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St. Brigid of Kildare

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Brigid

Birthdate:
Birthplace: Lu, Eire
Death: February 01, 524 (71)
Kildare, Ireland
Immediate Family:

Daughter of Dubhthach mac Ercca and Brocca

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Immediate Family

About St. Brigid of Kildare

Saint Brigid of Kildare or Brigid of Ireland (Brigit, Bridget, Bridgit, Bríd or Bride) or Mary of the Gael (Irish: Naomh Bríd) (c. 451–525) is one of Ireland's patron saints along with Saints Patrick and Columba. Her feast day is 1 February, the traditional first day of spring in Ireland. She is believed to have been an Irish Christian nun, abbess, and founder of several monasteries.


Saint Brigid of Kildare or Brigid of Ireland (Brigit, Bridget, Bridgit, Bríd or Bride) or Mary of the Gael (Irish: Naomh Bríd)

Born: c. 451 Died: 525

Father: Dubhthach, a pagan chieftain of Leinster Mother: Brocca, a Christian Pict and slave

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brigid_of_Kildare

Saint Brigidis one of Ireland's patron saints along with Saints Patrick and Columba. Irish hagiography makes here an early an Irish Christian nun, abbess, and founder of several monasteries. Her feast day is 1 February, celebrated as St Brigid’s Day or Imbolc in Gaelic Ireland.

Hagiography

The earliest extensive life of Brigid is the Vita Brigitae of Cogitosus and is thought to have been written no later than 650.[2] According to tradition, Brigid was born at Faughart near Dundalk, County Louth, Ireland. Because of the legendary quality of the earliest accounts of her life, there is much debate among many scholars and even faithful Christians as to the authenticity of her biographies. According to her biographers her parents were Dubhthach, a pagan chieftain of Leinster, and Brocca, a Christian Pict and slave who had been baptised by Saint Patrick. Some accounts of her life suggest that Brigid's father was in fact from Lusitania, kidnapped by Irish pirates and brought to Ireland to work as a slave, in much the same way as Saint Patrick. Many stories also detail Brigid's and her mother's statuses as pieces of property belonging to Dubhthach, and the resulting impact on important parts of Brigid's life story. Differing biographies written by different authors, give conflicting accounts of her life, however three of those biographies agreed that she had a slave mother in the court of her father, Dubhthach, a king of Leinster. An ancient account of her life is by Saint Broccan Cloen: Ni bu Sanct Brigid suanach Ni bu huarach im sheirc Dé, Sech ni chiuir ni cossena Ind nóeb dibad bethath che. Saint Brigid was not given to sleep, Nor was she intermittent about God's love of her; Not merely that she did not buy, she did not seek for The wealth of this world below, the holy one. One, the "Life of Brigid" dates from the closing years of the eighth century, and is held in the Dominican friary at Eichstatt in Bavaria. It expounds the metrical life of Saint Brigid, and versified it in Latin. The earliest Latin "life" of Brigid was a short vignette composed by Colman nepos Cracavist around 800. Although some tradition indicated that Saint Brigid was "veiled" or received by Saint Maughold (Macaille), at Croghan, it is far more possible that she took her vows from Saint Mel of Ardagh, who also granted her abbatial powers. She followed Saint Mel into the Kingdom of Teathbha, which is made up of sections of modern Meath, Westmeath and Longford. This occurred about 468. Brigid is known for being the only female bishop of the early church. It is said that upon receiving her vows Saint Mel was inspired by God to make her a bishop. Brigid's small oratory at Cill-Dara (Kildare) became a center of religion and learning, and developed into a cathedral city. She founded two monastic institutions, one for men, and the other for women, and appointed Saint Conleth as spiritual pastor of them. It has been frequently stated that she gave canonical jurisdiction to Saint Conleth, Bishop of Kildare, but, as Archbishop Healy points out, she simply "selected the person to whom the Church gave this jurisdiction", and her biographer tells us distinctly that she chose Saint Conleth "to govern the church along with herself". Thus, for centuries, Kildare was ruled by a double line of abbot-bishops and of abbesses, the Abbess of Kildare being regarded as superior general of the monasteries in Ireland. Brigid also founded a school of art, including metal work and illumination, over which Conleth presided. The Kildare scriptorium produced the Book of Kildare, which elicited high praise from Giraldus Cambrensis, but which has disappeared since the Reformation. According to Giraldus, nothing that he had ever seen was at all comparable to the book, every page of which was gorgeously illuminated, and he concludes by saying that the interlaced work and the harmony of the colours left the impression that "all this is the work of angelic, and not human skill". Brigid is at times known as "the Patroness of Ireland" and "Queen of the South: the Mary of the Gael" by a writer in the "Leabhar Breac". Brigid died leaving a cathedral city and school that became famous all over Europe. In her honour Saint Ultan of Ardbraccan wrote a hymn commencing: Christus in nostra insula Que vocatur Hibernia Ostensus est hominibus Maximis mirabilibus Que perfecit per felicem Celestis vite virginem Precellentem pro merito Magno in mundi circulo. Christ was made known to men On our island of Hibernia by the very great miracles which he performed through the happy virgin of celestial life, famous for her merits through the whole world. The sixth life of the saint is attributed to Coelan, an Irish monk of the 8th century, and it derives a peculiar importance from the fact that it is prefaced by Saint Donatus, also an Irish monk, who became Bishop of Fiesole in 824. Donatus refers to previous lives by Ultan and Aileran. When dying, Brigid was attended by Saint Ninnidh, who was afterwards known as "Ninnidh of the Clean Hand" because he had his right hand encased with a metal covering to prevent it ever being defiled, after being the medium of administering the last rites to "Ireland's Patroness". Various Continental breviaries of the pre-Reformation period commemorate Brigid, and her name is included in a litany in the Stowe Missal.

