Friday, February 01, 2008

Feast: St. Brigid of Ireland February 1st

I would like the angels of Heaven to be among us.
I would like an abundance of peace.
I would like full vessels of charity.
I would like rich treasures of mercy.
I would like cheerfulness to preside over all.
– St. Brigid of Ireland (d. 525)

We love St. Brigid of Ireland around here -- String Bean's middle name is Brigid -- and so we always make a big deal out of this saint.

Reading in our Saints: A Year in Faith and Art we read that Brigid lived in Ireland in the 6th century, dying sometime around 525. She was as the Abbess of Kildare Monastery and is second only to St. Patrick for loyalty amidst the Irish. She is the patron of milkmen (she was said to have worked on a dairy farm), poets, blacksmiths, healers, cows and all farmyard animals. Her name is of Celtic origin and means "strong, powerful, exalted".

Last night I made this St. Brigid's Barm Brack in honor of today's saint. This recipe, taken from Cooking with the Saints (a classic for any home trying to cook to the liturgical year), is a wonderful Irish fruit bread. The directions said to make it the night before and then serve the next day, slathered in butter (after all Brigid is the "dairy saint"). The bread is chock full of raisins, golden raisins and currants (which sat in hot tea for a few hours to plump), a bit of candied fruit peel, and really tastes wonderful -- even for those who usually don't like fruit bread.

Prayer to St. Brigid
You were a woman of peace.
You brought harmony where there was conflict.
You brought light to the darkness.
You brought hope to the downcast.
May the mantle of your peace cover those who are troubled and anxious,
and may peace be firmly rooted in our hearts and in our world.
Inspire us to act justly and to reverence all God has made.
Brigid you were a voice for the wounded and the weary.
Strengthen what is weak within us.
Calm us into a quietness that heals and listens.
May we grow each day into greater wholeness in mind, body and spirit.


Surprised by Joy said...

Happy feast day to you all!


Leonie said...

Yummy! We made Irish Soda bread, also with fruit...And I loved the meaning of the name Brigid. Very strong name.