ST. BRIGID OF KILDARE AS BISHOP?
February 1, 2017
Rev. Brenda Griffin Warren —
Many of us are familiar with the early Irish saint, Brigid (Brigit, Bridget, Bride), one of Ireland’s three patron saints along with St. Patrick and St. Columba. Brigid was a Christian Abbess and founder of several monasteries including the famous Kildare (Cill Dara meaning “Church of the Oak Tree”), which was a double monastery of men and women serving equally together. Yet, are we aware that Brigid was also possibly an ordained Bishop?
On this feast day of St. Brigid, February 1, I would like to focus on Brigid’s possible call as a Bishop. There are at least six separate Lives of Brigid. One of the first was written by Cogitosus about 650AD. He described the large double monastery of Kildare in which men and women lived and worked as equals with Brigid as the Abbess. Even though Cogitosus claimed that Kildare in the 7th c. was “head of almost all the Irish churches with supremacy over all the monasteries of the Irish and a paruchia which extended over the entire island of Ireland,” he did not mention Brigid being ordained as a Bishop.
Brigid’s journey towards possible ordination as a Bishop is intriguing. It is said that when generous and compassionate Brigid gave away her father Dubthach’s sword to a leper, her father was so angry that he tried to sell his daughter to the king. The King declined her father’s offer and would not bargain for Brigid because “her merit was higher before God than before men.” Her father gave Brigid her freedom but he still tried to marry her off, but she refused to accept any proposal. Eventually her father agreed to let his daughter go see the aged Bishop Mel in Ardagh who had been a disciple and possibly a nephew of St. Patrick.
There are four similar accounts of Brigid’s ordination as a Bishop. One version of Brigid’s ordination as Bishop is found in the early 9th c. Bethu Brigte, a biography of Brigid that was likely based upon an earlier Life of Brigid.
According to sections 17-19 of the Bethu Brigte, Bishop Mel ordained Brigid as a nun and some say that he also by mistake read the wrong prayers which ended up ordaining Brigid as a Bishop. Afterwards, Bishop Mel was asked why he had read the incorrect prayers making Brigid a Bishop. He replied that the Holy Spirit had taken the matter out of his hands. Section 19 about this ordination incident reads:
“The bishop being intoxicated with the grace of God there did not recognize what he was reciting from his book, for he consecrated Brigit with the orders of a Bishop. This virgin alone in Ireland, said Mel, will hold the Episcopal ordination. While she was being consecrated a fiery column ascended from her head.”
The 11th c. The Irish Liber Hymnorum, vol 14, p. 192, edited by John Henry Bernard and Robert Atkinson records:
“It came to pass that Bishop Mél conferred on Brigit the episcopal order, although it was only the order of repentance that she desired for herself. And it is then that MacCaille lifted up a veil over Brigit’s head ut ferunt periti; and hence Brigit’s successor is always entitled to have episcopal orders and the honor due to a Bishop.”
(note: MacCaille was likely a brother of Bishop Mel and a priest)
Another closely related version of the ordination of Brigid as Bishop comes from the early 15th c. Irish Book of Lismore:
“For humility Brigit stayed so that she might be the last to whom a veil should be given. A fiery pillar rose from her head to the roof-ridge of the church. Then said Bishop Mel: “Come, O holy Brigit, that a veil may be sained on thy head before the other virgins.” It came to pass then, through the grace of the Holy Ghost, that the form of ordaining a Bishop was read over Brigit. Mac-caille said, that a bishop’s order should not be conferred on a woman. Said Bishop Mel: “No power have I in this matter. That dignity hath been given by God unto Brigit, beyond every (other) woman.” Wherefore the men of Ireland from that time to this give episcopal honour to Brigit’s successor.”
In another early 15th century Life of Brigit, translated by Whitley Stokes that is very similar to the record in the Book of Lismore, we read:
“Brigit, and certain virgins with her, went to Bishop Mél, in Telcha Mide, to take the veil. Glad was he there at. For humbleness Brigit staid, so that she might be the last to whom the veil should be given. A fiery pillar arose from her head to the ridgepole of the church. Bishop Mél asked: ‘What virgin is there?’ Answered MacCaille: ‘That is Brigit,’ saith he. ‘Come thou, O holy Brigit,’ saith Bishop Mél, ‘that the veil may be sained on thy head before other virgins.’ It came to pass then, through the grace of the Holy Ghost, that the form of ordaining a bishop was read over Brigit. MacCaille said that ‘The order of a Bishop should not be (conferred) on a woman.’ Dixit Bishop Mél: ‘No power have I in this matter, inasmuch as by God hath been given unto her this honour beyond every woman.’ Hence, it is that the men of Ireland give the honour of Bishop to Brigit’s successor.”
