Aug 4, 2010

One Legend About St. Brigid

As I promised you on Monday, I'm going to share one of my favorite legends about St. Brigid, one of three patron saints of Ireland. (And yes, you can find this story in my novel, Brigid of Ireland.)

Brigid was known for her generosity. She gave away everything that she had whenever she met someone, and in that historical time period there were plenty of hungry, needy people around Ireland to share with. She was born a slave to her father (her mother was her father's slave) and he soon grew impatient with the girl giving away his property. So one day he decided he would have to get rid of her--he would put her into the king's service. They went by chariot and when they arrived at the castle belonging to the king of Leinster, he told her to wait while he went to fetch the ruler.

Meanwhile a leper (why do these stories always involve lepers???) came by to beg. She was away from her dairy. She had no butter, milk, or cheese to give him. She glanced around the chariot and the only thing she could find was her father's sword--no ordinary sword, this one was encrusted with valuable jewels. She figured that the beggar could barter or sell the piece and get something to eat, so she handed it over to him just as her father and the king returned. They saw the man running off with the sword.

"There. Do you see that?" her father asked the king. "Do see why I have to get rid of her?"

The king asked Brigid what she had to say for herself.

She looked again at his magnificent castle and his fine clothing and answered, "If I had as much as you, that's how much I would I give away."

The king was so humbled by this that he granted Brigid her freedom.

A good thing, right? Well, not necessarily. At that time if you did not own property (cattle, livestock) or were connected to a family who did, or you were not connected the royal family somehow, or you were not a slave, you were out on your own, left to wander and fend for yourself. So, Brigid became one of those people she had previously been aiding.

(For my version of how she survived from there, see my book!)

Brigid was so generous she gave away things that could, at that time, have been essential for survival. And yet, God always provided, as He does. There are plenty of lessons to be learned by studying St. Brigid.

1 comment:

  1. St. Brigid's generosity and hospitality are ever before me!