Friday, September 14, 2012

Mary of Nazareth and Bridget of Sweden

Mary of Nazareth

Bridget, celebrated saint of Sweden, left us the legacy of the fifteen prayers known as 'The Secret of Happiness'.
Bridget came from a prominent family.
Her father, Birger, was a royal Prince of Sweden and her mother, Ingeborg, was a descendant of the Gothic Kings.
Both her parents were devout followers of God.

Ingeborg nevertheless knew what was due to her estate.
The story is told that when, during the last stages of her pregnancy with Bridget, she went visiting, she was arrayed in sumptuous garb.
A woman, observing her costly raiment, thought to herself: "Well, there's a proud woman for you!"
That night an unknown person visited the woman and spoke to her in these words:
"You are mistaken about Ingeborg, my servant. At heart she is truly humble.
By dressing in a manner befitting her position she seeks to avoid the notice of the world.
Simple clothing would give rise to comment.
I will soon bless her with a daughter who, through love for me, will obtain such graces that she will be the admiration of the whole world."

A further sign is connected with the birth of Bridget. At the hour of her birth, in the year 1302, a priest saw a shining cloud above her house.
Seated in the cloud was a woman holding a book, who said: 
"Birger has just been given a daughter whose fame will become worldwide."

A few months later Ingeborg died and her child was brought up by an aunt.
Like her parents, Bridget was deeply devoted to Jesus of Nazareth and her life was filled with signs and grace.
One day a woman knocked at her door and begged for milk, for the love of God.
All Bridget could give her was water. 
When she had drunk it she revived and said it had been the best milk she had ever tasted.

Mary of Nazareth
Bridget was inspired by Mary of Nazareth never to stop praying.
Around 1317 Bridget married a nobleman by the name of Ulf Godmarson, Prince of Nericia in Sweden.
The couple had eight children.
Later Ulf, with Bridget's consent, devoted his life to prayer as a Cistercian monk.
He later died in the Cistercian monastery in 1344.
After his death, Bridget renounced her rank of Princess, and devoted her life to prayer.

Devoted to prayer and worship
Bridget began a group for women devoted to prayer and the worship of Almighty God.
The group was known as the Order of the Holy Saviour, or Bridgettines.
Bridget built the motherhouse of Wastein.
She undertook a pilgrimage to Palestine and returned via Rome.
In Rome, Bridget assisted people who were sick, and those struggling in the poverty trap.
She lived a simple and prayerful life.
Bridget dictated a book, known as the "Revelations".

Day of special remembrance
Bridget died in Rome, after having lived for almost seventy years. 
The day of special remembrance of this great woman from Sweden is 23rd July.

Fifteen Prayers of St Bridget of Sweden
*Please find a link to the Fifteen Prayers of St Bridget of Sweden
With thanks to Lady of

*Photograph taken by Catherine Nicolette

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Mary of Nazareth


Mary Queen of heaven is a mighty queen,
but Mary of Nazareth was a queen no less,
although Nazareth folk never dreamed they had seen
in the carpenter's house a queen in working dress;
a queen sweeping a floor or laying a table,
or washing the supper things at fall of night,
and, even had they watched, they would not have been able
to see the angel who came in a cloud of light,
an angel with great eyes aflame with wonder
who knelt before this girl and spoke to her.
The sound of his voice was more terrible than thunder,
but she was not terrified. She did not stir.
and when she spoke, the angel bowed his head,
knowing what power moved in the word she said.

Sister Maris Stella
Commonweal. 23 December 1938
Used with permission
Poem researched by Luky

Catherine Nicolette;
This beautiful poem highlights the sacred in the ordinary - the queen in the village girl - the royal in the servant. Mary - humble, true and pure - was royal in heart and soul, and chosen by the God of All to bear the incarnation of Sacred Jesus. Sister Maris Stella portrays this reality in a poem of subtle touches, showing the power of the royal in the everyday humble things of life.