St Bridget, Co-Patron of Europe

Galatians 2.19-20; Psalm 33; John 15.1-8

Birgitta of Sweden (c1303-73), daughter of the wealthy governor of Uppland, was married to Prince Ulf at the age of 13. They had eight children (including St Catherine of Sweden). Ulf died in 1344 after a pilgrimage to Compostela and Bridget retired to a life of penance and prayer and founded the Order of the Most Holy Saviour (commonly known as the Bridgettines), devoted to devotion to the Passion of Christ, at the former royal castle of Vadstena. In a vision in 1350 she heard God command her to come to Rome, and she obeyed, never to return to Sweden. She exercised a wide apostolate among both rich and poor, sheltering the homeless. Her mystical visions were widely circulated throughout Europe. She worked untiringly for the return of the Papacy from Avignon. She was spurred by a vision to visit the Holy Lands in 1372, and died shortly after her return to Rome.

The Bridgettines are particularly noted for their ministry of hospitality. Their nuns wear a very distinctive metal “Crown of Five Wounds,” a cross with five red stones imposed.

Posted in Daily Reflection.