St. Brigid of Kildare

The Story of Brigid

a11aBrigid was born at a time of major transition in 5th century Ireland. She embodies in herself the pre-Christian Celtic and Christian Celtic spirit. It is generally accepted that St Brigid built her double monastery for men and women in Kildare around 470AD. Some scholars credit Brigid with pioneering monastic life in Ireland. Her monastery was acclaimed as a centre of education, pilgrimage, worship and hospitality until the 16th century when all the monasteries were suppressed.

“From the plains of Kildare to the ends of the earth
The life of St Brigid speaks.” (Intercom ‘07)

Irish missionaries and migrants carried her name and spirit across the world. Pilgrims and visitors come to Kildare from all over the world seeking to walk in Brigid’s footsteps. In more recent years we have noticed a reclaiming of the traditions and customs associated with her.

Why is this so? Brigid’s legacy has endured. Her life still speaks to us in the 21st century.

Woman of the Land

no-15-snowdropsBrigid is remembered through the ages as a woman of the land. Her feastday on the 1st February marks the first day of Spring in the northern hemisphere. It is the season when we celebrate new life on earth. In a new hymn, she is invoked ”to heal our wounds and green our Earth again.”

Many today draw inspiration from the respect which Brigid and our ancestors had for all creation.

Friend of the Poor

Brigid had an extraordinary concern and compassion for the poor people of her time. Her legends challenge us share the goods of the earth with our bothers and sisters especially those who live in desperate poverty in the developing world.

Woman of Hospitality

Brigid’s spirit of hospitality is legendary. For Brigid, every guest is Christ.

A Peacemaker

Feuds between clans were commonplace in Brigid’s day. She is often referred to as a peacemaker who intervened in disputes between rival factions and brought healing and reconciliation. Brigid is depicted in an icon in the parish church in Kildare with her foot on the sword. She challenges us to be peacemakers and peacekeepers.

Model of Equality

Brigid held a unique position in the early Irish church. Scholars tell us that she presided over the local church of Kildare and was head of a double monastery for men and women. She challenges both men and women today to create a church and a society where men and women are equally respected.

Brigid spread the values of Christ. Her life continues to sing the song of the Gospel. She continues to be remembered as an extraordinary woman of faith and to occupy an important place in the hearts of the people of Ireland and far beyond.