It is wondrous how the Spirit of our living God works in ways we cannot dream or imagine! It is of great comfort to know that the Spirit can even work through our human foibles as in the reading of the wrong ordination rites to bring forth the good and glorious plans of God.
Bishop Brigid’s remains were first interred at her Kildare Church, but when the Viking raids began they were taken further inland for safety to Downpatrick, Ireland. She was buried with the remains of Bishop Patrick of Ireland and Bishop Columba of Ireland and Iona. Together, these three great Celtic patron saints and Bishops of Ireland are still keeping watch over their flock to this day.
For further reading on St. Brigid and other Celtic and Anglo-Saxon saints, www.saintsbridge.org.
Prayer to Saint Brigid
You were a woman of peace.
You brought harmony where there was conflict.
You brought light to the darkness.
You brought hope to the downcast.
May the mantle of your peace cover those who are troubled and anxious, and may peace be firmly rooted in our hearts and in our world.
Inspire us to act justly and to reverence all God has made.
Brigid you were a voice for the wounded and the weary.
Strengthen what is weak within us.
Calm us into a quietness that heals and listens.
May we grow each day into greater wholeness in mind, body and spirit.
We have Brigid as abbess and bishop as a patron of The Oratory Society
PICTURES FROM WESTMINSTER – NEE PAPAL NUNCIO PRESENTING HIS CREDENTIALS TO THE QUEEN VIA INTERNET LINK:
68 replies on “SAINT BRIGID – THE BISHOP”
Yes but Nichols will be leaving the palace soon for a caravan in Morecombe with his ‘housekeeper’ Sr Carmel.
It is Morecambe, not Morecombe. And regardless what you think about him, you should refer to him as Cardinal and not by his surname. God bless.
The head of the Roman Catholic Church in England and Wales has, at times, shown he cares more about the impact of abuse on the Church’s reputation than on the victims. I think referring to him as Nichols is charitable. He should be be banished to a caravan in Jaywick and subsist on his state pension.
She’s referred to as Vinny or Eslie, in the real world, if you please, 12:08 pm.
Gorden Bennett! That carriage sure is the dog’s “undercarriage.” 😂
Elsie loves all that OTT fancy stuff, doesn’t she. A real nasty little piece of work, is Elsie.
Will stand on anything, or anybody, to get to the top, will our Elsie.
Will it all come tumbling down around her? Yes, more than likely; and it will not be sorely recieved by his clergy, that I can bet, for sure.
All that glitters and sparkles at AB’s house, Ambrosden Ave., Is not gold… including her grace, Elsie of Coronation Street.
She’ll be taking the fancy cutlery and any easily concealed antiques about the palace — keep an eye out on eBay, guys and dolls!
She’s already had the curtains off — got the two nuns to make fancy vestments from them 😂
Nope to a couple of million pound house in Chiswick. His caravan days are over.
We learned how to make the cross, if ye didn’t get it right, or use or right hand, we were bate… Left right and centre….
… Sad times…..
What a load of tosh on tosh. The stuff about the nuncio is so ill informed. It is the Palace that sends the coach. The building of Archbishop’s House is a working building used by all the bishops and other diocesan staff. The Archbishop has a simple flat for his private use. Probably smaller than what you have.
Yes, probably Vins living quarters are smaller than mine, but I worked and paid for mine, and it is mine, not grace and favour like his. I’ve had to worry over the decades how to pay the mortgage and all the other bills associated with my property; Vin has never had that worry always having access to the parish or diocesan cheque book, never having to think about the heating bill, or property maintenance, or whether he can afford a cleaner etc. A privileged and sheltered life. Which will continue when he moves to Chiswick. Clergy do not have a clue about living, at least economically, in the real world. Fact.
LikeLiked by 1 person
Does Bishop Pat pay rent for the oratory? How much is it per month?
12.31 – nowadays clergy have lived in the world and know what it is to work to pay the bills. The days of someone going from school to seminary are over. Most have worked before going to seminary. Some even come from families that know what it is to live in poverty, where free school meals and benefits were the norm. So don’t be so blind in your prejudice.
@2.39 The People’s Bishop leads a privileged and charmed life, he doesn’t pay rent and has no mortgage.
You are wrong all the departments are based at Vaughan House now.
Archbishops house is the Cardinals offices and residence.
