lundi 8 octobre 2012

Sainte BRIGITTE de SUÈDE, veuve, religieuse cistercienne, mystique et fondatrice de l'Ordre du Très Saint Sauveur

Sainte Brigitte de Suède

Veuve, fondatrice de l'ordre du Saint-Sauveur (+ 1373)

Elle appartenait, ainsi que son mari Urf Gudmarson, à la première noblesse de Suède. Elle alla se fixer à Rome à la mort de son mari. Sa fille sainte Catherine la rejoignit l'année suivante et elles vécurent désormais ensemble. Favorisée de grâces extraordinaires, elle suivait à la lettre le saint Évangile, pratiquant la pauvreté, mendiant même sous le porche des églises afin de récolter le mépris des passants. A une princesse romaine qui lui reprochait de ne pas savoir garder son rang, elle répondit: "Jésus s'est abaissé sans avoir eu votre autorisation." Les papes s'étaient alors réfugiés en Avignon. Elle les harcelait pour qu'ils reviennent à Rome. Au début de 1372, elle partit pour la Terre Sainte avec une escorte armée. Ce furent les quinze mois les plus beaux de sa vie, disait-elle. Elle avait fondé l'ordre des Brigittines qui existe encore en Suède sur les bords du lac de Vadstena.

Pour en savoir plus: Vie de Sainte Brigitte de Suède écrite d'après les documents authentiques par un religieuse de l'adoration perpétuelle - 1879 - bibliothèque monastique

"La figure de la sainte suédoise, d'avant la réforme, reste un précieux lien œcuménique." (Jean Paul II, 1999)

Le 27 octobre 2010, la catéchèse de Benoît XVI a consisté en un portrait de Brigitte de Suède (1303-1373), proclamée copatronne de l'Europe par Jean-Paul II. On distingue deux périodes dans sa vie, a d'emblée souligné le Pape. D'abord une femme mariée et la mère de huit enfants, qui s'initia à l'étude de l'Ecriture et l'adopta comme règle de vie avec son époux comme tertiaires franciscains. Elle fut d'une charité généreuse et fonda un hôpital...

La seconde vie de Brigitte commença après son veuvage et son refus de se remarier afin d'approfondir "son union avec le Seigneur dans la prière, la pénitence et la charité... Après avoir distribué ses biens aux pauvres, elle se retira au monastère cistercien d'Alvastra, sans devenir moniale"...

En 1349, Brigitte prit le chemin de Rome pour participer au jubilé durant lequel le Pape approuva la fondation de son ordre consacré au Saint Sauveur. Moines et moniales se trouvent sous l'autorité d'une abbesse, une formule classique au Moyen Age. "La grande tradition chrétienne reconnaît à la femme une dignité particulière, à l'exemple de Marie, reine des apôtres, et une place spéciale au sein de l'Église qui, si elle ne coïncide pas avec le sacerdoce ordonné, a une grande importance pour la vie spirituelle de la communauté". Sainte Brigitte alla également en pèlerinage à Assise et en Terre Sainte. Elle fut canonisée dès 1391. Sa sainteté et ses multiples qualités en firent une figure remarquable de l'histoire européenne, "qui montre comment le christianisme a profondément imprégné la vie des peuples du continent... En la proclamant copatronne de l'Europe, Jean-Paul II exprima le vœu que Brigitte, qui vivait dans une chrétienté occidentale non encore blessée par la division, intercède en faveur de la pleine unité des chrétiens". Benoît XVI a conclu en demandant son intercession afin que l'Europe continue de puiser à ses racines chrétiennes. (source: VIS 20101027 590)


...Saint Benoît, proclamé patron de l'Europe par Paul VI en 1964, saint Cyrille et Méthode proclamés copatrons en 1980 par Jean-Paul II et trois saintes proclamées copatronnes de l'Europe en 1999 par Jean-Paul II: sainte Brigitte de Suède, sainte Catherine de Sienne et sainte Thérèse-Bénédicte de la Croix (Edith Stein)...

Mémoire (en Europe: Fête) de sainte Brigitte, religieuse. Mariée toute jeune en Suède au prince Ulf, elle en eut huit enfants qu'elle éduqua dans la plus grande piété, et elle entraîna son époux à la piété par ses paroles et ses exemples. Après la mort d'Ulf, elle entreprit de nombreux pèlerinages à divers lieux saints, elle écrivit beaucoup pour la réforme de l'Église dans sa tête et ses membres et jeta à Rome, où elle mourut en 1373, les fondations de l'Ordre du Très Saint Sauveur.

