Sunday 24th June 2018

Home » saints » Currently Reading:

Catholic Heroes… St. Bridget

July 11, 2017 saints No Comments

By CAROLE BRESLIN

One of St. Teresa of Calcutta’s most quoted sayings would fit with this column’s saint, “God hasn’t called me to be successful. He has called me to be faithful.” What encouraging words for anyone seeking to do God’s will, knowing that the cross, the setbacks, and the obstacles are all part of working for the Kingdom of God. St. Bridget of Sweden experienced all of these in her lifetime.
St. Bridget, a descendant of Swedish royalty, was born on June 13, 1303, in the province of Uppland, north of Stockholm on the Baltic Sea. Her father, Birger Persson, came from the Finsta family, which possessed great wealth and influence. Birger acted as governor and judge while being one of the wealthiest landowners in Sweden. Her mother, Ingeborg Bengtsdotter, was descended from royalty. She was also related to St. Ingrid.
Both parents were pious Catholics, ensuring that their children were brought up strong in the faith. At the age of seven, Bridget experienced her first vision: The Blessed Virgin Mary placed a crown on her head. When she was ten she received another vision as if in a dream, this one of the suffering Jesus or one she called the Man of Sorrows. When she asked our Lord who did that to Him, He responded, “All those who despise my love.” These two experiences left a lasting impression on the young girl.
When Bridget’s parents made a pilgrimage to the Holy Land, her mother fell ill and died. Bridget at only ten years old, her younger sister Katherine at nine years old, and a newborn baby boy named Israel were left without a mother. A loving aunt took the children into her home and raised them with a similar strong Catholic upbringing.
Several years later at the age of 14, Bridget was married to a nobleman, Ulf Gudmarsson, lord of Narke, from Ulvasa. He was 18. During their 28 years of marriage they had eight children, two of whom died in infancy. Four sons died at young ages, some of them in the Crusades. One daughter grew up and became St. Karin or St. Katherine of Sweden.
As Ulf’s wife, and having suffered the loss of some children, Bridget well understood the difficulties of bearing and raising children. She felt called by God to serve the unfortunate unwed mothers and to help them, dedicating both her wealth and her time to this endeavor. However, she was soon called away from this work.
Around 1336, Magnus II, the king of Sweden, called Bridget to court to serve his new wife, teaching the queen the language and customs of Sweden. While at court, Bridget had great influence over the king because of her intelligence, compassion, and holiness.
A few years later, she received permission to make a pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela, in northwest Spain — a pilgrimage popular to this day. She and her husband made the long journey to the holy site, but as they made their way back to Sweden, Ulf fell dangerously ill in Arras, France. For long hours, Bridget sat by his bedside begging our Lord to spare his life. St. Denis, the patron of France, appeared to her and assured that Ulf would recover.
He did recover, and they continued the journey back to Alvastra, Sweden, where he continued his work as chief of the district court in Narke. However, shortly after their return, he fell ill again. Despite her long vigil of prayer and nursing, he died at Alvastra monastery where he was buried. Bridget mourned his loss deeply, spending many hours by his graveside, praying for the repose of his soul. “I loved him like my own body,” she wrote.
After his death, she returned home to organize her various charitable endeavors and attend to the care of her children who were older by that time. For many hours she prayed for enlightenment and courage to know and do God’s will. At the end of 1344, at the age of 41 while staying in the Alvastra abbey, she heard God’s call to “be my bride and my canal.”
Under the guidance of four men, Nicolaus Hermanni, bishop of Linköping; Matthias, his canon; Peter, the prior of Alvastra; and Peter Magister, she discerned that she should found a new order. In another vision she received instructions on how to build the church, the design of the clothing the members would wear, as well as the rules for living, and the prayers to be recited.
With her husband gone, Bridget joined the Third Order of Franciscans and dedicated her time to both prayer and caring for the poor as did her father in Christ, St. Francis of Assisi. Her spiritual poverty and love for Christ opened her heart and soul to the prompting of the Holy Spirit. The seeds of the new order began to grow.
In time she established the new order known as the Order of the Most Holy Savior, more commonly called the Bridgettines. In 1346, King Magnus IV of Sweden and his queen provided funds for the building of the motherhouse and monastery in Vadstena.
A unique feature of the grounds included both men and women living in separate monasteries but in the same community. Another rule observed was the care of the poor and marginalized citizens. All funds except those used for basic necessities were to be given to the poor. The only extra possessions allowed were books.
In 1349, seeking a larger sphere for the Lord’s work, Bridget went to Rome. The mission she sought was to bring a moral uplifting badly needed in the period, as well as approval for her order. Except for pilgrimages to the Holy Land, Bridget spent the rest of her life in Rome.
While there, like St. Catherine of Siena, she urged the Pope to return to Rome rather than reside in Avignon. She also sought approval of her order, but only received confirmation of the rule of her congregation in August 1370, from Pope Urban V.
Her greatest influence remained in the work she did. With a spiritual foundation in prayer, she admonished the sinners with gentleness but firmness. Her lifestyle also set a precedent eagerly followed by both men and women in Sweden.
She died in Rome on July 23, 1373, a worn-out woman far from her Swedish home. Her feast day is July 23. Although she yearned to become a nun, she remained a Third Order Franciscan. Even though she struggled to bring peace between France and England, that goal was never realized. Despite the fact that she did persuade the Pope to return to Rome from Avignon, he later returned to Avignon. Nor did she ever see the completed monastery in Vadstena.
Her crowning glory was that she did what she believed was the will of God, recording her prayers and visions as instructed. Although her prayers were approved for general recitation, none of the promises associated with them were ever approved by Rome.
Dear St. Bridget, led by your example, may we always find time for prayer. Like you, may we say, “Thy will be done,” not counting the cost. Amen.

