Brigid is Ireland’s most popular female saint.
According to tradition, Brigid was born in the year 451 AD in Faughart, just north of Dundalk in County Louth, Ireland. It is said that her mother was Brocca, a Christian Pict slave who had been baptized by Saint Patrick. Brigid herself was born into slavery.
As she grew older, Brigid performed miracles, including healing and feeding the poor. According to one tale, as a child, she once gave away her mother’s entire store of butter. The butter was then replenished in answer to Brigid’s prayers . Around the age of ten, she was returned as a household servant to her father. Her habit of charity led her to donate his belongings to anyone who asked.
According to tradition, in around 480 Brigid founded a monastery at Kildare (From the Irish, Cill Dara: “church of the oak”), on the site of a pagan shrine to the Celtic goddess Brigid, served by a group of young women who tended an eternal flame.
Brigid is credited with founding a school of art, including metalwork and illumination and became a centre for learning. She died in 522 AD is celebrated for her generosity to the poor. In her case, most of the miracles associated with her relate to healing and household tasks usually attributed to women.
Nowadays it is a popular tradition to make a Saint Brigid’s cross, using rushes. Made by hand by plaiting the rushes together the cross is placed in the household to bring good luck to the coming year.
You may also like to see our Book of Kells Rosary Beads