Sunday, February 01, 2004
Week 3: “A day in the life of…”
I know most people are probably going to do a day in the life of themselves, but I talk so much about myself in this space that I thought I’d do something a little different. Today is the feast day in the Catholic and Episcopal calendars commemorating Saint Brigid of Ireland, one of my favorite saints to read about, and one that I would love to pattern my life after. (I actually once had a dream about being like St. Brigid.) So I will give you an overview of her life on this, her commemoration day.
Brigid of Ireland (c. 460-525) was ultimately famous for being the abbess of the monastery at Kildare, which was unusual in that it had both a convent for women and a monastery for men. The men and women came together in one church for worship. Kildare was famous for being a center of learning, having an art school which became famous for its metalwork and for the copying of manuscripts in its scriptorium. (The concept of the monastery scriptorium is the inspiration for the title of this blog.)
Brigid was also famous for her charity in her early life. She couldn’t bear to see anyone cold or hungry, so often gave her own food and clothing to the poor, leaving herself with nothing to eat or wear. Once she had given away all of her own possessions, she began giving away her family’s things, much to the consternation of her father. (This is part of where I tend to be like her, in a VERY SMALL way. I have a bad habit, as my friends will tell you, of volunteering other people’s time, treasure, and talents, sometimes without asking them first. I realize that this is not necessarily a virtue, and am working on restraining myself to only giving what I have to give, and not coercing others to join in. :^}) The most famous incident of Brigid giving away the things of others is when she gave her father’s sword, which was extremely valuable, to a leper. He tried to marry her off to get rid of this drain on his resources, but she took vows instead. She then went about establishing convents all over Ireland, and is now one of the three patron saints of Ireland, along with Patrick and Columba of Iona. She is also the patron saint of babies, blacksmiths, boatmen, cattle, chicken farmers, children whose parents are not married, dairymaids, dairy workers, fugitives, infants, mariners, midwives, milk maids, newborn babies, nuns, poets, poultry farmers, poultry raisers, printing presses, sailors, scholars, travellers, and watermen. That’s a lot to be responsible for!
I see that this post is getting very long, but I want to include one more thing—a prayer which is attributed to Brigid, which I really enjoy:
I should like a great lake of finest ale for the King of Kings.
I should welcome the poor to my feast,
God bless the poor, God bless the sick, and bless our human race.
Hi, I'm Debi. Once in a while I have a thought and I like to write it down before it goes away. This is where I write it.
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a cup of Rich