Yes it is the Palace who sends the coach as No dioceses has the luxury of horses and coaches
Even the days of Bishops having chauffer driven cars are slowly coming to an end as it is usually his PA or Secretary that drives while the Bishop works in the rear of the car
I think you’ll find the chancery, communications department, the auxiliary bishops , the VG, and their secretaries all work in Archbishop’s House. So it is not just his office and residence.
Indeed,+ Pat is, ‘The People’s’ Bishop.
The Irish Church badly needs more Bishops like him.
And the Finance Director has a big office, and the cathedral archives are in there too.
You forgot to mention the other two sisters on the steps. I wonder what order they are – OPI? (Order of Perpetual Indulgence)?
” THY WILL BE DONE “
The two nuns, and two young fags in the doorway, keeping a respectful distance from the three old queens. Delightful.
I remember coming across this story about St Brigid while preparing a school project. I was still in primary school approaching confirmation. I was intrigued by the story at the time and in hindsight surprised that it appear in a “devotional” book. I’m reminded of the Preludes by T.S. Eliot in which he speaks of people who “are assured of certain certainties”.
I’m just going to leave this song here, even though it won’t be everyone’s cup of tea. (I hope the link works) I have allowed myself to be distracted by this song in the past week. As a Catholic I hear it as the call to conversion which must accompany my experience of the church in a “concrete and actual way in the world”. Namely, a sacramental reality which can only be truly imbibed by those with open minds through changed hearts.
“Turn the tables”
Mad haired warty old lezzers claim St B as one of their own. They are wrong.
“Brigid was also possibly an ordained Bishop?”
And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her from the Lord.
Mary Magdalene, like so many women, was one of Jesus’ earliest followers. She remained loyal to him when the male apostles fled in doubt and terror. The Risen Christ appeared to her. She carried the good news to the male apostles.
Mary Magdalene the Apostle to the Apostles. Men are seen as qualified to the ordained ministry because of the male apostles. Shouldn’t Mary Magdalene’s primacy over them qualify women for ordained ministry?
Seamus the eighth! What a farce.
Continuous commentary, pain in the arse
That carriage ride is laid on by Buckingham Palace for all new plenipotentiaries who are presenting their credentials to Her Majesty.
Is Seamus the eighth a source of discomfort to you? I wonder, why…?
I hope they sprayed the place before the Nuncio came in. It usually smells of boiled cabbage, like some Prep School after school dinners. The new Papal Nuncio is a representative of an institution and its thinking that is increasingly becoming irrelevant to so many these days. I most certainly have moved away from the institutional Church realising how ridiculous are so many of the things that the Church and its clerical apparatchiks seem to think are central and crucial. If they got out on to the streets, they would realise that for most people, even for the majority of those who would call themselves Catholic, many of these things are just irrelevant to their lives. So, bishops and priests exercise themselves about removing communion from people who dare to take a more speculative and flexible approach to rigourist teaching; bishops continue to hold on to a model of ministry that clearly is failing and prop it up by bringing in priests from abroad rather than thinking creatively about how to deal with the new reality of parishes, ministry, priesthood etc. A significant wing of the clergy entrench themselves in traditionalist thinking and liturgy that just makes them look and sound silly. The shock, horror and severe disappointment in a Church and clergy that has been seen to be sinful, dysfunctional and criminal, particularly in respect of the abuse of children and the vulnerable and the institutional clerical coverup that surrounded it, is still very alive and raw. Clergy need to realise that when people meet or see clergy these days, consciously and unconsciously people think dogdy, questionable and dangerous. People see all of this, and they move on and elsewhere, and the Church becomes less and less a part of their lives. I’d be more impressed if Nichols and the Nuncio talked about how to respond is a creative and imaginative way, rather than battening down the hatches and hoping that the deluge doesn’t hit during their time and that they will be long retired in nice places like Chiswick when the Church finds itself washed away.
A sound sensible analysis Anon 9:43. I think the RCC rigidity and absolutism stems from Thomistic thinking; a belief that all things are fixed and unchangeable.
Yes, I think you are right. That rigourist immutability that imprisons the Church in what it takes to be God given certainties. I think that God is probably laughing or crying at the impasse the Church has got itself in to. Ah well, God gave us a mind and reason, and my sense is that most Catholics these days are using those gifts and, elfwhilst giving a listening ear to what the clerics and the Church are saying, weigh it all up with their own thoughts in their own conscience, and make their own decision. Sounds a sane, mature and sensible thing, to me. I think the Church needs to catch up. Otherwise it will get left behind and find itself even more and more irrelevant. It would serve them right.
