Friday, 6 February 2015

Saint Brigid and the Hard-Hearted Mistress

Vignettes from the Lives of the Irish Saints: Saint Brigid and the Hard-Hearted Mistress

Like St. Columba, she was always anxious to help those who were in bondage according to the custom of the times. She remained for some time at a place on the plain of Cliach, in the county Limerick, and while here a poor girl fled to her protection to escape the tyranny of a cruel mistress. The mistress came after her to reclaim her, and would not listen to the entreaties of the Saint. She seized the unhappy girl, and tried to drag her with violence from the protection of St. Brigit.

But the holy Abbess knew where to exercise severity, which in saintly hands is another form of mercy. She procured pardon for the maid, and the repentance of the mistress, by obtaining that the hand which held the girl should become withered. The woman, terrified at what had befallen her, and no longer able to hold the girl, gave her the freedom she desired, and immediately her hand was restored. But miracles of mercy were, indeed, worthy of her who had chosen mercy as her special virtue.

M. F. Cusack, The Lives of Saint Columba and Saint Brigit (Dublin and London, 1877), 223.

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