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Exvotos. Nicolas de Tolentino, Our Lady of Guadalupe, La Santisima Virgen de San Juan de los Lagos, Santa Maria, Madre de la Luz, Santa Rita de Casia, Santiago Matamoro, Our Lady of The Secret Cave. Mexico. 1880-1954.

February 1 is the feast day of St. Brigid of Kildare.  One of the patron saints of Ireland, Saint Brigid (sometimes spelled Brigit) of Kildare was born c. A.D. 450.  Her mother was a slave, and her father was an Irish Chieftain.  Her father was a pagan, but her mother was a Christian who had been baptized by Saint Patrick.  

Much of Saint Brigid’s life is shrouded in the murk of legend and time gone by.  But the stories show that Brigid was a holy and generous girl.  Her generosity irked her Druid father, especially when she gave his jeweled sword to a beggar and told him to sell it for food to feed his family.  

Brigid’s father tried to marry her off and get rid of her.  But at 15 she decided to take vows to become a nun.  Before she was 30 the local bishop asked her to found a convent. The convent was at Kildare; in Gaelic Kildare means “Church of the Oak.”  Oak trees were sacred to Druids, indicating that the convent had been erected on a spot where such a tree had once stood.  But now people came from all over Ireland not for pagan worship, but to learn about Christ.

A monastery was built next to the convent, and Saint Brigid also presided over a school of artisans that produced beautiful illuminated manuscripts of Scripture.  As Brigid had been a holy and generous child, Kildare became renowned for holiness and generosity throughout Ireland

Saint Brigid of Kildare, pray for us.

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“The lives of the saints are filled with inspiring, life-changing moments—but the deaths of the martyrs are where you’ll find the real “Oh, hell no!” moments of history. This adult (very adult, as the body count will quickly indicate) coloring book gives aspiring crayon and paper artists the chance to hone their craft while also buffing up their knowledge of Catholic history and tales. The attending stories will go down pretty easy at cocktail hours as well.”

February 1 is the feast day of St. Brigid of Kildare.  

Saint Brigid’s Cross is one of the most important symbols of Ireland, along with the shamrock and harp. According to tradition, Brigid was summoned to the bedside of a dying chieftain.  In some versions of the story, the chieftain is her father, but all versions agree that the chieftain was a pagan.  Nonetheless, the chief had Christian slaves not unlike Brigid and her mother.  They called Saint Brigid to come and share the Gospel with their master.

When Brigid arrived, the pagan chieftain was delirious with a high fever, rendering any discussion pointless.  So she sat on the rush-strewn floor and waited.  As she waited, she wove the reeds together into the shape of a cross. While Brigid was weaving, the chieftain regained his senses and began to ask her what she was doing.  She was able to tell the man of our Lord’s death and resurrection, and he was converted and requested baptism shortly before dying.

Though Saint Brigid’s Cross of woven rushes arose in a specific time, and is a symbol of a specific place, it is a powerful symbol because it speaks to the timeless message of Christ for people and all nations.   

Saint Brigid of Kildare, pray for us.

The  Anima  Christi  

Soul of Christ, sanctify me.
Body of Christ, heal me.
Blood of Christ, drench me.
Water from the side of Christ, wash me.
Passion of Christ, strengthen me.
Good Jesus, hear me.
In Your wounds shelter me.
From turning away keep me.
From the evil one protect me.
At the hour of my death call me.
Into Your presence lead me,
to praise You with all Your saints
for ever and ever.
Amen  

~  St. Ignatius Loyola

January 21 is the feast day of Saint Agnes.  She was a young Roman virgin, martyred in the early fourth century, at the age of 12 or 13, for following Christ.  Saint Agnes is an exemplar of chastity and the patron of young girls, engaged couples and gardeners.  She is often pictured with a lamb because her name sounds similar to the Latin word for lamb, agnus.

Prayer to St. Agnes, Virgin and Martyr

O Little St. Agnes, so young and yet made so strong and wise by the power of God, protect by your prayers all the young people of every place whose goodness and purity are threatened by the evils and impurities of this world.

Give them strength in temptation and a true repentance when they fail.  Help them to find true Christian friends to accompany them in following the Lamb of God and finding safe pastures in His Church and in her holy sacraments.

May you lead us to the wedding banquet of heaven to rejoice with you and all the holy virgin martyrs in Christ who lives and reigns forever and ever.

Amen.

Saint Agnes, pray for us.

Agnus Dei, qui tollis peccata mundi, miserere nobis.