More mockery by Pat of the Rev. Sisters at Westminster. Your nastiness, real and intended is ugly. St. Brigid, take hold of Pat and truly change his heart…Truly.
@ 11:08 am
” On the feast of St. Nicholas [in 1273], St. Thomas Aquinas was celebrating Mass when he received a revelation that so affected him that he wrote and dictated no more, leaving his great work the ‘Summa Theologiae’ unfinished. To Brother Reginald’s (his secretary and friend) expostulations he replied, ‘The end of my labors has come. All that I have written appears to be as so much straw after the things that have been revealed to me.’ When later asked by Reginald to return to writing, Aquinas said, ‘I can write no more. I have seen things that make my writings like straw.’ … Aquinas died three months later while on his way to the ecumenical council of Lyons.”
The Oratory Larne and The Dioceses of Kildare & Leighlin have Excellent Shepherds with Bishop Pat Buckley and Bishop Denis Nulty.
May they both continue to provide fruits for the Vineyards.
The Common denominator is they are both Catholics.
The Amazing Prophecy of St Francis!
the stable is only lovely yet soo big
Garabandal TEASER TRAILER | The Miracle | Coming Soon
I’m a bit of a savage, for the bacon and cabbage, if i may say so….
♫ Louis Armstrong ♫ – ♬ When The Saints Go Marching In ♬ with lyrics
That Gibraltar Charles people were talking about the other day – anybody got the story of the flip from Gib to the RN to hovercrafts ? There’s a story to tell there, I’m absolutely certain, and a reluctance for it to be told. Makes me suspicious. Maybe + Pat should do some digging ? Hasn’t JP Lyttle got something to do with the IoW ? Mmmm ?!
I suspect Charles just became disillusioned with priesthood and left. His uncle was also a priest in Gibraltar, who left, and became a politician there. Not every priest who leaves is clouded in scandal. It’s the ones who cling on whilst leading a double life are the ones His Lordship Bishop Pat should focus on.
I’m disillusioned with priesthood, and I’m not even a priest ! Maybe I could try hovercrafts too ?
Fr (or Monsignor) Mark Mikes is from Gibraltar – he was the Popes English translator- moved out of the Vatican pretty swiftly – what’s the story – he’s a nuncio or trained diplomat etc nothing is ever straightforward when Vatican nuncios involved – a pretty boy with admirers and detractors, protectors and enemies im sure. When their moved from Rome to Washington there’s always a story -wonder what the story is
There’s lots of focus on Gibraltar over the last few days. Small place. Not many priests. A good number of them in the diaspora, not really needed at home in such a small place. I think most of them are rather happy to get out of Gib. It’s a dump. No much to write home about. It’s best feature is the good weather. Is the suggestion that the Mons Mark Miles has been moved from the Pope’s side to some other job, or that he’s gone MIA ? He came to prominence when the Pope was in the USA, squeezing in to the back of the Fiat Cinquecento with Francis, who has a large build. Not the best of cars for that kind of thing. But, it was supposed to have the smell of the sheep about it. I always thought that half the Italian nation had been conceived in the back of the original Cinquecento ?
The pope doesn’t believe in long terms of office for Vatican appointments. He was made a nuncio and consecrated an Archbishop. There’s your “story”.
…sorry meant Miles – it’s my age (over 80) and arthritis that interferes with my keyboard skills!!
Miles ordained a bishop in April (Arthur Roche one of the ordaining men) and appointed nuncio to Benin and Togo.
Oh, that sounds like a fun role ! I’m not sure most of us know where Benin and Togo are. Are there any correspondents from there who might like to enlighten us ? He’s evidently kept his nose clean and been an exemplary graduate of the diplomats’ college and done his time in God forsaken places over the years, and now he’s been made an Archbishop and sent off to another God forsaken place. What a life ! He’s welcome to it. Each to their own.
George Harrison. My sweet Lord (Mi dulce Señor) Subtitulada al español.
If St Frigid Brigid was a Bishop does that mean she was a tranny with a fanny ? I dont mean Fr Fanny in Gaynooth.
You don’t much from Fr Fanny now. Her “Jesus was a racist” sermon at the Gaynooth carol concert displeased the bishops and lockdown has shut her up altogether.
I was at that carol service. M. Mullaney preached brilliantly. Proof: you are talking about it over two years later. How many sermons could you say that about? And, for the record, he didn’t say the words you put in quotation marks. He’s too much of a scholar to apply contemporary categories to the scriptures, or twentieth-century tags to Late Antiquity literature in such an anachronistic manner.