Martyrologe romain

"Béni sois-tu, Jésus-Christ, mon Seigneur, qui as prédit ta mort avant l'heure. Qui, à la dernière Cène, as merveilleusement consacré avec du pain matériel ton corps qui nous rachète. Qui l'as donné par amour aux apôtres en mémoire de ta très précieuses passion. Toi qui, en leur lavant les pieds de tes très saintes et nobles mains, leur as donné humblement un modèle d'humilité"

Prière attribuée à sainte Brigitte


Katholische Pfarr- und Klosterkirche St. Alto und St. Birgitta in Altomünster im Landkreis Dachau (Bayern), Kuppelfresko (signiert 1767) von Joseph Mages (1728–1769), Darstellung (Ausschnitt): Hl. Alto und hl. Richard Reynolds (links), hl. Brigitta mit anderen Heiligen unter dem Schutzmantel Marias (rechts), oben: Heilige Dreifaltigkeit



Sainte Brigitte de Suède

Veuve, Fondatrice d'Ordre

(1302-1373)

Sainte Brigitte naquit en Suède, de famille royale. Sa mère avait été sauvée d'un naufrage en considération de l'enfant qu'elle portait dans son sein. Bien qu'à sa naissance un saint personnage eût reçu de la Sainte Vierge l'assurance que cette enfant ferait entendre sa voix dans tout l'univers, Brigitte fut muette, jusqu'à l'âge de trois ans; mais, ce temps écoulé, elle parla tout à coup aussi bien qu'une grande personne.

A l'âge de dix ans, elle fut singulièrement touchée d'un sermon sur la Passion du Sauveur. La nuit suivante, elle vit le divin Crucifié tout couvert de plaies et de sang, et L'entendit dire: "Regarde, Ma fille, comme J'ai été traité. – Et qui Vous a traité si cruellement? dit-elle. – Ce sont ceux qui Me méprisent et sont insensibles à Mon amour pour eux." À partir de cette époque, la seule pensée des mystères de la Passion faisait couler ses larmes.

Une nuit qu'elle était en prière, sa tante, chargée de son éducation après la mort de sa mère, la surprit et voulut la frapper; mais la verge se rompit entre ses mains. Brigitte, tout enfant, était souvent assaillie par le démon qui prévoyait en elle une grande ennemie; mais elle trouvait un secours assuré en courant dans sa chambre se jeter aux pieds du crucifix qui lui avait parlé.

Malgré son goût pour la virginité, Brigitte accepta le mariage par obéissance; elle et le prince, son mari, se préparèrent par un an de prières et de bonnes oeuvres aux obligations de leur état. Dieu donna à ces pieux époux huit enfants. Brigitte fut le modèle des mères par sa sollicitude envers sa famille; elle éloignait de sa maison tout ce qui n'y aurait pas apporté l'édification et la vertu: "Après la lecture de la Bible, répétait-elle à ses enfants, n'ayez rien de plus cher que la Vie des Saints."

A la mort de son mari, elle s'adonna aux saintes oeuvres avec plus de liberté que jamais, apprenant à ses enfants à laver les pieds des pauvres, à soigner les plaies des malades, à soulager toutes les misères. Mais la grande mission de sa vie, Brigitte l'accomplit pendant ses dernières années, qu'elle passa dans la pénitence et la contemplation de Jésus Crucifié. Ses révélations étonnantes ont fait d'elle la merveille de son siècle.

C'est à Rome, où elle aimait à séjourner près des tombeaux des Saints, que le Sauveur lui fit connaître l'heure de sa mort prochaine; elle rendit le dernier soupir en prononçant avec amour les dernières paroles de Jésus expirant: "Mon Père, je remets mon âme entre Vos mains."

Abbé L. Jaud, Vie des Saints pour tous les jours de l'année, Tours, Mame, 1950

SOURCE : http://magnificat.ca/cal/fr/saints/sainte_brigitte_de_suede.html

Oil painting of Birgitta of Sweden. Painted in 1913 by Charlotta Sophia Ehrenpohl (July 28 1841 - December 31 1914). The painting is located in the Sint Antoniuskapel in the hamlet Boeket, near the village Nederweert, the Netherlands.

Olieverfschilderij van de Heilige Birgitta van Zweden. Geschilderd in 1913 door Charlotta Sophia Ehrenpohl (28 juli 1841 - 31 december 1914). Het schilderij hangt in de Sint Antoniuskapel in de buurtschap Boeket, nabij het dorp Nederweert.


Sainte Brigitte de Suède

(Finstad, Uppsala 1303- Rome, 1373)

Birgitta naît dans une famille noble et riche, en Upland, à l’ouest de la Suède, au château de Finstad, non loin d’Uppsala. Elle est fille de Birger Petersson (ou Persson) et sa mère est de souche royale suédoise.

La région d'Uppsala, où elle naît, est un centre important de l’Église de Suède où le Christianisme s’était développé à partir du XIème siècle seulement, à la suite des invasions des Vikings, quand les chefs des grandes familles scandinaves se convertirent.