+ + +

(Carole Breslin home-schooled her four daughters and served as treasurer of the Michigan Catholic Home Educators for eight years. For over ten years, she was national coordinator for the Marian Catechists, founded by Fr. John A. Hardon, SJ.)

Share Button

2017 The Wanderer Printing Co.

Vikings host ‘LGBTQ summit’ to promote ‘inclusion’ in sports

EAGAN, Minnesota, June 21, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – The Minnesota Vikings are hosting a conference and fundraiser today for “LGBTQ inclusion in sports,” the first of its kind in the National Football League (NFL). The event will include speeches, interviews, and…Continue Reading

Catholic bishops are quick to attack Trump but slow to advise their voters

(RNS) — President Trump had no sooner returned home from his historic photo op with Korean dictator Kim Jong Un in Singapore when he faced condemnation from a host of religious leaders, from Southern Baptists to African Methodists to Catholics,…Continue Reading

Bishop: Deny Communion to Border Agents. It’s a ‘Life Issue.’

Is enforcing U.S. immigration law a moral evil that demands excommunication? Or would a new proposal politicize the Eucharist, strengthen organized crime, and hurt even more migrant children? Roman Catholics must face these questions after Bishop Edward Weisburger of Tucson suggested “canonical…Continue Reading

Argentina steps closer to legalising abortion

Catholic Argentina’s lower house has backed a bill legalising abortion in the first 14 weeks of pregnancy. After a divisive debate lasting more than 22 hours, 129 members of the Chamber of Deputies voted in favour and 125 against while…Continue Reading

Pope Francis rejects German proposal for inter-communion

Vatican City, Jun 4, 2018 / 06:37 am (CNA/EWTN News).- One month after Vatican and German delegates met in Rome to discuss a proposal put forward by German bishops to allow Protestant spouses in inter-denominational marriages to receive the Eucharist…Continue Reading

St. Paul archdiocese settlement is largest-ever in Catholic bankruptcy case

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — The Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis has agreed to a $210 million settlement with 450 victims of clergy sexual abuse as part of its plan for bankruptcy reorganization, making it the second-largest U.S. payout…Continue Reading

Church’s teaching on male-only priesthood is ‘infallible’: Vatican doctrine chief

ROME, May 29, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) — The head of the Vatican office overseeing Church doctrine has insisted that the Church’s teaching on the male-only priesthood is “infallible,” and has offered a veiled rebuke of a prominent Cardinal who recently claimed the…Continue Reading

The revolt against Humanae Vitae continues to haunt us today

ROME, May 25, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) — As in 2017, 2018 is also a year that is rich with important and significant anniversaries which we need to remember, because the roots of the present are found in the past. The best known…Continue Reading

Cardinal: Communion cannot be shared with non-Catholics like beer or cake

BUCKFASTLEIGH, England, May 25, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) — Protestants who want to receive Holy Communion should become Catholics, Cardinal Francis Arinze said this week, and added that “it is rather serious” to presume marriage can be dissolved for the purpose of…Continue Reading

Speaker Ryan Proposes a Return to Catholic Social Doctrine at Prayer Breakfast

Washington, D.C. – House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) spoke at the National Catholic Prayer Breakfast Thursday about how he believed the answer to many of the political problems society faces today, including “moral relativism” and “tribalism,” can be found in Catholic…Continue Reading

Judge rules ‘transgender’ high-schooler should have been allowed opposite-sex bathroom

NEWPORT NEWS, Virginia, May 24, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – A judge has ruled that a Virginia high school should have allowed a gender-confused former student to use the restrooms designated for the opposite sex. Gavin Grimm is a female Gloucester High School…Continue Reading

One of the most ‘liberal abortion regimes’ if vote passes

Ireland will have one of the most liberal abortion regimes in Europe if Friday’s referendum is passed, the No campaign warned during its final press conference on Wednesday. With the broadcasting ban set to come into force on the eve of the…Continue Reading

Untitled 5 Untitled 2

Attention Readers:

  Welcome to our website. Readers who are familiar with The Wanderer know we have been providing Catholic news and orthodox commentary for 150 years in our weekly print edition.


