Today marks the first day of Spring St Brigid’s Day, and/or Imbolg.
As a 4 year old in baby infants in my alma mater Brigidine Convent Abbeyleix one of the first stories I remember Sr Savio reading to us was about Brigid’s cloak.
St. Brigid went to the King of Leinster to ask for land to build a convent. She told the king that the place where she stood was the perfect place for a convent. It was beside a forest where they could collect firewood. There was also a lake nearby that would provide water and the land was fertile. The king laughed at her and refused to give her any land. Brigid prayed to God and asked him to soften the king’s heart. Then she smiled at the king and said “will you give me as much land as my cloak will cover?” The king thought that she was joking and because Brigid’s cloak was so small he knew that it would only cover a very small piece of land. The king agreed and Brigid spread her cloak on the ground. She asked her four friends to hold a corner of the cloak and walk in opposite directions. The four friends walked north, south, east and west. The cloak grew immediately and began to cover many acres of land. The king was astonished and he realized that she had been blessed by God. The king fell to the ground and knelt before Brigid and promised her and her friends money, food and supplies. Soon afterwards, the king became a Christian and also started to help the poor. Brigid’s miracle of the cloak was the first of many miracles that she worked for the people of Ireland
The making of a St. Brigid’s cross was mandatory and at home the cross was hung by the door and in the rafters in the cow sheds to protect the house and sheds from fire and evil. A new cross was made each St Brigid’s Day, and the old one burned to keep fire from the house.
The Brigidine Order was founded in 1807 when Daniel Delany, Bishop of Kildare and Leighlin Ireland, invited six women to form a religious community in Tullow, Co Carlow on the first of February. He named them the Sisters of Saint Brigid, the Brigidine Sisters, after the great 5th century Saint of Kildare.
The Brigidine Order focused on the gospel message, spirituality, the spirit of strength and kindness and an expansive vision of education. The Brigidine Order certainly lived up to this providing an outstanding education, academic, moral and spiritual to many of us with the necessary sternness, kindness and love.
Lá féile Bríd sona daoibh go léir.
©Rev Brenda O’Grady