A Multi-Tasking Person
I have a particular appreciation for Saints who wear many hats. The Saint for July 23 had many vocations. She was a wife and a widow, a mother of eight children, a founder of a religious order, a visionary, and an advisor to kings, popes, and priests. St. Bridget of Sweden is a Saint for every multi-tasking person (especially women!).
Even though she lived from 1303 to 1373, her influence is still relevant for today. Her father was a very powerful and wealthy landowner. However, her mother died when St. Bridget was about 12 years old. She received care from her Aunt and was still able to obtain a solid faith formation. From an early age St. Bridget had many visions of Jesus which would continue throughout all of her life. St. Bridget married at the young age of 13 and ended up having many children. One happens to be St. Catherine of Sweden.
A very practical and down-to-earth person
Although she was very wealthy and blessed with many mystical gifts, she remained a very practical and down-to-earth person all of her life. She could have remained wealthy even after the death of her husband and was a Lady-in-Waiting to the Queen. However St. Bridget became a poor nun instead. She eventually established the religious order of the Most Holy Savior, otherwise known as the Brigittines. She became well-known during her day for her acts of charity and deep spirituality. She was also personally acquainted with many rulers, theologians, and spiritual leaders.
She made several pilgrimages throughout her lifetime.She travelled to Santiago de Compostela in Spain during her 40s accompanied by her husband. Unfortunately it was upon their return that her husband fell ill and died. Before the end of her own life, she made a pilgrimage to the Holy Land and had visions of Jesus at many of the holy sites. Through such she encouraged others to meditate on the Passion of Jesus crucified, even when it was not Lent.
The 15 Prayers of the Passion as contained in the Pieta booklet.
Many practicing Catholics might be familiar with the little blue “Pieta” booklet which contains mystical prayers of various saints. This booklet also happens to contain the 15 Prayers of the Passion as a private revelation to St. Bridget by Jesus. As a private revelation they are considered devotional but are not mandatory by the Church. However, many Catholics have found the prayers and their promises to be quite helpful and inspiring. The most significant advantage is their ability to draw the heart closer to Jesus through His Passion. The prayers of St. Bridget actually played an important role in my conversion to the Catholic Church. I had stumbled upon the book the day after seeing an image of the Pieta in a dream. The coincidence was such that I was compelled to take up the prayers. I have included the 15 prayers in my previous blog in case anyone is interested or just plain curious.
Easy to lose focus in the midst of everyday life.
It is easy to get bogged down by the demands of everyday life. Especially many women, as wives and mothers, whether we work outside of the home or not, find ourselves juggling many tasks. I have heard many a “stay-at-home” mom state that they decided to get a “full-time” job to get some free time in their day. “Stay-at-homes” are mistakenly stereotyped as having oodles of extra time on their hands and as being the ones who are able to drop everything to run here and there for everyone else. However somehow and mysteriously they manage to get things done to everyone’s delight –often not so desirable tasks of running others to appointments and classes, scrubbing the house, managing the mountain of laundry, cleaning up pet and baby by-products, and mediating (and sometimes meditating!) in between kid squabbles. The list is endless and consists mainly of the mundane aspects of home life. Ask any “Stay-At-Home” what they did for the day. For some those are fighting words. Things like chasing a possum out of the trash, clipping the kids’ toenails, and sucking dust bunnies out a closet don’t sound like much. But just try doing those things. Let anyone try to say that lugging and folding eight loads of laundry with a little kid or two (or three) in tow isn’t exercise. Although many of us might not be Ladies-in-Waiting to the Queen, we do have a Blessed Mother who is our Queen.
Multi-tasking and the responsibilities of everyday life make it important to cling to Jesus and His Passion. Every meditation draws us to closer to His Cross. His Passion is His highest expression of love for us. It is not just for Lent, but for every day. St. Bridget made it a practice to regularly remember the great Love given to us through the Cross of Jesus.