St. Bridgid was probably born in a small Irish village named Faughart about the year 450 A.D. St. Patrick, with whom she developed a close friendship, baptized her parents. According to the stories written about her, Bridgid's father was an Irish chieftain of Leinster, named Dubtach, and her mother, Brocca, was a slave at his court.
She grew up with very high spirits and tender heart tender toward God and the poor. As a child, Bridgid heard Saint Patrick preach, which she never forgot. She could not bear to see anyone hungry or cold, and to help them, often gave away things that were Dubtach's. When Dubtach protested, she replied, "Christ dwelt in every creature". Dubtach tried to sell her to the King of Leinster, and while they bargained, she gave a treasured sword of her father's to a leper. Dubtach was about to hit her when Bridgid explained she had given the sword to God through the leper. The King, a Christian, forbade Dubtach to strike her, saying "Her merit before God is greater than ours". Dubtach solved this domestic problem by giving Bridgid her freedom. Can you imagine, risking physical punishment to care for the homeless, the sick and the needy? Quite an eye opener, for me.
Some years later, her father, arranged a marriage for her with a young man. Bridgid refused, and to keep her self devoted only to the Lord, she went to the local Bishop, Mel. He was a pupil of Saint Patrick's, and she took her first vows as a Nun. She was a beautiful young woman, and there are stories that she prayed that her beauty be taken from her so no one would else seek her hand in marriage. What a sacrifice, how often vanity invades our life, and here is one avoiding it in such a fundamental way! There is another story that says that when Saint Patrick was hearing her final vows, he mistakenly used the form for ordaining priests. When a man pointed this out to Patrick, he replied, "So be it, my son, she is destined for great things." This is one reason why the ancient Church of Ireland had a great deal of equality between women Abbesses and men Bishops. So unfortunate that equality has only recently been rediscovered.
Bridget was one of the most amazing women of her time, and despite the numerous legendary, often fantastic miracles attributed to her, there is no doubt of her deep spirituality, her boundless giving and compassion for those in distress. She died at Kildare on February 1, 525 A.D.
Everliving God, we rejoice today in the fellowship of Your Blessed servant Bridgid, and we give You thanks for her life of devoted service. Inspire all of us with life and light, and give us perseverance to serve You all our days; through Jesus Christ our Lord, Who with You and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, world without end. Amen.