Happy St. Brigid’s Day

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A long, long time ago, back around 425 A.D. Ireland, there lived a woman named Brigid. She was an Christian nun. Maybe. Brigid might also have been a Celtic goddess. (Chicken/Egg, etc.)

Either way, February 1st is St. Brigid’s Day. Apparently, the nun version of the story claims that she performed many miracles, including healing the sick and feeding the poor.

“According to one tale, as a child, she once gave away her mother’s entire store of butter. The butter was then replenished in answer to Brigid’s prayers .Around the age of ten, she was returned as a household servant to her father, where her habit of charity led her to donate his belongings to anyone who asked. (Man, would that be irritating, or what?)

Her father was so annoyed with her that he took her in a chariot to the King of Leinster to sell her. While the father was talking to the king, Brigid gave away his jewelled sword to a beggar to barter it for food to feed his family. The king recognized her holiness and convinced Dubthach to grant his daughter her freedom.” (link)

Crazy kid, right? But eventually, Brigid founded monasteries, created women’s religious organizations and did all sorts of good stuff – precisely the type of stuff that gets one the title “Saint.”

Another fun story along the way to sainthood: “In one story, Brigid protected a woman from a nobleman who had entrusted a silver brooch to the woman for safekeeping but then secretly thrown it into the sea. He charged her with stealing it, knowing that he could take her as a slave if a judge ruled in his favour. The woman fled and sought refuge with Brigid’s community. By chance, one of her fishermen hauled in a fish which, when cut open, proved to have swallowed the brooch. The nobleman freed the woman, confessed his sin, and bowed in submission to Brigid.” (link)

Why am I going on about St. Brigid?  After all, today is St. Brigid’s Day, and the first day of the “Feast of Imbolc..” Any event with “feast”in the title is okay by me.

The reason I even know any of this stuff is this:

St. Brigid had a bunch of followers who were called Mac giolla Brighde or, in Scottish, Mac gille Brighde, and translates as “The son of the follower of St. Brigid.”

Mac gille Brigdhe became…

Mac Brighde, which became…

MacBridie, which became…

McBride.

And that’s why I know about Brigit. Enjoy your feast!

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9 COMMENTS

  1. WOW, you are descended from an actual Saint! With all she was doing, when did she find time to give birth to your ancestor? No wonder you are such a good person, you carry her goodness in your genes (maybe). Lovely story! I was on Virtual Pedigree lately, and linked up to Queen Boudicca of Scotland, gotta love the Celts.

  2. Wasn’t she also a great advocate for the education of women? Founded a school/university? Evidently she and the Abbesses after her had Epicopal authority equal to the Bishops there… and for generations the Bishops/Abbesses governed the Church equally together. She was quite a woman.

    (My family history in Ireland is two-fold… Viking raiders that integrated with the locals in the 3rd-4th century and 13th century Scottish refugees – King Edward considered my family as unruly.)

  3. Great Brig! *catches my eye right away*

    Brig (as a Celtic goddess) is supposed to have been honored by the Brigante tribe of Brythons who lived in the mountainous midsection of Britain. I’ll soon be publishing historical-fantasy novels set in 6th century England. The heroine, always striving to live to the highest ideals of her culture, calls on Brig for aid.
    Aid sometimes comes, but with a comment by the messenger, “Brig had nothing to do with it,” for the fickle Fair Folk have no true care for the welfare of human folk.

    By the end of the 5-book series, she learns to have faith in the greater, truer power that belongs to mankind. I’m currently wrangling with the ending of the last book in the series where a Culdee hermit brings out laboriously-copied scrolls with passages from scripture: possibly Psalm 143:8-10, Isaiah 42:14-16, Isaiah 30:20-21, or Luke 11:9-13.

    And lost silver brooches? There’s a stolen silver brooch at the heart of my novel set in 9th century Norway, newly released TROLL AND TRYLLERI.

    Today’s blog surely rang chimes with me today! Always a delight to read your posts.
    (more book info at joyceholt.com)

Add your 2¢. (Be nice.)