Tag Archives: St. Brigid

Saint Brigid of Ireland

Happy St. Brigid’s Day!

Brigid of Ireland by Cindy Thomson, ebookFebruary 1, St. Brigid’s Day, Imbolc in the Celtic calendar, and Ground Hog’s Day (Feb. 2) in the U.S., are associated with the arrival of spring. It certainly feels like spring where I am, although that might not last.

As you might know, the Irish saint Brigid is special to me. Many years ago I began to learn about her, and I thought I should tell people what I learned. Eventually this led to my historical novel. Last year I published a Kindle version. It was only available on Kindle but I will soon change that to make it available in other book formats as well. I have updated the Kindle file with better formatting, which I hope will be available by the time you read this. If you’ve already purchased it, you should be able to go upload the new updated version. Same text, just looks better. And this summer the sequel, Pages of Ireland, should be available in both print and ebook.

Why Brigid is Special

For me, it’s all the stories of her amazing generosity. The miraculous way God restored her goods–the items she gave to the poor–so that she and her followers never went without. The fact that she was born a slave and became the most venerated woman in ancient Irish history.

There are three patron saints of Ireland: Patrick, Brigid, and Columcille. She’s the only woman. And her cross? I had never seen anything quite like it before, and the story behind it intrigued me. Traditionally, school children in Ireland weave a new St. Brigid’s Day cross on this day. The cross has an odd shape, at least to the non Irish. Some say it’s shaped like a wheel and indicates the four seasons.

St. Brigid's Cross

Learn More About St. Brigid

Here are some links to previous blog posts I’ve written on St. Brigid. I’d love to hear what you think.

St. Brigid Stained Glass in Ireland

St. Brigid (center) window in St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Armagh, Northern Ireland

Happy St. Brigid’s Day!, 2011

Happy St. Brigid’s Day, 2012

St. Brigid’s Eve (How to Weave a St. Brigid’s Cross)

St. Brigid’s Day, 2010 (Brigid’s Oat Bread recipe)

One Legend About St. Brigid

About That Sequel, Here’s a Sneak Peek!

“I am Brigid, Abbess of Cill Dara. We welcome you, traveler. You come without a torch, so we assume you seek sanctuary here. You have found it.”

Aine hadn’t realized she had been holding her breath until that moment.

Lowering the cowl from her head, the woman’s hair flowed freely in the night air.

“’Tis you, Brigid! I knew it!”

Brigid clutched the arm of the woman standing next to her as she spoke to Aine. “God be with you, child. There is welcome here for you.” She narrowed her eyes to gaze in the dim light. “Do I know you?”

“I do not blame you for not remembering. I was just a girl when you healed me on the road to Aghade. We learned to read together, remember? My Uncle Cillian taught us.”

Brigid brought a hand to her mouth. By the light of the torch held by one of Cill Dara’s sisters, Aine detected tears forming at the corners of Brigid’s eyes.

“Aine? You are so grown up now.” Brigid reached for the girl and gave her a tight squeeze.

A Giveaway to Prepare for St. Brigid’s Day!

In honor of the upcoming St. Brigid’s Day, I thought I’d host a Goodreads giveaway for a print copy of Brigid of Ireland. Please share!

Get ready for St. Brigid's Day with this Goodreads giveaway: http://wp.me/p5bkeC-iR Click To Tweet

 

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Brigid of Ireland by Cindy Thomson

Brigid of Ireland

by Cindy Thomson

Giveaway ends February 04, 2015.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter to win

Getting Ready for St. Brigid’s Day

Tired of winter?

Don’t worry. Soon it will be St. Brigid’s Day.

Brigid of Ireland by Cindy Thomson, ebookIn many parts of Ireland St. Brigid’s Day signifies the beginning of spring. Similar to Ground Hog’s Day, folks would look for signs that warmer weather was coming. Count the hedgehogs you see. Note the new lambs being born. Return to your fishing boat. It’s St. Brigid’s Day!

Why St. Brigid?

I’m often asked how I got interested in St. Brigid. The answer is in her stories—or rather the stories told about her. Unlike St. Patrick who left some of his writings for prosperity, the stories about the life of St. Brigid were written at least a hundred years after her death. But they still make fascinating reading, even when you take into account that monks often wrote these as a kind of propaganda—our saint is better than your saint so you pilgrims should come to Kildare to spend your coins and trade your goods for blessings and sacred inspiration.

Hmmm. Maybe this was a type of storytelling competition. I would give the upper hand to Cogitosus, the monk at Kildare who wrote The Life of St. Brigit the Virgin and to the fifteenth century scribe of Beatha Bhrighdi (The Life of Brigid) found in the Leabhar Breac (The Speckled Book.)

A Story or Two About Brigid

Some brief examples:

From the Leabhar Breac on Brigid’s birth:

“The prophet said that the child that would be brought forth on the morrow at sunrise, and neither within the house nor without, shall surpass every child in Ireland.”

Apparently, Brigid’s mother gave birth to her as she was coming in from the morning’s milking. She slipped on the threshold, fell, and right there Brigid was born, just as the prophet had predicted: neither inside nor outside the house.

In my book, Celtic Wisdom: Treasures From Ireland, I recount the legend of Brigid and her father’s cherished sword. Apparently Brigid had been so generous with the poor that her father decided he could no longer afford to keep her. He decided to put her into the King of Leinster’s service.

St. Brigid mural

Mural at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Armagh showing St. Brigid and the King of Leinster

Dubthach took Brigid in his chariot and traveled to the castle. He bid her to stay put outside while he inquired of the king. While he was gone, a beggar happened by. Being away from the dairy, the supply of food from which she had fed the poor, Brigid searched for something to give the poor man and spotted the gleam of metal in the sun. She pulled out her father’s sword from beneath some blankets. It was not an ordinary sword, but one with a jewel-encrusted hilt. Just as she was handing it over to the beggar, her father returned with the king. Dubthach declared that this was just the reason he had to be rid of her. The king, being as wise as his position required, asked Brigid whether, if she were to be under his authority, she would give away his cattle and possessions. Brigid answered truthfully. If she had all the wealth of the King of Leinster, she would give it away to the poor in the name of God. The king was humbled by this reply and told her father that she was far nobler than either of them. He gave Dubthach a sword to replace the one given away and granted Brigid (who had been her father’s slave) her freedom.

Stories > Novel

Story after story declared Brigid’s heart for people and how God showed her favor. I thought, what if those things actually did happen? What would that look like? And then I wrote a whole novel about her. I still enjoy her stories and am inspired by her generosity and selflessness.

St. Brigid’s Day is this coming Sunday. You might weave a cross or bake some bread and look forward to the generosity of the rebirth of the earth—spring!