

Born: 0453     Died: February 1st, 523
Feast Day: February 1st

What she said

"Christ dwells in every creature."

What the world was like

When Brigid was young, Saint Patrick had just converted Ireland to Christianity. Wealthy people and those in positions of power owned slaves. People traveled by foot or on horses. During Brigid's lifetime, metal horseshoes began being used. The bubonic plaque broke out in Europe and Asia. Buddhism spread throughout Asia and into Japan.

Who she was

Brigid's father Dubtach was the Irish Leinster King. Her mother was a Christian slave who had been baptized by Saint Patrick. When Brigid was old enough, she went to serve her father as one of his slaves.

Brigid was very beautiful. She loved all of God's creatures and enjoyed taking walks in the forests and spending time with animals. She was very generous and kind. To help the poor and hungry, she often gave away her father's possessions. This did not please Dubtach. He finally gave Brigid her freedom. He tried to arrange a marriage for Brigid, but she wanted to become a nun. Legend has it that she prayed that God would take her beauty away so that no one would ever want to marry her. Her prayer was answered. After she became a nun, as legend has it, her beauty came back.

Brigid built a convent. Other women wanted to join her way of life and soon her first convent had seven nuns. This was Ireland's first Christian religious community of women. Young girls came to the convent to be taught. Sick people traveled to Brigid's convent for care. Bishops asked her to start convents all over Ireland. She traveled throughout Ireland building convent schools and hospitals.

Brigid made a small cross made from tall grasses to teach others about Jesus. These crosses became identified with Saint Brigid.

 

What this saint means to us today

Brigid is the patroness of Ireland and people throughout this country pray to her. Brigid's feast day is celebrated on February 1. On this day in Ireland, people weave crosses from tall grasses and put them in their homes to keep them safe.

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