Who Was St. Brigid?
Brigid, daughter of a Celtic chieftain in eastern Ireland, was born about 453, and baptized by St. Patrick shortly before his death.
A leader of the second generation of Irish Christianity, she became abbess of a community of women and men in Kildare, on the site of a pre-Christian ancient shrine to the Celtic goddess of the same name. Brigid was famed for her hospitality and generosity toward the poor.
Tradition claims that she was also consecrated a bishop, which, if true, means she was the last woman bishop in the Christian Church until the late twentieth-century. In Ireland she is known as “Mary of the Gaels,” and girls are often given her name. Brigid died about 523.
Her feast day is February 1, the ancient Celtic feast of Imbolc, the first day of spring in Ireland, and a time of preparation for the planting of crops and the celebration of new life. Many wells in Ireland bear her name.
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