Our Patron Saint
St. Brigid was born in AD 450 near Dundalk (Ireland). Her father was a pagan chieftain of Leinster and her mother was a Christian. Brigid spent her early life cooking, cleaning, washing and feeding the animals on her father’s farm.
She lived during the time of St. Patrick and was inspired by his preachings and she became a Christian. When Brigid turned eighteen, she stopped working for her father. Brigid’s father wanted her to find a husband but Brigid had decided that she would spend her life working for God by looking after poor, sick and elderly people. Brigid’s charity angered her father because he thought she was being too generous to the poor. When she finally gave away his jewel-encrusted sword to a leper, her father realised that she would be best suited to the religious life. Brigid finally got her wish and entered the convent. News of Brigid’s good works spread and soon many young girls from all over the country joined her in the convent. Brigid founded many convents all over Ireland; the most famous one was in Kildare. It is said that this convent was built beside an oak tree where the town of Kildare now stands.
St. Brigid died in AD 525 at the age of 75 and she is the female patron saint of Ireland. Her feast day is the 1st of February which is the first day of Spring in Ireland.
The story of St. Brigid’s Cloak
St. Brigid went to the King of Leinster to ask for land to build a convent. She told the king that the place where she stood was the perfect place for a convent. It was beside a forest where they could collect firewood. There was also a lake nearby that would provide water and the land was fertile. The king laughed at her and refused to give her any land. Brigid prayed to God and asked him to soften the king’s heart. Then she smiled at the king and said, “will you give me as much land as my cloak will cover?” The king thought that she was joking and because Brigid’s cloak was so small, he knew that it would only cover a very small piece of land. The king agreed and Brigid spread her cloak on the ground. She asked her four friends to hold a corner of the cloak and walk in opposite directions. The four friends walked north, south, east and west. The cloak grew immediately and began to cover many acres of land. The king was astonished and he realized that she had been blessed by God. The king fell to the ground and knelt before Brigid and promised her and her friends money, food and supplies. Soon afterwards, the king became a Christian and also started to help the poor. Brigid’s miracle of the cloak was the first of many miracles that she worked for the people of Ireland.
The St. Brigid’s Cross
Making a St. Brigid’s cross is one of the traditional rituals in Ireland to celebrate the beginning of early spring, 1st February. The crosses are made of rushes that are pulled rather than cut. They are hung by the door and in the rafters to protect the house. According to tradition, a new cross is made each St Brigid’s Day.