  Our daily version offers only some of what we publish weekly in print. To take advantage of everything The Wanderer publishes, we encourage you to su
bscribe to our flagship weekly print edition, which is mailed every Friday or, if you want to view it in its entirety online, you can subscribe to the E-edition, which is a replica of the print edition.
 
  Our daily edition includes: a selection of material from recent issues of our print edition, news stories updated daily from renowned news sources, access to archives from The Wanderer from the past 10 years, available at a minimum charge (this will be expanded as time goes on). Also: regularly updated features where we go back in time and highlight various columns and news items covered in The Wanderer over the past 150 years. And: a comments section in which your remarks are encouraged, both good and bad, including suggestions.
 
  We encourage you to become a daily visitor to our site. If you appreciate our site, tell your friends. As Catholics we must band together to rediscover our faith and share it with the world if we are to effectively counter a society whose moral culture seems to have no boundaries and a government whose rapidly extending reach threatens to extinguish the rights of people of faith to practice their religion (witness the HHS mandate). Now more than ever, vehicles like The Wanderer are needed for clarification and guidance on the issues of the day.

Catholic, conservative, orthodox, and loyal to the Magisterium have been this journal’s hallmarks for five generations. God willing, our message will continue well into this century and beyond.

Joseph Matt
President, The Wanderer Printing Co.

Untitled 1

Interview With Cardinal Burke . . . Discriminating Mercy: Defending Christ And His Church With True Love

Cburke3

  By DON FIER (Editor’s Note: His Eminence Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke, Patron of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta and Founder of the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in La Crosse, Wis., graciously took time out of his busy schedule to grant The Wanderer a wide-ranging interview during a recent visit to the Shrine. Included among the topics…Continue Reading

Developing Lives Of Peace After The Heart Of Mary

By RAYMOND LEO CARDINAL BURKE (Editor’s Note: His Eminence Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke delivered the address below at the 32nd Annual Church Teaches Forum, “The Message of Fatima: Peace for the World,” Galt House, Louisville, Ky., July 22, 2017. The address is reprinted here with the kind permission of Cardinal Burke. All rights reserved. This is part one of the…Continue Reading

Catechism

Today . . .

Fr. James Martin praises Catholic parish booklet affirming active gays

NEW YORK CITY, June 22, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Fr. James Martin, SJ, cheered his own parish’s publication of a booklet that seeks to further normalize gay sexual activity within the Catholic Church. The “LGBT Catholics and Friends Ministry” at New York City’s St. Ignatius Loyola Church issued “Being LGBT And Catholic,” a slick 32-page collection of brief testimonials about how sexually active g

Cardinal Burke responds to Francis: We hand-delivered dubia letter to Pope’s residence

ROME, June 21, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Speaking with Reuters in an interview which appeared yesterday, Pope Francis criticized Cardinal Raymond Burke and three other cardinals who joined him in begging the Pope for clarification on key issues of faith. The cardinals used the long-standing ecclesial practice of issuing dubia, or questions to the Pope. There were five such questions altogether. But, according to Reuters the Pope said that “he had heard about the cardinals’ letter criticizing him…Continue Reading

GOOD NEWS . . .Fr. Phillips Exonerated

We have confirmation that after several weeks the Congregation of the Resurrection has indeed concluded its hearings and investigation of the accusations directed against Father Phillips. An independent Review Board of three public-spirited leaders from the Chicago area, who are not members of St. John Cantius Church, was constituted. Thereafter, the Review Board interviewed the detractors and several witnesses, persons who personally know the accusers, and other individuals who

Cardinal Brandmüller Questions Francis’ Claim Not to Have Received the Dubia Before Publication

Today, on 20 June, Reuters published a new interview with Pope Francis. Although the interview is making headlines because of the Pope’s criticism of President Donald Trump’s immigration policy, it also contains another controversial assertion: the pope surprisingly now claims that he only heard about the Dubia (concerning his document Amoris Laetitia) “from the newspapers” — a claim that Dubia cardinal Walter Brandmüller has now questioned in comments to OnePeterFive. From the text of the interview: The pope also commented on internal criticism of his…Continue Reading

