Every day and each night
I will say the genealogy of Bride,
I will not be killed, I will not be harried,
I will not be put in a cell, I will not be wounded,
Neither will Christ leave me in forgetfulness.
No fire, no sun, no moon will burn me,
No lake, no water, no sea shall drown me,
No dart of fairy nor arrow of fay will wound me,
And I am under the protection of my holy mother Mary,
And her foster-mother Bride.
Genealogy of the holy maiden Bride (second verse)
St. Brigid> Part 1
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St. Brigid’s Cross
St. Bridget, St. Briget, Cros Bhrighite
Making a St. Brigid’s cross is one of the traditional rituals in Ireland to celebrate the beginning of early spring, February 1. 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 from fire and evil.
St. Brigid (450-520) is the only one of the three patron saints of Ireland who is native to the country. Historical data on her is slight. She is often considered a pious legend. The legends are wonderful stories of generosity and care for all creatures. Prayers and poetry surrounding her are beautiful statements of faith. In Ireland, celebrations of St. Brigid’s Eve involved the entire community. Irish missionaries spread the story of this confidant, generous saint throughout Europe.
St. Brigid and her cross are linked together by the story that she wove this form of cross at the death bed of either her father or a pagan lord, who upon hearing what the cross meant, asked to be baptized. One version goes as follows:
A pagan chieftain from the neighborhood of Kildare was dying. Christians in his household sent for Brigid to talk to him about Christ. When she arrived the chieftain was raving. As it was impossible to instruct this delirious man, hopes for his conversion seemed doubtful. Brigid sat down at his bedside and began consoling him. As was customary, the dirt floor was strewn with rushes both for warmth and cleanliness. Brigid stooped down and started to weave them into a cross, fastening the points together. The sick man asked what she was doing. She began to explain the cross, and as she talked his delirium quieted and he questioned her with growing interest. Through her weaving, he converted and was baptized at the point of death. Since then the cross of rushes has been venerated in Ireland.
By the time St. Patrick arrived in the fifth century, Ireland’s conversion to Christianity had been going on for centuries. Never part of the Roman empire, Ireland took elements directly from Egyptian, Greek, and Frankish missionaries.(1) Celtic traditions blended with these sources developing distinct practices.(2)
While not reported in writing until the 17th century, the practice of making a St. Brigid cross is believed to have carried over from pre-Christian times. The cross is associated with the start of spring, the time when the ground can first be prepared and lambs are born.(3) The cross is made of rushes in the shape of a fylfot or swastika.(4)
The first written record of her is found in the 7th century. The basic outline of her story is as follows. St. Brigid’s father, Dubthach, was a member of the tax paying class but not a noble. Her mother, Brocessa, was a slave. As a young woman, Brigid became a consecrated virgin of Christ, the act that allowed her to totally dedicate her life to Christian service.(5) She founded a monastery and a convent in Kildare (Cill-Dara, cell of the oak) around 470 in Ireland. She died in 525 on the same day she was born, February 1.
Many wonderful tales are associated with her generosity. In one story, she gives away her father’s sword to a leper. She is able to provide a constant supply of milk and ale to her guests. Her prayer for a feast in heaven is to have a "great lake of ale...and every drop a prayer" (a recitation of this prayer is on beliefnet). Based on a vision, as a Christian saint she is considered "Mary of the Gaels," the midwife of the Virgin Mary.(6) Churches throughout the world were named after her. According to one source, her initial popularity was spread by the kings of Leinster to further promote their territory. The spread of the word "Brigid" may also be based on the origins of the Irish word Brigi, which means "strength".(7)
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