St. Bridget of Sweden (Feast: July 23)
Bridget was nobly born, her father was Birger, the governor of Upland in Sweden, and her mother, Ingeborg, was the daughter of the governor of East Gothland.
At fourteen she was married to young Ulf Gudmarsson, to whom she was happily married for twenty-eight years and had eight children, four boys and four girls, one of whom was St. Catherine of Sweden.
In 1335, she was appointed lady-in-waiting to King Magnus II’s bride, Blanche of Namur, and she spent years at court trying to reform Magnus’ weak, and at times, wicked ways, and the queen’s often well-meaning, but irresponsible, bend.
Though Bridget’s famous visions were already under way at this time, spanning subjects from personal hygiene to politics, she did not have great success with her royal “charges”, and was often seen as a “dreamer.”
After her husband’s death in 1344, she founded an order of women and another of men to support them spiritually. When her order was established, she traveled to Rome accompanied by her daughter Catherine and some disciples, to seek approval of her Rule. But she was never to return to her native Sweden.
In Rome, she worked to bring back the Papacy, then in the French city of Avignon, to the Eternal City. Her visions and prophecies, dealing with the burning political and religious issues of her time, continued and so increased that, alarmed, she submitted them to the direction of Canon Matthias of Linkoping who pronounced them to be of God. Peter, Prior of Alvastra, recorded these visions in Latin.
Her order was only approved by Pope Urban V in 1370.
In 1373 she made a pilgrimage to Jerusalem, with Catherine and three of her sons. At Naples, Charles, her favorite son, became entangled with Queen Joanna I who wanted to marry him despite both being already married (Joana thrice). Anguished, Bridget stormed heaven, and Charles, struck by a fever, after two weeks died in his mother’s arms.
Returning from Jerusalem, Bridget, already ailing, received the last rites from her faithful friend, Peter of Alvastra, and died on July 23 at the age of seventy-one.
Bridget was canonized in 1391, and is the patron saint of the Kingdom of Sweden. She is also considered one of the patron saints of Europe.
DAILY QUOTE for May 18, 2021
As the century began anew, so did Catherine’s life. Catherine was a young woman possessing great beauty.