At the time of St. Brigid's birth, the religion of the Druids dominated Irish culture. In that religion, Brid or Brigid, the goddess of fire, is among the most revered of the goddesses. The Irish petitioned Brid to bless them and lit bonfires in her honor.
St. Brigid was born to a pagan chieftain and one of his Christian slaves. Named Brigid, perhaps to obtain the blessings of the goddess, she eventually became a priestess of Brid at a pagan sanctuary. There, she and her companions maintained a ritual fire in honor of Brid. While the events of Brigid's conversion are unknown, she and her companions all accepted the Christian faith. They also formed first religious community of Christian women in Ireland. Brigid converted the pagan sanctuary to a Christian shrine and transformed the ritual fire to one in honor of Christ.
The Irish likened her to Brid. Her life appeared touched with fire, and her wisdom was celebrated. She shared her wisdom with simplicity, weaving a small cross from rushes to explain the Passion. Reverence for Brigid, lovingly honored as the Mary of the Gael, grew so strong that her influence eclipsed that of Brid. St. Brigid contributed greatly to the early growth of the Church in Ireland and she is interred with St. Patrick at Downpatrick.
(This narrative is printed on the back of Note Cards. A copy is included with each plaque and photo.)
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