Happy St. Bríghde Day!

Image by Jonas from Pixabay

Greetings! Happy St. Bríghde of Ireland’s Feast Day!

St. Bríghde is pronounced Breejya, in Gaelic. She is also known as St. Brigid or St. Bridget.

I saw a stranger yestereen;
I put food in the eating place,
drink in the drinking place,
music in the listening place,
and in the name of the Triune
he blessed myself and my house,
my cattle and my dear ones,
and the lark said in her song:
Often, often, often,
goes the Christ in the stranger’s guise…
often, often, often,
goes Christ in the stranger’s guise.

~ Irish Rune of St. Brigid’s Hospitality

Besides, founding a famous monastery that blessed and bettered her country, 5th century St. Brigid was instrumental in implementing educational, and artistic centres, enhancing her community through charity, hospitality and medical support.

With her great faith and pure heart, she humbly performed miracles, perceiving Christ in all.

St. Brigid continues to intercede for us, whenever we reach out to her as a heavenly friend. She is the patroness of dairy workers, infants, midwives, blacksmiths, poets, nuns, and students.

Let us praise St. Brigid, and emulate her in seeing Christ in others!

How to make St. Brigid Day green rush crosses… Instructions found on St. Sophia website via The Ark #8 (Youth Quarterly) on pages 25-27. 

Today is also St. Valentine the Presbyter’s Feast Day! (also celebrated on July 6th in the Eastern Church) ❤️

Tomorrow is one of the Great Twelve Feasts of our Lord – The Meeting of the Lord in the Temple.

Snowdrop Flowers also known as Candlemas Bells, are associated with this ancient Feast Day!

I composed my own (very rustic) simple folk-hymn of praise, honouring St. Brigid of Ireland, and set it to the tune of an ancient Irish melody of unknown origin, as heard below – accompanied by ukulele.


Holy St. Brigid, pray to God for us!

A Valentine

Image by PhotoMix Company Pixabay

Who is St. Valentine?

I remember my young Baptist mind being astounded there were actually two Saints from “forever ago” with real names! But why only two (St. Valentine and St. Patrick) I wondered, when we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses!?

In secular society, “Valentine’s Day” is given the nod – but mostly to a cupid logo substitution, removal of the saint title, and the “V” changed to small case. Peddling Festivities is not a new thing either. Sales and Marketing in the Retail World quietly sweep holy days under a generic blanket of holiday commercialism.

For Orthodox Christians, St. Valentine’s Day and all the saints’ days every day of the year, are glorious opportunities to learn more of our heavenly friends. By celebrating their summits of virtue, their struggles, courage, and pure love of God… we too, learn how to emulate them.

Children are instinctively drawn to the sweet essence of kindness and love remembering St. Valentine. Like St. Patrick’s Day, St. Valentine’s Day can open a wonderful lead into sharing the lives of other daily saints. God’s Love is true Love. His Perfect Love strengthens and blesses the bonds of spouses, families, friends, and neighbours.

The Saviour knocks on the Door of our Heart. He waits patiently for us to hear Him, to open the door, and to let Him in.

When we give our whole heart to Christ, He in turn refills it with so much Love, that it overflows with Joy!  

For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. ~ Matthew 6:21

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. ~ 1 Corinthians 13:13

With Love in Christ.

St. Brigid of Ireland

St. Brigid’s Cross woven with Rushes and photo by Irena

On February 14th/1st we celebrate St. Brigid of Ireland and St. Valentine.

Born in 451, St. Brigid (pronounced Bree-jyah in Gaelic) was the daughter of Dubtach, a pagan king. Brocca, her mother, was a Christian Pictish slave, baptized by St. Patrick himself.

Even as a child, Brigid noticed poverty and destitution. She responded by giving away her own and her family’s considerable possessions to people in need. This generosity did not meet with her father’s approval, who complained to a friend that his daughter was bankrupting the household. His friend answered, “Let her be… She has more virtue before God, than either you or I.”

