Today is the feast of St Bridget of Sweden. She is someone I love dearly and I am so grateful for her prayers and presence at times of great trial.
She was a woman whose mighty strength came from her love of God and the many graces He poured out for her. She was a wife and mother, a reformer and prophet. After the death of her husband the good and gentle Ulf she founded her order of St Saviour known as the Bridgetines. The order was a power house of prayer for the reformation of the Church that was in such a serious state in those days with pretty awful popes at the helm.
Bridget and Ulf had four boys and four girls. Two of their boys died very young, so she is wonderful in those situations when you fear the loss of a child as I did at the emergency section of my youngest dd.
Her oldest son Karl fell into bad company and became entangled with Queen Joanna of Naples - a woman who was pretty evil really and caused great pain to all who had to deal with her. Both Karl and the Queen already had spouses but there was a threat they would try and ditch them and marry.
Bridget prayed for her first born that he would not be lost. He died of a fever and I trust he was saved.
So this beautiful saint is the one to turn to when children lose faith or get into bad ways.
Her second son Birger married but was also a companion to his mother as she travelled. Of her daughters three married, Katrin (Karin or Catherine), Cecilia and Merita while Ingbord became a Cistercian. Once she had been widowed Katrin entered religious life also and eventually joined her mother's order and is canonised as St Catherine of Sweden or Verdena. St Catherine of Sienna wrote to St Katrin asking her to intervene with Queen Joanna - who was making things difficult in the great reform of the Church these mighty saints were brining about. Katrin refused because of the situation that had occurred with her brother Karl.
Nevertheless these three great saints worked tirelessly to see the Church renewed. St Catherine of Sienna finally saw the pope return to the Vatican as he should have.
Bridget died on July 23rd 1373 and was canonised on October 7th 1391.
Santa Birgitta ora pro nobis