Wednesday, 6 February 2013

Hymn to Saint Brigid

The series of hymns from the work of Sister Mary Francis Cusack concludes with a nineteenth-century composition. This one received the endorsement of the then Archbishop of Westminster, Henry Edward Manning, one of the famous Anglican converts to Catholicism in Victorian England.  Unlike modern hymns which depict concern for the protection of the environment as Saint Brigid's main priority, this one views her as a helper in the Christian struggle against sin and the devil and extols the idea of perseverance in the face of suffering. I note too that our male patron Saint Patrick is at her side:


Saint Brigid, Saint most holy,
Dear Patron of our Isle,
Oh, keep us meek and lowly
Whatever foes beguile!
Watch o'er our sea-girt island,
Thy mantle spread around,
As once thou didst extend it
On Curragh's holy ground.  

Ask that God's saints may bless us
With blessings not a few;
What can we fear of evil
With Patrick and with you?
Make the holy still more holy,
Make the pure ones still more pure-
With thy protection, Brigid,
Of blessings we are sure.

Pray for us, saintly maiden.
Pray for thy own dear isle.
And keep us from the tempter.
From sin and every guile.
Oh, make our faith still stronger.
Our patience yet more sure.
And teach us that the victor
Must to the end endure.

Pray for us, then, St. Brigid,
Thy children we would be.
And guide us up to heaven.
To Patrick and to thee.
We fight for crowns eternal,
We suffer but to win,
And he must fight who conquers
The tempter and the sin.*

Hail, Mary.

* “We hereby grant an Indulgence of Forty Days to all who shall devoutly recite the Hymn of St. Brigid, with one Hail Mary.


"Archbishop of Westminster
February 20th, 1868."

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