US Cardinal removed after ‘credible’ allegation he abused a minor

NEW YORK, June 20, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – A high-profile liberal U.S. cardinal has been removed from public ministry for credible and substantiated allegations of abuse of a minor. Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, a former priest of the Archdiocese of New York and cardinal emeritus of Washington D.C., “is no longer to exercise publicly his priestly ministry,” says a news release from New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan. “The review board found the allegations credible and substantiated,” Dolan’s statement said. “The Vatican…Continue Reading

Advertisement(2)

Canadian Top Court . . . Denies Religious Freedom To Christian Law School

OTTAWA, Ontario — The Supreme Court of Canada dealt a major blow to religious freedom and freedom of association June 15, ruling that law societies in Canada may deny accreditation to a Christian law school. The judgment comes after a long legal battle in several provinces. Trinity Western University’s law school asks students and faculty…Continue Reading

Memory Lapses At The FBI

By TERENCE P. JEFFREY (Editor’s Note: Terence P. Jeffrey is the editor in chief of CNSnews.com. Creators Syndicate distributed this column.) + + + The report on the FBI investigation of Hillary Clinton’s email scandal that the Office of the Inspector General of the Department of Justice released the past week makes one thing clear:…Continue Reading

But What Happened To The News Coverage? . . . Pope Says Homosexual Couples Are Not A Family

By BILL DONOHUE (Editor’s Note: Catholic League President Bill Donohue on June 18 commented on remarks by Pope Francis that have been censored by the media.) + + + Pope Francis says gay couples cannot be considered a family. The media know he said this but, with few exceptions, they refused to run this story.…Continue Reading

Holy Bashfulness Vs. Shame By ALICE von HILDEBRAND

My dear young friend, Years ago, Cardinal O’Boyle was discussing some sexual matters with a group of men; all of a sudden the cardinal noticed that a young girl had joined the group, and interrupting his talk, he said to her: “Please excuse me.” But he was immediately rudely rebuked by one of the men…Continue Reading

On The Role Of Beauty In The Spiritual Life

By JAMES MONTI In recent years, thanks largely to Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, the role of beauty in the sacred liturgy — and the appalling chasm created by its absence — has been a topic of frequent discussion among those concerned with a restoration of the sacred in divine worship — the beauty of the…Continue Reading

Advertisement

Our Catholic Faith (Section B of print edition)

The Sacraments Instituted By Christ… More On Confession

By RAYMOND DE SOUZA, KM Part 34 I do not know who said that “Repetition is the Mother of Learning” or “Repetition is the Father of Learning,” or even that “Repetition is the Key of Learning.” The fact is that repetition is most important to anyone who wants to learn something in such a way that will become part and…Continue Reading

Freedom And Truth

By DON FIER A preeminent truth that no man can deny is the universal desire for happiness — it is a goal that is common to all. This innate desire was identified and written of more than three centuries before Christ by the Greek philosopher Aristotle in his classic work entitled Nicomachean Ethics. At the same time, the pagan philosopher…Continue Reading

Catholic Replies

Q. Following up on a recent question about a divorced and remarried non-Catholic adult who converts to the Catholic Church, you said that the conversion would not change the status of the person, that he would still be married to his previous spouse and could not marry again without a decree of nullity or the death of the first spouse.…Continue Reading

None Dare Call It Treason

By DEACON JAMES TONER (Editor’s Note: Deacon James H. Toner, Ph.D., is Professor Emeritus of Leadership and Ethics at the U.S. Air War College, and author of Morals Under the Gun and other books. He has also taught at Notre Dame, Norwich, Auburn, the U.S. Air Force Academy, and Holy Apostles College & Seminary. He serves in the Diocese of…Continue Reading

The Glorious St. John The Baptist

By FR. ROBERT ALTIER Solemnity Of The Nativity Of St. John The Baptist (YR B) Readings Isaiah 49:1-6 Acts 13:22-26 Luke 1:57-66, 80 Today we celebrate the birth of a man who is important to us in a variety of ways. St. John the Baptist is, according to our Lord’s own words, the greatest man born of woman. For this…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… St. Joseph Cafasso

By CAROLE BRESLIN Truman Capote wrote: “Love is a chain of love as nature is a chain of life.” More important, grace is a chain of grace with one grace leading to another. And holiness a chain of holiness as God pours His love through one person to another, as the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mediatrix of all graces, pours…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… St. Joseph The Hymnographer

By CAROLE BRESLIN In the late sixth and early seventh century, the glories of Gregorian chant began to develop in Rome. Then, in the thirteenth century, St. Thomas Aquinas wrote beautiful hymns to celebrate Corpus Christi and to honor the Real Presence. In the Eastern Church, around Constantinople, they also sang hymns, but it was not until the late ninth…Continue Reading