Saint of the Day ~ July 23

SAINT BRIDGET OF SWEDEN (c.1303-1373), religious and foundress – Patron saint of Sweden, Europe and widows

Today, the Church honors Saint Bridget of Sweden who received visions of Christ’s Passion many times throughout her life and went on to found the Order of the Most Holy Savior.

Bridget was born in Sweden about the year 1303. From the time she was a child, she was greatly devoted to our Lord’s Passion. When she was only ten, it is recorded that she had a vision of Jesus on the Cross and heard him say, “Look at me, my daughter.” “Who has treated you like this?” cried little Bridget, and Jesus answered, “They who despise me and refuse my love for them.” From that moment on, Bridget tried to stop people from offending Jesus.

When Bridget was thirteen years of age, she married an 18-year old, whose name was Ulf. Like Bridget, Ulf had set his heart on serving God, and their happy marriage was blessed with eight children.

All her life, Bridget had marvelous visions and received special messages from God. In obedience to them, she visited many rulers and important people in the Church. She explained humbly what God expected of them.

After her husband died in 1344, Bridget embraced a life of poverty and lived as a poor nun. Later, in 1346, she began the Order of the Most Holy Savior, also known as the Bridgettines. She still kept up a busy schedule, traveling throughout Europe, doing good everywhere she went. And through all this activity, Jesus continued to reveal many secrets to her. These she received in complete humility.

Shortly before her death, Sister Bridget went on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. At the various shrines, she would receive visions of what Jesus had said and done in each place. All of her revelations on the sufferings of Jesus were published after her death.

Sister Bridget died in Rome on July 23, 1373. She was canonized a saint by Pope Boniface IX in 1391.

We commemorate her feastday on July 23.

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(The following prayer is from the Roman Breviary from the Proper for Saint Bridget of Sweden)

“Lord our God, You revealed the secrets of Heaven to Saint Bridget as she meditated on the suffering and death of Your Son. May Your people rejoice in the revelation of Your Glory.

“Grant this through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, who lives and reigns with You in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.”

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