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Mary of the Gael: a remarkable woman of her times.

St Bridget of Ireland

St Brigid of Kildare

Her parents were baptized by St. Patrick, with whom she developed a close friendship. According to legend, her father was Dubhthach, an Irish chieftain of Lienster, and her mother, Brocca, was a slave at his court.

Even as a young girl she clearly showed an interest in the religious life and took the veil in her youth from St. Macaille at Croghan and probably was professed by St. Mel of Armagh, who is believed to have conferred abbatial authority on her.

She settled at the foot of Croghan Hill for a time and about the year 468, followed Mel to Meath. About the year 470 she founded a double monastery at Kildare and was Abbess of the convent, the first in Ireland. The foundation developed into a centre of learning and spirituality, and around it grew up the Cathedral city of Kildare.The cathedral continued to serve the people of Kildare down the centuries, though after the Reformation it gradually fell into disrepair and by 1641 it was totally ruined following the Confederate Wars. It was fully restored in the 19th century. In recent years undergone some further restoration.

Image@http://archiseek.com/2010/1223-st-brigids-cathedral-kildare-co-kildare/#.UuzH_D1_t8E

Cathedral of Kildare image@ http://archiseek.com/2010/1223-st-brigids-cathedral-kildare-co-kildare/#.UuzH_D1_t8E

The foundation developed into a centre of learning and spirituality, and around it grew up the Cathedral  city of Kildare. She founded a school of art at Kildare and its illuminated manuscripts became famous, notably the Book of Kildare, which was praised as one of the finest of all illuminated Irish manuscripts before its disappearance three centuries ago.The Book of Kildare is also known by the name of The Four Gospels of St. Brigid.It contains the Four Gospels according to St. Jerome, and almost every page is illustrated by drawings illuminated with a variety of brilliant colours.

 

Brigid was one of the most remarkable women of her times, and despite the numerous legendary, extravagant, and even fantastic miracles attributed to her, there is no doubt that her extraordinary spirituality, boundless charity, and compassion for those in distress were real.

She died at Kildare on February 1.She is buried at Downpatrick with St. Columba and St. Patrick, with whom she is the patron of Ireland. Her name is sometimes Bridget and Bride. Her feast day is February 1.

 

 

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It is right to celebrate!

all-saints-day-poland

Happy All Saints day!

Pope Benedict XVI said,  ” The world offers you comfort, but you were not made for comfort, you were made for greatness.”  

We are all called to be the best we can be in Christ. Let our brightest light shine. We are called to holiness, closeness to God.  The Saints who precede us reached ‘greatness’ in their own unique way.

Recently, I visited the execution site of St’s Thomas More and John Fisher just outside the London Tower on Tower Hill where they were martyred for their Catholic faith. They died not knowing of their greatness in living their Faith with such tenacity.  It is right to celebrate their lives and to remember their sacrifice.

Image@1catholicsalmon

Image@1catholicsalmon
This is the plaque which includes their names, fixed to the spot where they were beheaded,

John Fisher by Hans Holbein. The Stapleton Collection

Thomas More by Hans Holbein

Hans Holbein the Younger. Sir Thomas More.
© Frick Collection, New York

Read here for details about these two prominent English Saints.

5****All Hallows Eve costumes – Let’s set a new precedent!

Image@https://www.facebook.com/CatholicMemebase

Celebrating your values on All Hallows Eve:

Catholics believe that God is present in all things and in all times. That means that every day on the calendar presents another opportunity to encounter and celebrate the presence of God in our lives. Holidays, whether specifically religious or not, are excellent times to engage in special activities and rituals that help us not only to observe the spirit of the day but also to make a connection between the holiday and our faith.

A Quick History
Halloween as we know it is a mixture of pagan, Christian, civic, and cultural influences. Various cultures have associated the day with witches, ghosts, and goblins. Many people trace its roots to an old Celtic festival when the Celts believed the veil between the living and the dead was particularly thin. It was thought that, on this night, the souls of those who had died could cross over into our mortal world once again. When Christian missionaries won over the hearts of the Celts, this popular feast was moved from spring to fall and celebrated as the feast of the Eve of All Saints Day. Halloween comes from the word hallowed meaning “blessed” or “holy.” So Halloween is the night that eagerly anticipates the celebration of our living connection with all the faithful who have lived and died before us. It is fitting, then, that on the night before All Saints Day, our families remember and celebrate in a special way our belief in the Communion (close connection) of Saints to our own lives.

Why “Trick or Treat”?
In the late 1800s in the United States, youngsters would go around their neighborhoods on Halloween night pulling pranks and doing mischief like soaping windows and toppling outhouses. In the 1920s, various civic groups encouraged the practice of children dressed in costumes going from house to house seeking peace offerings from the householders with the gentle threat: “Your choice, either a trick by us or a treat from you.”

Ways to Celebrate Your Values on Halloween

  1. Your kids can research their favourite saint or the saint they’re named after. They could also dress up as their favourite saint for Halloween.
  2. Tell your children that Halloween can be a festive day to kick off the celebration of All Saints Day. We ask the saints—our spiritual ancestors—to pray for us on our own journey to holiness.
  3. At breakfast, recite a short litany of family members who have died and whom you remember in your prayers. After each name, have everyone say, “Pray for us.”
  4. Have fun! Make a special meal for dinner. Here’s a quick idea for a healthy meal to offset the abundance of sweets treats. Give each child a paper plate. Put out bowls of olives, cucumbers, radishes, raisins, dried apricots or cranberries, cheese sticks, and cold cuts. Have the kids make faces on their plates with the food. They can make scary faces or funny faces or both. Then everyone gets to eat what they created.

Information from Loyola Press.