Saint Brigid Patron Saint and Bishop of… – We Are Church Ireland | Facebook

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Saint Brigid
Patron Saint and Bishop of Ireland
Feast day: 1st of February

According to tradition, around 480, Brigid founded a monastery at Kildare (Cill Dara, "church of the oak"), on the site of an older pagan shrine to the Celtic goddess Brigid, served by a group of young women who tended an eternal flame. The site was under a large oak tree on the ridge of Drum Criadh. Brigid, with an initial group of seven companions, is credited with organizing communal consecrated religious life for women in Ireland. She founded two monastic institutions, one for men, and the other for women, and invited Conleth (Conláed), a hermit from Old Connell near Newbridge, to help her in Kildare as spiritual pastor of them. It has often been said that she gave canonical jurisdiction to Conleth, Bishop of Kildare, but Archbishop Healy says that she simply "selected the person to whom the Church gave this jurisdiction", and her biographer tells us distinctly that she chose Saint Conleth "to govern the church along with herself". Thus, for centuries, Kildare was ruled by a double line of abbot-bishops and of abbesses, the Abbess of Kildare being regarded as superior general of the monasteries in Ireland. Her successors have always been accorded Episcopal honour. Brigid's small oratory at Kildare became a centre of religion and learning, and developed into a cathedral city.
Brigid is also credited with founding a school of art, including metal work and illumination, which Conleth oversaw. The Kildare scriptorium made the Book of Kildare, which drew high praise from Gerald of Wales (Giraldus Cambrensis), but which has disappeared since the Reformation. According to Giraldus, nothing that he had ever seen was at all comparable to the book, every page of which was gorgeously illuminated, and he concludes by saying that the interlaced work and the harmony of the colours left the impression that "all this is the work of angelic, and not human skill".

The Trias Thaumaturga says that Brigid spent time in Connacht and founded many churches in the Diocese of Elphin. She is also said to have visited Longford, Tipperary, Limerick, and South Leinster. Her friendship with Saint Patrick is noted in the following paragraph from the Book of Armagh: "inter sanctum Patricium Brigitanque Hibernesium columpnas amicitia caritatis inerat tanta, ut unum cor consiliumque haberent unum. Christus per illum illamque virtutes multas peregit", or Between St Patrick and Brigid, the pillars of the Irish people, there was so great a friendship of charity that they had but one heart and one mind. Through him and through her Christ performed many great works.

When dying, St. Brigid is said to have been given the last rites by St. Ninnidh. Afterwards, he reportedly had his right hand encased in metal so that it would never be defiled, and became known as "Ninnidh of the Clean Hand". Tradition says she died at Kildare on 1 February 525.

St. Brigid is said to have had a female companion named Dar Lugdach, a younger nun whom she shared her bed with. According to tradition, Dar Lugdach succeeded Brigid as abbess of Kildare and, as foretold by Brigit, she died exactly one year after her. The two thus share the same feast day. The name Dar Lugdach (also spelled Dar Lugdacha or Dar Lughdacha) means "daughter of the god Lugh".