Brigid of Ireland

Saint Brigid by Patrick Joseph Tuohy

Feast Day: February 1
Canonized: Pre-Congregation

Brigid and her mother were said to have been slaves in fifth-century Ireland; her father was believed to have been an Irish chieftain. As a young girl, one of Brigid’s responsibilities was to care for the dairy farm on the property. After Brigid milked the cows, she gave the milk away to the poor. She gave the needy the eggs she collected from the hens and churned cream into butter to share with the hungry.

When her master protested that she was giving away all his profits, Brigid reportedly replied, “Christ lives in every creature.” She was telling her master that God wants us to share our blessings with others.

After many years, Brigid and her mother were given their freedom. Now Brigid had the time to devote herself entirely to serving God. Brigid established the first convent in Ireland. The convent educated women and trained them to recognize and respond to the needs of the poor. She taught her nuns this saying: “What is mine is theirs.” It was meant to help them remember that God calls us to share our blessings with others.

Brigid also founded the first double monastery in Ireland. It was a place of training and prayer for both monks and nuns. Because of her great charity and her work for the education of priests and nuns, the Church in Ireland experienced great growth. She also founded a school of art, which produced beautiful illuminated manuscripts of the Gospels.

We honor Brigid as the patron saint of scholars, people who devote themselves to studying a specific topic. She is also a patron saint of Ireland. Brigid’s example encourages us to learn all we can about God and to deepen our love for the Lord through prayer.

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