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The saint of hope and consolation for February


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Annabelle Moseley - published on 02/01/24

Not only is St. Brigid celebrated this month, but in 2024, we are marking the 1,500th anniversary of her birth into eternal life.

February 1 is the feast of St. Brigid of Kildare. In Ireland, the feast day has now been made a public bank holiday. And 2024 is a banner year for those seeking the intercession of this great Irish saint, because it is St. Brigid’s 1500th anniversary of being born to eternal life.  

As St. Patrick is Ireland’s patron, St. Brigid is Ireland’s patroness, and is a declared national saint of Ireland along with St. Patrick and St. Columba.

Brigid founded the Abbey of Kildare, and several convents of nuns. Along with being one of the patron saints of Ireland — and thus all Irish people spread throughout the world through the Irish diaspora — she is also the patron saint of Irish nuns, newborn babies, midwives, children whose parents aren’t married, poets, scholars, travelers (especially those who travel by water) and dairy farmers.

A fairly common Irish greeting is, “Brid agus Muire dhuit!,” (Brigid and Mary be with you!).

Miracle girl

St. Brigid was born in the 5th century to a pagan chieftain and an enslaved woman who had become Catholic through the preaching of St. Patrick. From childhood, Brigid was known for her generosity, once giving away all of her mother’s butter to a needy person and then praying to have all her mother’s butter restored, which it was. Similar miracles were performed by Brigid throughout her life. She once blessed a cow that had been milked dry, so that starving people were able to have their fill. When Brigid asked a king for land upon which she could build her monastery, she assured him it would only be as much land as her cloak would cover. Once he agreed, she prayed to God and before the king’s very eyes, the cloak grew to cover as much land as would befit her monastery.

But one of the most beautiful stories of St. Brigid is the one of her praying by the sickbed of a dying pagan chieftain, whom many believe was her own father. Picking up rushes from the floor, she shaped them into the form of a cross. The chieftain, who had been resistant to Christianity, asked her about the cross and she used it as a visual aid to catechize him, telling the story of Christ upon the cross. Just before he took his last breath, the chieftain was baptized. Therefore we should seek St. Brigid’s intercession for the conversion of souls and the dying, especially those in need of baptism or final repentance, Confession, and last rites.

At long last, 2024 is the year St. Brigid’s relics have finally returned home to her beloved Kildare, after being moved about and hidden and relocated for years due to Viking invasions and Protestant persecutions, including the destruction of her shrine. Always, her relics were saved, despite great obstacles.

Words to live by

Her words, inspired by God’s wisdom, continue to teach us across the millennia. Here are three quotes by St. Brigid of Kildare:

“It is a virtue and a prize to listen patiently to and put up with insults for the sake of God.”

Although certainly not an easy task, St. Brigid reminds us of the importance of patient listening when we would rather not, and even putting up with insults for the sake of God. She reminds us that it is not simply something we are called to do as Catholics. Greater than that … St. Brigid reminds us it is a prize, and helps us to store up great merit in heaven. 

“O Jesus! Remember the sadness which Thou didst experience when, contemplating in the light of Thy divinity the predestination of those who would be saved by the merits of Thy sacred passion, thou didst see at the same time the great multitudes of reprobates who would be damned for their sins, and Thou didst complain bitterly of those hopeless, lost, and unfortunate sinners.”

This sobering but necessary reflection from St. Brigid about the Agony in the Garden, in which Jesus suffered terribly knowing that great multitudes of people would turn away from Him, reminds us that we must console our Lord — pray for sinners, help save souls, and keep alive within ourselves a loving spirit of humility and penance.

Lent is drawing near, and this year it begins just two weeks after St. Brigid’s feast. Let’s make these upcoming 40 days of Lent our best yet, and not shirk from remembering to console Our Lord, and pray for souls, including our own. Get a guided holy hour here to help prepare you for Lent in this spirit of consoling Our Lord with the intercession of St. Brigid.

Inspired by St. Brigid’s poignant reflection, we can be extra grateful for two great prayers that capture the Lenten spirit of penance and prayerful contrition all year round: the Jesus Prayer, “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner”; and the Fatima prayer, “O my Jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from the fires of hell and lead all souls to heaven, especially those in most need of Thy mercy.” 

“There is no sinner in the world, however much at enmity with God, who cannot recover God’s grace by recourse to Mary, and by asking her assistance.”

What hopeful and heart-warming words from St. Brigid these are. The words of the Memorare come to mind, “Remember, O Most Gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known that anyone who fled to your protection, implored your help or sought your intercession was left unaided …”

Let us close with St. Brigid’s Blessing:

May Brigid bless the house wherein we dwell.
Bless every fireside, every wall and door.
Bless every heart that beats within its roof.
Bless every hand that toils to bring its joy.
Bless every foot that walks its portals through.
May Brigid bless the house that shelters you!

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