A Prayer and A Poem In the Spirit of St Brigid

by Christine Sine
St Brigit's cross St Brigit's Episcopal Church, Frederick CO.

St Brigit’s cross St Brigit’s Episcopal Church, Frederick CO.

by Paul Neeley

Saint Brigid of Kildare or Brigid of Ireland (Irish: Naomh Bríd; c. 451–525) is one of Ireland’s patron saints, along with Patrick and Columba. Irish hagiography makes her an early Irish Christian nun, abbess, and founder of several monasteries of nuns, including that of Kildare in Ireland.

Here are 3 contemporary responses to St. Brigid – a prayer, a cross (above), and a poem – all responses to listening across the centuries to the life of the Celtic Saint, Brigid.

I appreciate this prayer to St. Brigid, apparently from Renmore Parish in Galway, Ireland. It’s so relevant for the world today.

Prayer to Saint Brigid

Saint 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.
Amen.

St Brigid’s Cross

The cross above is based on the traditional St Brigit’s cross made of rushes.

Tradition has it that when a pagan chieftain from the neighbourhood of Kildare was dying, Christians in his household sent for Brigit to talk to him about Christ. When she arrived, the chieftain was raving. As it was impossible to instruct this delirious man, hopes for his conversion seemed doubtful. Brigid sat down at his bedside and began consoling him. As was customary, the dirt floor was strewn with rushes both for warmth and cleanliness. Brigid stooped down and started to weave them into a cross, fastening the points together. The sick man asked what she was doing. She began to explain the cross, and as she talked, his delirium quieted and he questioned her with growing interest. Through her weaving, he converted and was baptized at the point of death. Since then, the cross of rushes, known as St Brigid’s cross has existed in Ireland.

A Poem in Honor of St Brigid

Here’s a poem in honor of St. Brigid written by ‘Brigid Claire Oak’ which I found through the Facebook group ‘Celtic Christian Tradition.’ She has given permission to share it here: She notes, “The words came with a little melody and I do sing it, but it is not set to music in an official sense.”

Her habit is
a dancing dress,
her prayer beads, tinkling bells.

She settles in
the sun’s caress,
and drinks from ancient wells.

Her abbey is
a grove of oak,
deep in a forest glen.

From here the Winds
of Wisdom spoke,
from here She’ll speak again.

Her bread’s a hearty
cake of oat,
Her wine’s a honey meade.

She gives away
her shoes and coat,
the hungry she does feed.

Her altar is
a peasant’s heart,
draped in Love’s linen, fair.

The Queen of Heaven,
Prince of Peace,
and angels meet her there.

Her mantle is
the meadow green,
all creatures are her friends.

Those once forgotten,
now are seen,
their brokenness she mends.

Her sacred well’s
a lake of ale,
with roses all around.

Her faith, a currach
setting sail,
her soul is Holy Ground.

Her crozier is
a wand of light,
her mitre; made of fire.

The Shepherdess of good
and right,
compassion and desire.

Her smile’s a message
of God’s care,
and Love that knows no end.

Dear Anamchara of Kildare,
Saint, Abbess,
and Soul-Friend.

May we all continue to listen to the life of St. Brigid, and follow her steps as she followed the steps of Christ.

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