4.39: Pat, do you think this comment is appropriate? It is vulgar in the extreme and by you printing it suggests you approve. Not surprising because all too frequently you print pornographic commentary, display porno images, revel in the sex lives of others etc….I am beginning to believe that there’s a dark inner pathology within you. It is ugly and most unattractive. This comment, apart from telling us about the commenter’s perversions, it is a sad reflection on your supposed integrity!! It puts an end to the illusion that you are holy. Utter shame on you.
@7.04 you’re missing the point. +Pat published my comment because +Pat allows people to express their opinions. It will be a sad day when +Pat has to filter comments that are not in line with what the RCC deem appropriate.
If you’re uncomfortable with the comment then perhaps you need to resolve your own issues but I am delighted that Bishop Pat published my comment. I am just a commoner, +Pat has not silenced me like you’re asking and I’m delighted I’ve have my say regardless of whether my say fits with your standard. Go and pray, after that possibly go and play in the sauna.
America Amber Cascades
Ger’s gone C/O
For a year at least.
The Facebook of the Cloughleigh Oratory has now been totally removed.
There’s a petition to keep Ger in Cloughleigh.
Martel in his book In the Closet says that 80 per cent – if not more of Papal Nuncios are both practising Catholics and Homosexuals – it’s the travel you see, gets them out and about.
Isn’t there a story that Bruno Heim was caught cottaging and given a police warning? Diplomatic immunity comes in v helpful.
Cardinal Casorili was a gay nuisance hitting on young men all the time and didn’t a French Vatican diplomat get hauled before the French courts for pinching bottoms.
Sodano – diplomat and homophile – in the Closet raging homophobe.
Batista Ricca – Columban rent boys, broken lifts and ‘Who am I to judge’ fame – a papal diplomat and now manages Sanctae Martha for Pope Francis!!
Hey I’m just saying – who am I to judge?
Mind you when I hear papal diplomat I think massive global gay club!!
Whole new meaning to diplomacy being all about arse covering.
If what you say about gay nuncios is true then the role of nuncios in selecting bishops would do well to be looked at with scrutiny. Would a nuncio’s ‘gaydar’ be on full alert when picking the terna? Would a photograph of candidates have to be included? A lot of US bishops in their 60’s and over have jet black hair. If a candidate wore a wigwould that preclude him? Fascinating.
The two nuns look like Elsies fixers or bodyguards, loyal to their master whilst loathing each other – their disdain for each other is delicious and palpable.
The two priests look like prancing effeminate ugly sisters all giddy with excitement that a princess is visiting in her carriage – Cinderella is going to the Ball.
Elsie looks tired and weary, counting down the days, albeit in a lot better physical shape than most clergy – pity his reputation isn’t in better shape – he’s like Cameron, toxic and untrustworthy – toxic preferring to protect the reputation if an institution over that of a child. Of course protecting a reputation involves: lying, stalling, I don’t recall etc blah blah.
Mind you that kind of thing buys you a lot of respect in the RCC – thankfully not so much in public life.
6.50: Whoever you are you are a total bitch. Your humour is shit. A brainless idiot, full of caca…
Did a quick word search, Bp Pat, i.e., +Aul Doll, Kitty Kirby, +Gogs Monahan, +Hattie Jacques (Scotland), etc., but no luck.
I look forward to reading about them in some way or another soon.
You must be very new to the blog. They are regularly featured.
They are included in the blogs roll of honour on a regular basis.
Poor nun on the right has Elephantiasis in her ankles.
The other one looks as if she’s had her feet bound since childhood.
8.16: Horrible, ignorant and ugly comments. Your heart us not nice: your sensitivity, that of a pig, in fact even worse…you are indeed ugly.
It’s more likely the camera.
Any Westminster updates?
7.43: Fanny by Gaslight: you prove my observation earlier. I’d say you live in the gay saunas. You are just an ugly pervert. You need to cleanse your soul. What a perversion of a psyche you possess. And, yes, Pat all too frequently seems to need “Fannys” like you for his pleasure!! What an apt pseudonym – Fanny: says it all about you: pervert.
Is a ‘total bitch’ a different level of bitch?
God I hope so I’d hate to be just an ordinary bitch. Thank you I’m oddly flattered.
I so enjoyed your ‘whoever you are’ er the blogs anonymous so it’s always going to be ‘whoever you are.’
Anyway I shall sleep like a baby knowing that something rattled your cage to invite such puerile invective – my only consolation – that you feel a lot better for having gotten that off your chest bless your little heart.