Brigid followed her desire to be a nun and was tonsured by St. Mael, Bishop of Armagh, who was a nephew of St. Patrick.

She established a monastic community with several other young women, located under a large oak tree. It became known as the Church of the Oak (in Gaelic Cill-Dara)… sometimes she is called Brigid of Kildare.

The community grew in numbers, reputation and achievement. Brigid was the abbess, and continued her care for the poor, selling whatever she had to give them what they needed. People who lived in the area flocked to the monastery to receive medical help, food, and to pray with the nuns. They would often see the abbess out in the fields, tending to the community’s cattle. Brigid and the sisters cared for the local children and established schools for them. Others heard of these efforts, and before long, the abbess travelled Ireland to start schools, to oversee the building of hospitals, and encourage people in their faith… by her own steadfast, cheerful example. 

Under Brigid’s direction, the monastery itself became an art school, where metal work and manuscript illumination (decoration of manuscript pages with coloured figures and designs) were taught. The products of this school included a Gospel book, famously beautiful for its harmony of colors and intricate designs. To some it almost seemed that this Book of Kildare must have been the work of angels… with humans merely copying the figures shown to them by the angels. Unfortunately, this book and many other Christian relics throughout the land were lost during King Henry VIII’s destruction and pillaging of holy sites.

When St. Brigid died in 525 AD, the nuns kept a fire burning in an enclosure at her Kildare convent. This fire burned for centuries, tended by the Sisters and did not burn out until 1220 AD. It was re-lit and burned for another 400 years.

St. Brigid’s association with fire and the closeness of her feast day to the Feast of the Meeting of our Lord in the Temple (also known as Candlemas), a day celebrating Christ as the Light Unto the Nations, links the two Feasts. 

St. Brigid is also affectionately known as Bride, Bridey, or the Mary of the Gael. She is patroness of dairy maids, infants, midwives, blacksmiths, poets, nuns, and students.

Along with Saints Patrick and Columba (Columcille), she is also the patroness of Ireland. St. Brigid is usually depicted in icons as a nun with a Cross woven from rushes and with fire (a candle, lamp, or bowl of fire).

Here is a link to my simple folk song praising St. Brigid of Ireland.

It is said the origin of the St. Brigid’s cross came when she was called to the bedside of a dying pagan chieftain. While sitting with the dying man, St. Brigid picked up some rushes from the floor and began to weave them into a cross. The sick man asked her what she was doing, and St. Brigid told him of Jesus Christ. Before he died, the chieftain become a Christian.

How to make a St. Brigid Cross, woven from rushes.

As Christians, we are called to help provide for the poor and needy (not just during spells of cold weather).

May we acquire the gift to see Christ in every person, as St. Brigid did.

Christmas Lights Bring Joy in March

O sing unto the Lord a new song: sing unto the Lord, all the earth. ~ Psalm 96:1

What a brilliant idea! Christmas Lights are being put up again outside people’s homes. Countless numbers of people are doing this.

The lights reflect a visible tribute of gratitude to our courageous community champions, who work the dangerous frontlines during this epic time. Valentine shaped heart cutouts appearing on homemade front yard billboards, windows, mailboxes and telephone poles, collectively honour them too.

At 7 pm each night in Canada and around the world, people in neighbourhoods  everywhere stand on their front porches to give a two minute standing ovation for the essential services workers. Whether by clapping our hands, banging pots and pans, ringing bells, or cheering… we proclaim a united, appreciative THANK YOU for selfless dedication.

It gives goosebumps and an uncustomary lump in one’s throat hearing this resonate simultaneously throughout neighbourhoods and cities.

It’s not surprising two expressive symbols of Light and Love are being used to  show our love and gratitude for others during this time. Christmas Lights reflect humankind’s hope and joy, celebrating Jesus Christ’s Birth. St. Valentine Hearts honour a special saint known for great faith and love for others.

During these trying times when we must practice physical distancing from each other, somehow we’ve grown much closer together in spirit.

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