Her father was Dubtach, pagan Scottish king of Leinster; her
mother, Brocca, a Christian Pictish slave who had been
baptized by Saint Patrick. Just before Brigid's birth,
her mother was sold as a slave to a Druid landowner. She was
born in 453
in Faughart, County Louth, Ireland. Brigid
remained with her mother till she was old enough to serve her
legal owner Dubtach, her father.
grew up marked by her high spirits and tender heart, and as a
child, she heard Saint Patrick preach, which she never forgot.
She could not bear to see anyone hungry or cold, and to help
them, often gave away things that were Dubtach's. When Dubtach
protested, she replied that "Christ dwelt in every
creature". Dubtach tried to sell her to the King of
Leinster, and while they bargained, she gave a treasured sword
of her father's to a leper. Dubtach was about to strike her
when Brigid explained she had given the sword to God through
the leper, because of its great value. The King, a Christian,
forbade Dubtach to strike her, saying "Her merit before
God is greater than ours". Dubtach solved this domestic
problem by giving Brigid her freedom.
aged mother was in charge of her master's dairy. Brigid took
charge and often gave away the produce. But the dairy
prospered under her (hence her patronage of milk maid, dairy
workers, cattle, etc.), and the Druid gave her mother her
returned to her father, who arranged a match for her with a
young bard. Bride refused, and to keep her virginity, went to
Bishop Mel, a pupil of Saint Patrick's, and took her first
vows. Legend says that she prayed that her beauty be taken
from her so no one would seek her hand in marriage; her prayer
was granted, and she regained her beauty after making her
vows. Another tale says that when Saint Patrick heard her
final vows, he mistakenly used the form for ordaining priests.
When told of it he replied, "So be it, my son, she is
destined for great things."
first convent started with seven nuns. At the invitation of
bishops, she started convents all over Ireland. She was a
great traveler, especially for the horrid conditions of the
time, which led to her patronage of travelers, sailors, etc.
Brigid invented the double monastery, the monastery of Kildare
on the Liffey bring for both monks and nuns. Combeth, noted
for his skill in metalwork, became its first bishop; this
connection and the installation of a bell that lasted over
1000 years apparently led to her patronage of smiths and those
in related fields.
died on 1 February, 523, in Kildare, Ireland; buried in
Downpatrick, Ireland with Saint Patrick and Saint Columba;
head removed to Jesuit church in Lisbon, Portugal