Saint Bridget of Sweden was born on 23rd July 1303. She married and had eight children, one of whom, Catherine, is also honoured as a saint. After her husband’s death Bridget felt that God was calling her to renounce her wealth and to live as an ascetic. She joined the Franciscan Third Order, and later established her own congregation devoted to the Precious Blood of Jesus, more commonly known as the Bridgittines.
In 1999, Pope John Paul II declared Saint Bridget a Co-Patroness of Europe, along with Saint Catherine of Siena and Saint Theresa Benedicta of the Cross.
In his declaration the Pope said “In naming Saint Bridget a Co-Patroness of Europe”, she is not just a model for those in consecrated religious life, but especially for married people—that those who have “the high and demanding vocation of forming a Christian family will feel that she is close to them.” These women were named co-patronesses of Europe at a decisive time in history. Europe is still undergoing a profound identity crisis where society is attempting to redefine itself without God, without the foundation of Christ.
The Pope said that the building of a more just world is good, but it must be coupled with the awareness that human efforts are useless if not accompanied by divine grace. As the psalmist says: “Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labour in vain” (Ps 127:1).
We see in the Saints what life is supposed to look like. May Saint Bridget remind us and help us to build our lives firmly in service and to the glory of God, and for the salvation of souls.
Saint Bridget of Sweden, pray for us.