7.23
Feast of St. Bridget of Sweden

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St. Bridget of Sweden by Eleanor Day

For the Feast of St. Bridget, we recommend the painting “St. Bridget of Sweden” by the Catholic artist Eleanor Day. Find more of her work here.

Saint Bridget, or Birgitta, is the patron saint of Sweden. Her feast day falls during the days when the sun does not set in Scandinavia. The time of year and Bridget’s ceaseless quest for the light of Christ coincide.

Bridget’s father was a governor. He was known as a just man, and his daughter was his heir and disciple.

From her cell, she wrote letters to kings and popes and cardinals and bishops, calling them to account and urging them to work for peace and to act justly in all things.

She married young and bore eight children. Though busy as a wife and mother, she never forgot the poor and needy. She even started a hospital on her own property, and personally cared for the sick in her care.

After her husband died, Bridget gave away all her property and moved to a monastery. She lived a quiet life of prayer and petition. She didn’t only petition God.  From her cell, she wrote letters to kings and popes and cardinals and bishops, calling them to account and urging them to work for peace and to act justly in all things. She even left her monastic home and went to Sweden’s court, where, like Elijah before Ahab and Jezebel, she spoke on behalf of God’s poor and demanded that the court look less to its pleasure and more to holiness.

In 1349, Bridget moved to Rome, where she cared for the sick. She died there in 1373, an old woman, very old for her time, of 69.

Honor Bridget today: write a letter to an elected official today about a matter of justice and demand that justice be done. Then look beyond the walls of your busy life and seek those you can help; continue Bridget’s good work in her good name.

 

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