Monday, February 1, 2016

For All the Saints: Brigid of Kildare

We fell in love with Ireland during our first visit in 2011 (I've pre-famine Irish ancestors on Mom's side) and we planned another Ireland trip two years later. I'm eager to return! Meanwhile, I was pleased to see that today is the special church day for Brigid, who along with Patrick and Columba is one of Ireland's beloved saints. She was born about 451, of a mother whom Patrick himself had baptized. (Brigid was also friends with Patrick.) According to stories about her, miracles and holiness were attributed to her even when she was a child. When she was around 30, she founded a monastery in Kildare that had been a Celtic shrine to the goddess of the same name, Brigid, and within a few years she also founded a monastery for men.

She died February 1, 525. As seen in the painting, the reed cross known as Saint Brigid's Cross or "Crosóg Bhríde" is still popular in Ireland and elsewhere. She is considered the patron saint of scholars because of the prominence of her Abbey of Kildare, and she is also known for her compassion and ministry for the poor.

Although she's not listened on any church calendar, I never forget that today is the birthday of my grandma Crawford (born in 1890), whose example was very important to me.

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