Saturday 24th March 2018

Home » saints » Currently Reading:

Catholic Heroes… St. Bridget

July 11, 2017 saints No Comments


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.

‘Dictator Pope’ author: My suspension from Knights of Malta is illegal

ROME, March 22, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) — The Knights of Malta say they have suspended historian Henry Sire for allegedly breaching their constitution, following revelations that he is the mysterious author of The Dictator Pope. However, Sire himself maintains the suspension…Continue Reading

Trump official says US is ‘pro-life country’ at United Nations

NEW YORK, March 23, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – A Trump official is making waves at the United Nations for vocally defying the international organization’s conventional wisdom on abortion. Two unnamed UN diplomats have told the UK Independent that Bethany Kozma, a…Continue Reading

Conservative paper pressured into suspending publication

Students reacted with “fear” and “anger” after several professors at Taylor University, a Christian college in Indiana, started an “underground” publication to challenge “social justice” from a conservative, Christian perspective. The paper has temporarily suspended publication amid public condemnations from…Continue Reading

Student Planning Abortion Protest After School Shooting Walkout

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — Last week they protested gun violence. This week, Rocklin High School students are using social media to organize a pro-life walkout using the hashtag #life. “To honor all the lives of aborted babies pretty much. All the millions…Continue Reading

What US Catholics see as Pope Francis’ most notable action


Washington D.C., Mar 17, 2018 / 04:35 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- What has been Pope Francis’ most notable action so far in his papacy? A group of some 300 U.S. Catholics was recently asked this question in a recent study conducted by the…Continue Reading

Vatican admits doctoring photo of Benedict’s letter praising Pope Francis

VATICAN, March 14, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) — One of the world’s leading news agencies has said the Vatican breached journalistic standards by doctoring a photo of a letter from Benedict XVI praising Pope Francis. According to the Associated Press, the doctoring…Continue Reading

Cardinal Müller: The Pope has no power to change Humanae Vitae

ROME, March 8, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) — The Pope has no power to change or relax the Church’s ban on artificial contraception, just as he can never allow women to be ordained, Cardinal Gerhard Müller said on Wednesday. The former prefect…Continue Reading

Catholic bishops stand by spokesman after racism comment

New Mexico’s three Catholic bishops on Tuesday rejected a call by 33 Republican state legislators to punish the Catholic Church’s spokesman for saying racism played a part in the defeat of an initiative to expand early childhood education. In fact,…Continue Reading

Jim Caviezel tells university students to ‘stand out’ and ‘be saints’

STEUBENVILLE, Ohio, March 5, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Catholic actor Jim Caviezel, who famously played Jesus in The Passion of the Christ, told university students on Sunday that they must set themselves apart from this “corrupt generation” and “be saints.” “You weren’t…Continue Reading

Catholic hierarchy to be confronted over gender inequality

“Powerful vested interests” within the Catholic church are being challenged at a conference in Rome on International Women’s Day as calls grow for women to be given positions of authority and influence in the church. In a sign that a new assertive…Continue Reading

Study shows why young Catholics leave the church

They stopped believing in God. They saw a disconnect between what Catholics say and what they do. They disagreed with the church’s stance on social issues such as homosexuality and birth control. They are the growing numbers of young Catholics…Continue Reading

Number of Catholic weddings falls by two-thirds since 1990

The number of Catholic weddings in England and Wales has fallen dramatically in the last 25 years, according to new figures from the Office of National Statistics (ONS). In 2015, the most recent year for which statistics have been recorded,…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


  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


Today . . .

BREAKING: Local bishop calls treatment of pro-marriage Providence College student ‘reprehensible’

PROVIDENCE, Rhode Island, March 22, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Bishop Thomas Tobin has written a letter to Providence College student Michael Smalanskas, commending him for his “courage” and denouncing the “reprehensible” treatment he’s received on campus for creating a bulletin board explaining Catholic teaching on marriage. In a letter dated March 21, Bishop Tobin praised Smalanskas for his courage. Tobin’s ecclesiastical territory as the

How one organization helps the Church welcome Catholics with disabilities

Washington D.C., Mar 21, 2018 / 04:52 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Around 14 million Catholics in the U.S. are living with a disability. Since 1982, the National Catholic Partnership on Disability (NCPD) has been working to make sure those Catholics are welcomed as members of the Church and have opportunities to participate in the faith. “The goal of NCPD is to ensure that people w

Ohio Bill Bans All Abortions, Declares Unborn Babies as People Under Law

A new bill in the Ohio legislature would ban all abortions in the state by recognizing unborn babies as people protected under the law. Sponsored by state Reps. Ron Hood and Nino Vitale, Ohio House Bill 565 would prohibit all abortions in Ohio, ABC 6 News reports. “The goal of this bill is to first of all continue to get the word out that life does begin at conception and move the debate in that…Continue Reading

SHOCK: Dozens of ‘Christian’ faith leaders sign letter supporting ‘right to…abortion’

