Who Was St. Brigid?

Stained Glass Window Featuring St. Brigid

Who Was St. Brigid?

The Feast of St. Brigid is upon us—February 1 to be exact. But what do you know about this patron saint of Ireland? Follow along as we take a closer look at her life.

 When and where did she live?

St. Brigid was born in the middle of the 5th century and died in the first part of the 6th century. She is thought to have been born to a slave mother and a noble father. Her mother was sold to a Druid landowner, and therefore Brigid grew up alongside the Celts in Ireland. It was during this time as a very young child that she began to demonstrate her generosity, feeding the poorest of the poor and healing the sick.

Cathedral of St. Brigid, Kildare, County Kildare

What are some of her acts that lead to sainthood?

There are numerous legends about the woman, who is sometimes referred to as Brigit, Bridget, or Brigid of Kildare. She performed numerous acts of kindness for the poor. The bulk of these involve providing food or healing as mentioned above. Notably, she is said to have restored sight to a fellow nun. Popularly, she is credited with having changed water into beer for a colony of lepers. This led to her sometimes, jokingly, being referred to as the patron saint of beer.

She founded two monasteries (one for men and one for women) in Kildare along with numerous convents across the Emerald Isle. In addition, she started an art school. She was also thought to have been close friends with St. Patrick, and it was he who heard her final vows before entering a convent.

 She is the patron saint of what things? She (along with St. Patrick) is a patron saint of Ireland. She is also patron saint of dairymaids, cattle, midwives, Irish nuns, and newborn babies.

St. Brigid Reed Cross

How is she remembered today?

Her feast day is commemorated in the Catholic Church on February 1. She is often depicted holding a reed cross, a hooked staff, or a lamp. Since she is the patron saint of dairy, fresh bread and butter are staples of the day. Some still leave a loaf of bread and milk or butter outside their door in honor. Many also enjoy a beer in observance of the day as well.

20 thoughts on “Who Was St. Brigid?”

  1. Enjoyed the tale of St. Bridget, very informative would like to find out more about her. Thanks for the article always enjoy reading your newsletter. I am moving to Ireland next year in honor of my father who always wanted to move there but unfortunately he got cancer and his dream never came true. Thanks again for your newsletter, absolutely love it.

  2. Shame on you! You state that Bridgid healed the eyesight of a “fellow” nun? Really? In this day & age? How hard would it have been to use “Sister “. Only proved the terrible misogyny of the Irish. I will no longer look to purchase from your firm.

    1. fellow – a person in the same position, involved in the same activity, or otherwise associated with another. Give me a break, must be a Scot.

  3. Went to grotto of st Bridget on road to the Cliffs, most amazing part of my trip! Letters asking for prayers and letters of thanks,,chilling to see!

  4. Very much enjoyed the info…graduated grade school from St. Bridget school before heading to St.Patrick’s about 6 blocks away.Gonna share this with a few classmates…

  5. My Grandmother from Roscommon Ireland influenced my decision to take Bridget as my confirmation name . My father’s name is Patrick, his dad was from the Dublin, area. He worked at a bakery, hence the enjoyment of fresh bread. I traveled to Ireland on my honeymoon and fell in love with Smithwicks beer. It all makes sense now.

  6. I have a saint Brigit cross in my house and I honor her day feb. 1st as my family has done for generations.

  7. Re: J. Fitzgeraid McCrae Lighten Up. So many people are trying to hard to find something that offends them. I will pray to St. Brigid to heal your heart.

  8. I was given a St. Brigid cross and was told “she wove the cross as she sat beside her father’s deathbed and converted him to Catholicism”? Obviously this is wrong … do you know to whom that story belongs?

  9. Loving this newsletter and this most enjoyable information about St. Bridgit. Did not know she was the Patron St. of babies.

  10. I have a wonderful memory of visiting this church in Kildare and having a picture taken of me in Brigid’s special fire pit. There are some very interesting characterizations of her in literature.

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