Today the church remembers Brigid (Bride), 523.Born out of wedlock on a sunny morning, Brigid's life and work brought light out of the darkness of early medieval Ireland, Scotland, and Wales. She grew up a milkmaid and cowherd in bondage to the Druids. So many apocryphal fancies have been used to embellish her life story that it is impossible to reconstruct an accurate biography. She was converted to Christianity and she did found a religious order which was mixed, men and women, after the fashion of the Celtic Church. Like Hilda of Whitby she served as abbess of this order in Kildare. Tradition has it that she was consecrated bishop in order to serve in this capacity. Such consecrations of females were not unheard of among the Celtic Christians of the British Isles. She was renowned for her virtue, piety, and charity and came to be so loved and honored among the Gaelic people that she was called "Mary of the Gael."¯ Churches were named for her throughout the British Isles before the coming of the Anglo-Saxons and the Roman Catholic missionaries. A medieval hagiography of Lismore idealized her, saying, "She was abstinent, she was innocent, she was prayerful, she was patient, she was glad in God's commandments, she was firm, she was humble, she was forgiving"¦she was a Temple of God. Her heart and mind were a Throne of Rest for the Holy Ghost."¯ May we, like Brigid, build up our bodies and our minds as temples for the Holy Spirit. Amen.
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Everliving God, we rejoice today in the fellowship of your blessed servant Brigid, and we give you thanks for her life of devoted service. Insipire us with life and light, and give us perserverance to serve you all our days; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.