Happy St. Brigit's Day
Bridget (Bride) is one of the most popular saints in the
calendar, and for good reason -- even if you're not a stout drinker.
so in celebration of her Day, here are five must-know facts about Bridget.
1. She was a time traveller.
okay, maybe this picture by John Duncan, who swore he could hear fairy music
while he painted, shouldn't be taken as an eyewitness account, but it was said
that, as patron saint of midwives, she was transported back in time to aid the
Virgin in the birth of Jesus.
2. She may have written the Book of Kells.
According to some theories, the Book of Kells
might have been created at her monastery at Kildare, where she is known to have
founded a school of art, including metalwork and illumination. Giraldus
Cambrensis describes a magnificent gospel, the Book of Kildare, which
disappeared during the Reformation, in which every page of which was gorgeously
illuminated, and the interlaced work and the harmony of the colours left the
impression that "all this is the work of angelic, and not human skill" -- a
description that certainly would fit the known Book of Kells -- even if it is
customarily attributed to her fellow patron of Ireland, Columba.
3. She was there long before the Groundhog was.
St. Brigid's Day is also Imbolc, the pagan festival that
marks the first day the sap starts rising.
And Brigid is associated with weather prognostication on this day as
Thig an nathair as an
Là donn Brìde,
Ged robh trì troighean dhen t-sneachd
Air leac an làir.
The serpent will come from the hole
On the brown Day of Bríde,
Though there should be three feet of snow
On the flat surface of the ground.
4. She was a bishop in her own right -- even
though she might not have been Christian at all.
the woman who shares the honors of Ireland's patron saint
with Patrick and Columba, Brigit's antecedents are decidedly sketchy.
In fact, it could be argued she isn't a
Christian saint at all, but in fact, that she is an avatar of the Morrigan, the
triple goddess of the Tuatha de Danaan, who populated Ireland before the
Christians drove them to take refuge in the hollow hills.
Nonetheless, legend has it that she was
"accidentally" consecrated as a bishop by the official who was meant
to consecrate her as the abbess of Kildare.
Whatever the case, her successors have always been accorded episcopal
5. And who, really, can argue with this theology?
to put it more succinctly in the words of a dedicated follower: She kept a fine ale house.