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Saturday, 22 September 2018
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St Bridget of Sweden

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St. Bridget, mystic and saint, was born in Sweden in 1303. She was the founder of the Bridgettine Order. Through her mother, young Birgitta Birgersdotter, was related to the Swedish kings of her lifetime. She married Prince Ulf Gudmarsson, by whom she had eight children. The youngest of the children was St. Catherine of Sweden.

Birgitta's saintly and charitable life soon made her known far and wide; she greatly influenced her husband, with whom she went on pilgrimage to Santiago (St James) de Campostela 1341-1343.

In 1344, shortly after their return, Ulf died and Birgitta now devoted herself wholly to religion. As a child she had already believed herself to have had visions; these now became more frequent, and her records of these, Revelationes coelestes ("Celestial revelations"), were compiled in a book, later translated into Latin and various languages, and disseminated widely during the Middle Ages.

It was about this time that she founded The Order of the Holy Saviour, or the Bridgettines. In 1349 she went to Rome, partly to obtain from the pope the authorization of the new order. Birgitta became widely known and loved in Rome for her kindness and good works. Apart from occasional pilgrimages, including one to Jerusalem in 1373, she remained in Rome until her death on July 23rd, 1373. She was canonized in 1391 by Pope Boniface IX. She is the Patron Saint of Sweden.

In 1999, Pope John Paul II chose Bridget as Europe's patron saint. Her feast is celebrated on July 23rd.

-   To Carl-Eric Skantze and Margareta Bernas, Swedish pilgrims encountered on the way to Santiago, in 2003, who enriched the journey. Brendan Cleary

St Bridget and the Seven Sorrows of Mary    

General Audience