Here is a short note based on something I wrote for girls who were considering which Confirmation Name to take…
Saints for Girls
There are many ways to be a good person. We are not all made the same. And there are many paths to becoming a Saint, even though the intention is always the same: to please Our Lord as much as is within our power.
Here are four very different saints. S. Brigid of Ireland was a nun who organised one of the most important communities that helped build the Golden Age of Ireland.** S. Joan of Arc** was a warrior, who led the rightful King to his throne. S. Therese was the Saint of The Little Way. S. Maria Goretti was a Virgin Martyr at the age of only twelve.
(Also spelt Brighid or Bríd), generally pronounced either “Bridget” [which is really the name of Bridget of Sweden] or “Breed”.
Saint Brighid is known as the Second Patron Saint of Ireland and “the Mary of the Gael”.
Brigid was born in the Fifth Century, the Century of the Barbarian Invasions and the Fall of the Roman Empire. It is said her mother was baptised by Saint Patrick himself. Her father was a chieftain, and her mother a Christian slave. Brigid was very beautiful (which embarrased her), intelligent and high-spirited, generous and devoted to God. She was sold in childhood as a slave to Dubthach (Duffy) the Druid, whom she enraged by giving his valuable possessions to the poor, and refusing to marry. He offered to sell her to Dunlang, the King of Leinster, but while he was discussing this with the King she gave his jewelled sword from his chariot to a passing leper. King Dunlang told Dubthach, “I cannot purchase her because she is more precious than silver or gold. She stands higher before God than we. Let her choose her way in life”.
She founded the first convent in Ireland at Kildare — Cill Dara (the Church of the Oak) — and ruled there for many years. It was not merely a religious community: scholars from all over Europe were welcome to stay rent-free as long as they wished. Kildare was, in fact, one of the most important communities of scholars in all of Europe, preserving the light of civilisation after the Roman Empire had fallen. She was important in establishing the Golden Age of Ireland, just at the time when the rest of Europe, from the 5th to 7th centuries, was slipping into the Dark Ages. Saxon princes were sent over from England and many other countries to be educated there. It was in these days that Ireland was known as “The Land of Saints and Scholars”.
Her hospitality – and her Home Brew – were famous throughout all of Ireland. Her one desire was to aid the poor and needy and relieve those in distress.
The Queen of Leinster presented her with a valuable golden chain, but Bríd gave it to the first beggar who came by.
One of her friends once brought her a basket of choice apples and saw her immediately hand them out to the crowd of sick people thronging about her.
Her feast day is February 1, First Day of Spring in Ireland. In traditional Irish the month of February is named “Mí na Féile Bríde” - 'The Month of the Feast of Brigid".