Eastern Orthodox tradition

In addition, Brigid is highly venerated by many Eastern Orthodox Christians as one of the great Western saints before the schism between the Eastern and Western Churches. Her feast day, as in the West, is February 1, although churches following the Julian calendar (as in many Orthodox countries) celebrate her feast on February 14, the corresponding date on the Julian calendar. The troparion to her is in Tone 1: O holy Brigid, thou didst become sublime through thy humility, and didst fly on the wings of thy longing for God. When thou didst arrive in the Eternal City and appear before thy Divine Spouse, wearing the crown of virginity, thou didst keep thy promise to remember those who have recourse to thee. Thou dost shower grace upon the world, and dost multiply miracles. Intercede with Christ our God that He may save our souls. The corresponding kontakion is in Tone 4: The holy virgin Brigid full of divine wisdom, went with joy along the way of evangelical childhood, and with the grace of God attained in this way the summit of virtue. Wherefore she now bestows blessings upon those who come to her with faith. O holy Virgin, intercede with Christ our God that He may have mercy on our souls. According to the Tradition of the Orthodox church, Saint Brigid lost one of her eyes which saved her from being married against her will. The following are the first and second troparia of the fourth ode of the canon of the saint from the Orthodox Matins service: Considering the beauty of the body as of no account, when one of thine eyes was destroyed thou didst rejoice, O venerable one, for thou didst desire to behold the splendour of heaven and to glorify God with the choirs of the righteous. Spurning an earthly betrothed, and praying beyond hope that the refusal of thy parents be changed, thou didst find aid from on high, so that the beauty of thy body was ruined.

Veneration and relics

As to the historical Brigid, it seems that Faughart was the scene of her birth. Faughart Church was founded by Saint Moninne in honour of Brigid. The old well of Brigid's adjoining the ruined church still attracts pilgrims. There is evidence in the Trias Thaumaturga for Brigid's stay in Connacht, especially in County Roscommon and also in the many churches founded by her in the Diocese of Elphim. Her friendship with Saint Patrick is attested by the following paragraph from the Book of Armagh: "inter sanctum Patricium Brigitanque Hibernesium columpnas amicitia caritatis inerat tanta, ut unum cor consiliumque haberent unum. Christus per illum illamque virtutes multas peregit". (Between Patrick and Brigid, the columns of the Irish, there was so great a friendship of charity that they had but one heart and one mind. Through him and through her Christ performed many miracles.) At Armagh there was a "Templum Brigidis"; namely the little abbey church known as "Regles Brigid", which contained some relics of the saint, destroyed in 1179, by William FitzAldelm. Brigid was interred at the right of the high altar of Kildare Cathedral, and a costly tomb was erected over her. Over the years her shrine became an object of veneration for pilgrims, especially on her feast day, February 1. About the year 878, owing to the Scandinavian raids, Brigid's relics were taken to Downpatrick, where they were interred in the tomb of Patrick and Columba. The relics of the three saints were discovered in 1185, and on June 9 of the following year were reinterred in Down Cathedral. In modern Ireland, "Mary of the Gael" remains a popular saint, and Brigid remains a common female Christian name. Moreover, hundreds of placenames in her honour are to be found all over both Scotland and Ireland, e.g. East Kilbride, West Kilbride, Kilbride, Brideswell, Tubberbride, Templebride, etc. Places named Brideswell and Tupperbride commemorate in their names the presence of a sacred well ("Tobar" in Gaelic) dedicated to Brigid or her pre-Christian antecedent. Brigid's hand is preserved at Lumiar near Lisbon, Portugal, since 1587, and another relic is at St. Martin's Cologne.

Connection with pagan Brigid

Saint Brigid is often considered a Christianization of an earlyer pagan goddess Brigid.

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St. Brigid of Kildare's Timeline

453
453
Lu, Eire
524
February 1, 524
Age 71
Kildare, Ireland