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Ordinary Time: July 23rd
Optional Memorial of St. Bridget, religious
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Patron saint of Sweden, Bridget married a young prince and lived happily with him for 28 years, bearing him eight children. St. Catherine of Sweden was their daughter. After her husband died, Bridget founded the Order of the Most Holy Savior, erecting at Vadstena a double monastery for monks and nuns. Following the guidance of the Holy Spirit, she later went to Rome, where she worked for the return of the Popes from Avignon. She died of natural causes in 1373, at the age of seventy-one. This Scandinavian mystic is famous for her Revelations concerning the sufferings of our Redeemer.
According to the 1962 Missal of St. John XXIII, the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite, today is the feast of St. Apollinaris. His feast in the Ordinary Form of the Roman Rite is celebrated on July 20. It is also the feast of St. Liborius, the son of an important family in Gaul, who became Bishop of Le Mans and played a leading part in spreading Christianity in Gaul at the end of the fourth century. St. Bridget's feast in the 1962 Missal of St. John XXIII the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite is celebrated on October 8.
St. Bridget of Sweden
St. Bridget received visions of Christ’s suffering many times throughout her life and went on to found the order of the Most Holy Savior.
Daughter of Birger Persson, the governor and provincial judge of Uppland, and of Ingeborg Bengtsdotter, Bridget was born in Sweden in 1303. From the time she was a child, she was greatly devoted to the passion of Jesus.
When she was only ten, it is recorded that she had a vision of Jesus on the cross and heard him say, “Look at me, my daughter."
"Who has treated you like this?" cried little Bridget.
Jesus answered, "Those who despise me and refuse my love for them.” From that moment on, Bridget tried to stop people from offending Jesus.
When she was 14, Bridget married an 18-year old man named Ulf. Like Bridget, Ulf had set his heart on serving God. They had eight children, of whom one was St. Catherine of Sweden. Bridget and Ulf also served the Swedish court, Bridget as the queen's personal maid. Bridget tried to help King Magnus and Queen Blanche lead better lives, however, for the most part, they did not listen to her.
All her life, Bridget had marvelous visions and received special messages from God. In obedience to them, she visited many rulers and important people in the Church. She explained humbly what God expected of them.
After her husband died, Bridget put away her rich clothes and lived as a poor nun. Later, in 1346, she began the order of the Most Holy Savior, also known as Bridgettines. She still kept up her own busy life, traveling about doing good everywhere she went. And through all this activity, Jesus continued to reveal many secrets to her, which she received without the least bit of pride.
Shortly before she died, the saint went on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. At the shrines there, she had visions of what Jesus had said and done in each place.
All St. Bridget's revelations on the sufferings of Jesus were published after her death.
St. Bridget died in Rome on July 23, 1373. She was proclaimed a saint by Pope Boniface IX in 1391.
St. Bridget founded the Order of the Most Holy Savior (Bridgettines) at Vadstena in 1346. It received confirmation by Pope Urban V in 1370, and survives today. The new branch of the order was refounded by Blessed Elisabeth Hesselblad and has grown substantially, around the world.
—Excerpted from the Catholic News AgencyPatron:
Europe; Sweden; widows. Symbols:
Pilgrim's staff, bottle and wallet; open book and dove; crosier, lute and chain; taper; heart charged with cross; book; head and cross; pilgrim's staff; shell.Often Portrayed As:
Abbess in Bridgettine robes with a cross on her forehead, and holding a book and pilgrim's staff; nun enthroned, with Christ above her and hell below, while she gives books to the emperor and kings; nun giving a book to Saint Augustine; nun in ecstasy before the crucifix with instruments of the Passion nearby; nun reading, holding a cross, with builders in the background; nun with a cross on her brow witnessing the Birth of Christ (one of her visions); nun with shells (a sign of pilgrimage), sewn on her habit; nun writing with a pilgrim's equipage nearby; nun writing with an angel hovering over her shoulder, often whispering in her ear; nun writing with Christ and the Virgin appearing before her; small child at the Scourging of Christ (one of her visions). Things to Do:
- From the Catholic Culture Library, two articles by Pope John Paul II — St. Bridget: A Unique Model of Feminine Holiness, Three Co-Patronesses of Europe and Saint Birgitta.
- St. Bridget was a member of the Franciscan Third Order. If you have never considered joining one of the Church's order's for lay people today might be a good time to think about it. Learn more about becoming a secular Franciscan.
- You may want to purchase a copy of Revelations of St. Bridget on the Life and Passion of Our Lord and the Life of His Blessed Mother which contains excerpts from her revelations.
- You might like to read about St. Birgitta of Sweden's Influence in Finland.
- The Birgittine Order now has thirteen monasteries of contemplative nuns and a congregation of contemplative-apostolic sisters whose motherhouse is in Rome, in the actual former dwelling of St. Birgitta. For information about the sisters here are some websites: About the Birgittine Nuns in Vadstena, Birgittine Sisters and About the Brigittine sisters.
- The Brigittine Monks existed from the 14th to the middle of the 19th century, when they were dispersed, largely due to European wars. (In 1970, a Brigittine Monk, Richard Reynolds, martyr, was declared a saint.) This monastery, the 1st in over 100 years, was founded in 1976 and has the Canonical status of a Priory “Sui Juris.” If you want to know about the monks visit Brigittine Monks of the Order of the Most Holy Savior.
- Read about the saints of the Brigittine order and more about Bl. Elizabeth Hesselblad who refounded the order.
- The Catholic Encyclopedia has this to say about the Brigittines.
- You may want to buy some delicious chocolate made by the monks or purchase a Brigittine Rosary.