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Preparing for Spring

Feb 01, 2011 — Categories: , ,

I look forward to the beginning of February, not in anticipation of February 2 as Groundhog Day (which I have never understood anyway), but in celebration of February 1 as the Feast Day of St. Brigit—she who breathes life into the dead of winter.

I look forward to the beginning of February, not in anticipation of February 2 as Groundhog Day (which I have never understood anyway), but in celebration of February 1 as the Feast Day of St. Brigit—she who breathes life into the dead of winter.

In Celtic Christianity, St. Brigit is celebrated as a spiritual leader whose generosity, hospitality, and peacemaking were widely known and revered in 5th century Ireland. She founded the monastery at Kildare in Ireland, which became a community for women serving the needs of the people.

Mary Condren, Director of the Institute for Feminism and Religion in Dublin, comments:

Like community activists and nurturers, Brigit wove the fragile threads of life into webs of community. She invented a shriek alarm for vulnerable women travelling alone, she secured women’s property rights when Sencha, the judge, threatened to abolish them and she freed a slave-trafficked woman. Above all, her bountiful nature (23 out of 32 stories in one of her Lives concern generosity) ensured that the neart (life force) was kept moving for the benefit of all and was not stagnated by greed.

The stories of St. Brigit reveal a woman of faith deeply rooted in the mundane of daily life and attuned to the needs and vulnerabilities of women.

Brigit’s Table Grace
I should like a great lake of finest ale
for all the people.
I should like a table of the choicest foods
for the family of heaven.
Let the ale be made from the fruits of faith,
and the food be for giving love.
I should welcome the poor to my feast,
for they are God’s children.
I should welcome the sick to my feast
for they are God’s joy.
Let the poor sit with Sophia at the highest place and the sick dance with the angels.
Bless the poor, bless the sick,
bless our human race.
Bless our food, bless our drink, all homes,
O God embrace.

From St. Brigid’s Monastery, Kildare. Thanks to Diann Neu at WATER (Women’s Alliance for Theology, Ethics and Ritual) for this prayer from her Celebration of Brigit.

As I celebrate today, February 1, in memory of St. Brigit, I am inspired by her faithful witness to new life even in the midst of the dark days of winter in our hearts and minds.

On a lighter note, those of us in the Church of Baseball are anticipating the celebration of February 15 as a high holy day: the day pitchers and catchers report to spring training. And the “next year” we were waiting for last fall, begins.

Rev. Dr. Marie M. Fortune
FaithTrust Institute
www.faithtrustinstitute.org

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Ancient Women's Witnesses

Posted by Shirley Fessel at Feb 02, 2011 03:12 PM
Thank you for bringing the contributions to women's justice from St. Brigit of long ago to our attention. I'd like to let you know as well that Ally Kateusz has published early Christian images of women in authority and leadership poses before the redirection of the church to patriarchy. These witnesses can be found at www.divinebalance.org. Thank you.