The most celebrated saint of the Northern kingdoms, born about 1303; died 23 July,
She was the daughter of Birger Persson, governor and
provincial judge (Lagman) of Uppland, and of Ingeborg
Bengtsdotter. Her father was one of the wealthiest
landholders of the country, and, like her mother,
distinguished by deep piety. St. Ingrid, whose death had
occurred about twenty years before Bridget’s birth, was
a near relative of the family. Birger’s daughter received
a careful religious training, and from her seventh year
showed signs of extraordinary religious impressions
and illuminations. To her education, and particularly to
the influence of an aunt who took the place of Bridget’s
mother after the latter’s death (c. 1315), she owed that
unswerving strength of will which later distinguished her.
In 1316 she was united in marriage to Ulf Gudmarsson,
who was then eighteen. She acquired great influence over
her noble and pious husband, and the happy marriage was
blessed with eight children, among them St. Catherine of
Sweden. The saintly life and the great charity of Bridget
soon made her name known far and wide. She was
acquainted with several learned and pious theologians,
among them Nicolaus Hermanni, later Bishop of Linköping,
Matthias, canon of Linköping, her confessor, Peter, Prior of
Alvastrâ, and Peter Magister, her confessor after Matthias.
She was later at the court of King Magnus Eriksson,
over whom she gradually acquired great influence. Early
in the forties (1341-43) in company with her husband
she made a pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostella. On
the return journey her husband was stricken with an
attack of illness, but recovered sufficiently to finish the
journey. Shortly afterwards, however, he died (1344) in
the Cistercian monastery of Alvastrâ in East Gothland.
Bridget now devoted herself entirely to practices of
religion and asceticism, and to religious undertakings. The
visions which she believed herself to have had from her
early childhood now became more frequent and definite.
She believed that Christ Himself appeared to her, and she
wrote down the revelations she then received, which
were in great repute during the Middle Ages. They were
translated into Latin by Matthias Magister and Prior Peter.
St. Bridget now founded a new religious congregation,
the Brigittines, or Order of St. Saviour, whose chief
monastery, at Vadstena, was richly endowed by King
Magnus and his queen (1346). To obtain confirmation
for her institute, and at the same time to seek a larger
sphere of activity for her mission, which was the moral
uplifting of the period, she journeyed to Rome in 1349,
and remained there until her death, except while absent
on pilgrimages, among them one to the Holy Land in 1373.
In August, 1370, Pope Urban V confirmed the Rule of
her congregation. Bridget made earnest representations
to Pope Urban, urging the removal of the Holy See from
Avignon back to Rome. She accomplished the greatest
good in Rome, however, by her pious and charitable life,
and her earnest admonitions to others to adopt a better
life, following out the excellent precedents she had set in
her native land. The year following her death her remains
were conveyed to the monastery at Vadstena. She was
canonized, 7 October, 1391, by Boniface IX.
St Bridget of Sweden CD by Martina Keany
The CD is available to buy online for £9.99
Martina Keany recorded a CD of The Prayers of St Bridget of Sweden, also traditional songs such as Sweet Heart of Jesus, Queen of the May, with songs she wrote herself. The CD plays for over an hour and a half. Martina sang at the celebration which was led by Archbishop Vincent Nicholas at Syon House, Isleworth, Middlesex TW7 on 19th July 2015 at the Centenary Celebrations for The Bridgettine or Brigittine Order. The Remains of their convent was found there dating back a few hundred years.