Tuesday, 4 February 2014

Saint Brigid: 'dispenser of good cheer'.

M.F. Cusack, Trias Thaumaturga (1877)

Ireland in her day was noted far beyond its shores for the hospitality of its people. The providing of good cheer for the friend and the stranger was long the custom there before the coming of Patrick and the monastic usage of maintaining a public guest-house did not accomplish a social revolution in the life of the Gael but simply gave the sanction of religion to a well-established habit. Hospitality was a part of the business of the state; it was the glory of the palace and the pride of the humblest home. Brigid as the head of a great monastery shone as the dispenser of good cheer and as an entertainer of guests. She received with the kindliness native to her race men distinguished for spirituality, statecraft and various branches of learning whilst the sunshine of her comforting smile warmed the cold hearts of the poor and the outcast. Kings sought her counsel and favour and bishops learned wisdom at her feet whilst erring ones went away consoled.

James F. Cassidy, The Women of the Gael(Boston, 1922), 62.

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