Orderly direction of souls

Daily Reading for February 1 • Brigid (Bride), 523

Brigit grew in exceptional virtues and by the fame of her good deeds drew to herself from all the provinces of Ireland inestimable numbers of people of both sexes who willingly made their votive offerings. On the firm foundation of faith she established her monastery on the open expanses of the planes of Mag Liffe, which is the head of almost all the churches of Ireland and holds the place of honor among all the monasteries of the Irish. Its jurisdiction extends over the whole of the land of Ireland, from coast to coast. Her concern was to provide for the orderly direction of souls in all things and to care for the churches of the many provinces which were associated with her, and she reflected upon the fact that this could not be without the help of a high priest, who could consecrate churches and perform ordinations. She summoned a famous hermit, therefore, who excelled in all ways, and through whom God had manifested many powers, telling him to leave his retreat and his solitary life and to make his way to join her, so that he might govern the church together with herself in episcopal dignity and there might be no lack of priestly order in her churches.

Afterward this anointed head and principal of all the bishops and most blessed head of all women established their chief church in felicitous and mutual cooperation under the guidance of all the virtues, and by both their merits their episcopal and feminine see spread throughout the whole island of Ireland, like a fertile vine pushing its burgeoning branches out on all sides.

From the Prologue to The Life of St. Brigit the Virgin by Cogitosus, quoted in Celtic Spirituality by Oliver Davies and Thomas O’Loughlin, The Classics of Western Spirituality (Mahwah, N.J.: Paulist Press, 1999).

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