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Ordinary Time: February 1st

Saturday of the Third Week of Ordinary Time; Feast of St. Brigid, Virgin (Ireland) (NZ, Opt. Mem.)

Daily Readings for: February 01, 2014
(Readings on USCCB website)

Collect: Almighty ever-living God, direct our actions according to your good pleasure, that in the name of your beloved Son we may abound in good works. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

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Old Calendar: St. Ignatius, bishop and martyr;

Surnamed "the Mary of the Gael," St. Brigid was born at Faughart, near Dundalk. She took the veil in her youth and eventually founded the nunnery of Kildare, the first to be erected on Irish soil, thus becoming the spiritual mother of all Irish nuns. Around her name there have been formed hundreds of legends, which could be fittingly described as "the Little Flowers of St. Brigid," the keynote being mercy and pity for the poor.

According to the 1962 Missal of Bl. John XXIII the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite, today is also the feast of St. Ignatius. His feast in the Ordinary Form of the Roman Rite is celebrated on October 17.


St. Brigid
Bridget (Brigid, Bride, Bridey) of Kildare was born around 450 into a Druid family, being the daughter of Dubhthach, court poet to King Loeghaire. At an early age, Brigid decided to become a Christian, and she eventually took vows as a nun. Together with a group of other women, she established a nunnery at Kildare. She was later joined by a community of monks led by Conlaed. Kildare had formerly been a pagan shrine where a sacred fire was kept perpetually burning. Rather than stamping out this pagan flame, Brigid and her nuns kept it burning as a Christian symbol. (This was in keeping with the general process whereby Druidism in Ireland gave way to Christianity with very little opposition, the Druids for the most part saying that their own beliefs were a partial and tentative insight into the nature of God, and that they recognized in Christianity what they had been looking for.) As an abbess, Brigid participated in several Irish councils, and her influence on the policies of the Church in Ireland was considerable.

Many stories of her younger days deal with her generosity toward the needy.

Patron: Babies; blacksmiths; boatmen; cattle; chicken farmers; children whose parents are not married; dairymaids; dairy workers; fugitives; infants; Ireland; Leinster; mariners; midwives; milk maids; newborn babies; nuns; poets; poultry farmers; poultry raisers; printing presses; sailors; scholars; travelers; watermen.

Symbols: Abbess; usually holding a lamp or candle; often with a cow nearby.

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