DES MOINES, Iowa, March 20, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Sixty-eight faith leaders who say they are Christian signed a letter of protest against a proposed Iowa law that would protect preborn children from abortion once their heartbeat is detectable. “As faith leaders, we want to use our collective voices to stand with Iowa women in support of their constitutional right … to an abortion,” the letter to the editor of the Des Moines Register begins.  Speaking…Continue Reading

Polish archbishop criticises priest who wished for death of Pope Francis

Former seminary rector Fr Edward Staniek questioned the direction in which Pope Francis was taking the Church A Polish archbishop has criticised a priest and theologian who wished Pope Francis a quick death if he did not open his heart to “wisdom”. Archbishop Marek Jędraszewski of Krakow said he had heard the comments with “great pain and regret” and had spoken to the priest about them. Fr Edward Staniek, a noted theologian and former rector…Continue Reading


A Book Review… The Dominion Of Man Over The Rest Of Things

By JUDE DOUGHERTY Brague, Rémi. The Legitimacy of the Human. Translated by Paul Seaton. South Bend, Ind.: St. Augustine Press, 2018. xiii + 177 pp. The present work is based on a series of lectures given at the Catholic University of Louvain when Rémi Brague occupied the Cardinal Mercier Chair in 2011. Reflections initiated there…Continue Reading

A Movie Review… St. Paul: From Persecutor To Apostle

By REY FLORES It is said that to know God is to love Him. It is also said that to truly embrace our faith, we must know our faith. The stories of the apostles in their efforts to establish the one true Church founded by Jesus Christ are so very important for us to know.…Continue Reading

How Should We Regard Pope Francis?

By JOHN YOUNG Some Catholics think laypeople have no right to criticize Pope Francis. He is the Vicar of Christ and is guided by the Holy Spirit, so he must know better than we do what should be taught and done. Even cardinals and bishops, they assert, have no right to publicly disagree with the…Continue Reading

Make A Church Post Satan’s Phone Number?

By TERENCE P. JEFFREY (Editor’s Note: Terence P. Jeffrey is the editor-in-chief of Creators Syndicate,, distributes his column.) + + + Jerry Brown once said he saw “the killing of the unborn as crazy.” This was just after the once-and-future pro-abortion governor of California returned to the United States in 1988 after spending…Continue Reading

A Decision From Outer Space

By DONALD DeMARCO A number of science-fiction movies, especially those from the 1950s when the threat of an atomic attack loomed, revolved around a decision made by highly intelligent beings from outer space to destroy all human life on planet Earth. The usual reasons put forth for the destruction were that human beings were violent,…Continue Reading


Our Catholic Faith (Section B of print edition)

Catholic Replies

Editor’s Note: Back in January, in response to a question about the Alpha program, we said all we knew was that it was a 10-week course about basic Christian teachings that claims to serve “as a refresher course for practicing Catholics and a point of re-entry for lapsed Catholics.” We said that the value of such courses would depend on…Continue Reading

The Stations Of The Cross . . . Follow The Final Earthly Journey Of Christ

By FR. EDWARD McNAMARA (Editor’s Note: Following is a question on whether or not stations of the cross are liturgical or not, answered by Legionary of Christ Fr. Edward McNamara, professor of liturgy and dean of theology at the Regina Apostolorum university. (Fr. McNamara writes the “Liturgy Q-and-A” column for ZENIT News Agency, which provided this text in 2016. All…Continue Reading

The Horror Of The Passion

By FR. ROBERT ALTIER Palm Sunday (YR B) Readings: Mark 11:1-10 Isaiah 50:4-7 Phil. 2:6-11 Mark 14:1-15:47   As we celebrate Palm Sunday, we begin with a Gospel reading recounting our Lord’s entrance into Jerusalem to the joyful shouts of the people proclaiming Him to be the Son of David, that is, the Messiah. Our Lord had preached and worked…Continue Reading

A Leaven In The World… “Fear Is Useless”

By FR. KEVIN M. CUSICK Lent is about death. The Lord’s death, of course: “Unless the grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies it remains just a grain of wheat.” He Himself in His human nature must be the seed of future glory for all of mankind. Fear is mankind’s most instinctive response before the vast and uncharted…Continue Reading

The Sacraments Instituted By Christ . . . Can We Receive Communion In An Eastern Orthodox Church?

By RAYMOND DE SOUZA, KM Part 20 Here we enter a delicate matter, which requires much prudential judgment from the Church. The matter is normally titled Communicatio in sacris, which refers to receiving Holy Communion in separated Eastern Churches. Here the situation is totally different from receiving “communion” in a Protestant church of whatever denomination, because Protestants do not have…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes . . . St. Isidore Of Seville

By CAROLE BRESLIN Spain is one of two countries located on the Iberian Peninsula. During the time of the Roman Empire, it was the Romans who first called this land “Hispania.” To this land the Romans brought the Latin language, civil organization, and law, as well as the Christian religion. However, as the Roman Empire began to crumble during the…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… St. Clement Mary Hofbauer

By CAROLE BRESLIN It has been said that the four characteristics of good prayer are that it must be sincere, it must be humble, it must be confident, and it must be persevering. This can also be said of the Christian life and a person’s approach to seeking to do the will of God: humble, sincere, confident, and persevering. St.…Continue Reading