Wednesday 1 February 2012

The Feast of Saint Brigid on the Irish and Continental Calendars

Canon O'Hanlon brings this summary:

The Feast of Saint Brigid on the Irish and Continental Calendars

St. Oengus, the Culdee, in his Metrical Festilogy, at the Kalends, or 1st of February, mentions this illustrious cenobiarch of pious women, with a distinguishing eulogy. The Martyrology of Tallaght, composed by the same St. Oengus and St. Molruan, records the eternal rest of St. Brigid, as taking place in the seventieth year of her age, and on the Kalends of February. Likewise, the Calendar of Cashel, Charles Maguire, Fitzsimons, and other hagiographists, treat about our saint and her festival, at the 1st of February. Besides these notices, in that ancient Martyrology, kept in the Cathedral Church of the Holy Trinity, Dublin, the memory of St. Brigid, virgin, is noted, with particular eulogy, at the Kalends, or 1st day of February. Her office was celebrated with the reading of nine lessons. This day was regarded as the one of her Dormition, Deposition, or Death. The martyrologist avers, that she went to join the Heavenly choirs of angels, and Christ, for whose love she wrought, after performing signs and miracles, after renowned works of mercy and alms-deeds, after pure humility and benevolence, devoted to God, and after an illustrious example afforded to other virgins of chastity and of holiness. If the great works of this noble virgin were to be written in full, the martyrologist declares, he should be obliged to write a book of an unusual size. A still later composition, the Martyrology of Donegal records, on this day, the celebration of the festival of Brighit, virgin, abbess of Cill-Dara.

The Roman Martyrology, and Father Stephen White, commemorate this renowned virgin, at the 1st of February. In the anonymous catalogue of Irish saints, published by O' Sullivan Beare, the name of St. Brigida occurs. In Henry Fitzsimon's list, it is also to be found at this date. Reference is made to Surius, and to notes in the Roman Martyrology, as edited by Baronius. Convaeus observes, in relation to this saintly virgin, at the same day, that she was of royal race. In several ancient Martyrologies the feast of this holy virgin is recorded. Venerable Bede, in noting it, remarks, that St. Brigid's Life had been distinguished for miracles. Rabanus Maurus has a notice of her nativity. St. Ado of Vienne has a record in his Martyrology, and exactly like that of Bede. Usuard extended, or the Carthusian Martyrology, at the 1st of February, remarks on her renowned miracles. St. Notker has a similar notice to that of Raban, with an addition about the wood of the altar becoming green, in recognition of her purity. The Blessed Marianus O' Gorman calls our saint, the Arch-Virgin or Chief of the Irish Virgins. And the Martyrology of Salisbury states her great merits. Wandelbertus Prumiensis, Galasinus, and Molanus, in their respective Martyrologies, as also Hermanns Gruen, have notices of this holy virgin, at the 1st day of February. Other authorities, if cited, should prove too tedious for enumeration.

Rev John O'Hanlon, Life of St. Brigid, virgin : first abbess of Kildare, special patroness of Kildare Diocese, and general patroness of Ireland (Dublin, 1877), 218-220.

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