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