1 Feb 2016

1st February 2016 - Feast of St Brigid of Kildare, patronness of Ireland

Today is the feast day of St Brigid of Kildare, patroness of Ireland along with St Patrick and St Colm Cille. Known as Mhuire na nGael (Mary of the Irish), she is a popular saint in Ireland and her feast day is celebrated as the first day of Spring (even if meteorologically it is not for another few weeks for the official start of Spring).

Two very interesting and scholarly blogs which we would recommend for learning the story of St Brigid (and other Irish saints) are Omnium Sanctorum Hiberniae and also Trias Thaumaturga

Tradition holds she lived 452AD-524AD as is know in tradition and affection of the Irish as Mary of the Gael. She is said to be the patroness of babies; blacksmiths; boatmen; cattle; chicken farmers; children whose parents are not married; children whose mothers are mistreated by the children's fathers; Clan Douglas; dairymaids; dairy workers; fugitives; infants; Ireland; Leinster, mariners; midwives; milk maids; nuns; poets; poor; poultry farmers; poultry raisers; printing presses; sailors; scholars; travellers; watermen

You can also read about St Brigid in our previous posts on the blog which have history, various depictions of the saint, links to reflections, prayers & litanies.

St Brigid of Kildare - Richard King

Merciful God,
origin and reward of all charity,
you called Saint Brigid to teach the new commandment of love
through her life of hospitality and her care of the needy;
give to your people, by her intercession, a generous spirit,
so that, with hearts made pure,
we may show your love to all.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever


In liturgical iconography and statuary Saint Brigid is often depicted holding a reed cross, a crozier of the sort used by abbots, and a lamp (called a "lamp of learning and wisdom", as lamps and fire were regarded sacred to the Celts and druids). Early hagiographers portray Saint Brigid's life and ministry as touched with fire. Brigid also founded a school of art, including metal work and illumination, over which Conleth presided. The Kildare scriptorium produced the Book of Kildare, which elicited high praise from Giraldus Cambrensis, but which has disappeared since the Reformation. According to Giraldus, nothing that he had ever seen was at all comparable to the book, every page of which was gorgeously illuminated, and he concludes by saying that the interlaced work and the harmony of the colours left the impression that "all this is the work of angelic, and not human skill".
May God, who in Saint Brigid has provided an outstanding example of generosity: make your ears be ever open to the cry of the poor.
May you who greet Saint Brigid as Mary of the Gael receive from Jesus, Son of Mary, the reward promised to the pure of heart.
May God fill you with his love, as you honour Saint Brigid, whose heart and mind became a throne of rest for the Holy Spirit.

R/. Amen.

How to make a St Brigid’s Cross


Gabhaim Molta Bríghde (I Give Praise to Saint Brigid).

A beautiful song sung in Irish by Aoife Ní Fhearraigh which gives praise to Saint Brigid of Kildare, one of the three patron saints of Ireland.

Gabhaim molta Bríghde, iníon í le hÉireann
I give praise to Brigid, daughter of Ireland

Iníon le gach tír í, molaimís go léir í.
Daughter of all lands, let us praise her.

Lóchrann geal na Laighneach, soils' ar feadh na tíre
The bright torch of Leinster, shining across the country

Ceann ar óigheacht Éireann, ceann na mban ar míne.
The leader of Ireland's youth, leader of gentle women.

Tig an Geimhreadh dian dubh, gearra lena géire
The house of Winter is dark, cutting with its sharpness

Ach ar lá le Bríghde, gar dúinn Earrach Éireann.
But on Brigid's Day, Spring in Ireland draws near to us.

Gabhaim molta Bríghde, iníon í le hÉireann
I give praise to Brigid, daughter of Ireland

Iníon le gach tír í, molaimís go léir í.
Daughter of all lands, let us praise her.

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