February 1 is the feast of Saint Brigid, secondary patron of Ireland and to mark the occasion below is a summary of her life from a County Mayo born historian and journalist, Martin Haverty (1809-1887). The author draws on the major episodes from hagiography and ends with a dismissal of the later medieval tradition that Saint Brigid shares a common grave in Down with Saint Patrick:
One of the most distinguishing virtues of St. Brigid was her humility. It is related that she sometimes attended the cattle on her own fields; and whatever may have been the extent of the land bestowed upon her, it is also certain that a principal source of subsistence for her nuns was the alms which she received. The habit of her order was white, and for centuries after her time her rule was followed in all the nunneries of Ireland.
The Four Masters record the death of St. Brigid at the year 525; and according to Cogitosus, one of her biographers, her remains were buried at the side of the altar, in the Cathedral Church of Kildare, and not, as some late traditions have it, in the same tomb with the apostle of Ireland in Downpatrick.
Martin Haverty, The History of Ireland from the Earliest Period to the Present Time (New York, 1871), 75-77.
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