Âgée d'à peine quinze ans, elle est mariée, par son père, au sénéchal Ulf Gudmarsson issu, comme elle, de la très haute noblesse suédoise.

En vingt-huit ans de vie commune, ils auront huit enfants : quatre garçon et quatre fille, dont la future sainte Catherine de Suède.

La parenté de Sainte Brigitte de Suède et de son mari avec les familles royale et princières explique qu'ils furent appelés à des fonctions importantes à la Cour auprès du roi et de la reine.

En 1335, elle est en effet appelée par le jeune roi Magnus, âgé de vingt ans et qui vent d'épouser Blanche de Dampierre, comme "intendante" de la cour. Ulf, son mari, est quant à lui, nommé conseiller du jeune roi.

En 1341, elle fait, avec son mari Ulf, le pèlerinage à Saint-Jacques de Compostelle. Ce pèlerinage met symboliquement fin à la vie laïque de sainte Brigitte, "la préparant à la nouvelle vie qu'elle inaugure quelques années plus tard lorsque, après la mort de son époux, elle entendit la voix du Christ qui lui confiait une nouvelle mission, la guidant pas à pas par une série de grâces mystiques extraordinaires" [1].

"Toutefois, il ne faut pas oublier que la première partie de sa vie fut celle d'une laïque qui eut le bonheur d'être mariée avec un pieux chrétien dont elle eut huit enfants. En la désignant comme co-patronne de l'Europe, j'entends faire en sorte que la sentant proche d'eux non seulement ceux qui ont reçu la vocation à une vie de consécration spéciale, mais aussi ceux qui sont appelés aux occupations ordinaires de la vie laïque dans le monde et surtout à la haute et exigeante vocation de former une famille chrétienne. Sans se laisser fourvoyer par les conditions de bien-être de son milieu, elle vécut avec son époux Ulf une expérience de couple dans laquelle l'amour conjugal alla de pair avec une prière intense, avec l'étude de l'Écriture Sainte, avec la mortification, avec la charité. Ils fondèrent ensemble un petit hôpital, où ils soignaient fréquemment les malades.

Brigitte avait l'habitude de servir personnellement les pauvres. En même temps, elle fut appréciée pour ses qualités pédagogiques, qu'elle eut l'occasion de mettre en œuvre durant la période où l'on demanda ses services à la cour de Stockholm. C'est dans cette expérience que mûriront les conseils qu'elle donnera en diverses occasions à des princes ou à des souverains pour un bon accomplissement de leurs tâches. Mais les premiers qui en bénéficièrent furent assurément ses enfants, et ce n'est pas par hasard que l'une de ses filles, Catherine, est vénérée comme sainte" [2].

En 1344, Brigitte devient veuve et commence à recevoir du Christ, de la Vierge et des saints, des visions prophétiques et des révélations qu'elle dicta à ses directeurs spirituels. Ces messages, réunis plus tard sous le titre de "Révélations célestes", concernent la Passion du Christ, mais aussi la situation politique et religieuse de son époque, alors très troublée.

C'est dans ce cadre qu'elle fonde, en 1346, l’ordre du Très-Saint Sauveur et pose la première pierre du monastère de Vadstena en Suède où, dès le début, une soixantaine de religieuses se rassemblent.

Sainte Brigitte de Suède souhaitait fonder un monastère double, l’un pour les hommes et l’autre pour les femmes, sous l’autorité unique de l’abbesse assistée d’un prêtre, à la manière de l’Abbaye de Fontevraud en Anjou. Mais ce projet n’est pas accepté par le pape Clément VI.

En 1349, elle part s'établir à Rome en prévision de l'année jubilaire. "Son transfert en Italie constitua une étape décisive pour l'élargissement non seulement géographique et culturel, mais surtout spirituel, de l'esprit et du cœur de Brigitte" [3].

Brigitte n'y rencontre pas le Pape, parti s'exiler en Avignon (France). Une nouvelle révélation lui indique sa mission : ramener le souverain pontife à Rome. Avec des accents rudes, dignes des prophètes de l'Ancien Testament, elle écrit aux Papes successifs pour les rappeler à leur devoir.

En 1367, elle croît aboutir : Urbain V revient à Rome, mais en repart trois ans plus tard.

Beaucoup de lieux d'Italie la virent encore en pèlerinage, désireuse de vénérer les reliques des saints. Elle visita ainsi Milan, Pavie, Assise, Ortone, Bari, Bénévent, Pozzuoli, Naples, Salerne, Amalfi, le Sanctuaire de saint Michel Archange sur le Mont Gargano.

"Le dernier pèlerinage, effectué entre 1371 et 1372, l'amena à traverser la Méditerranée en direction de la Terre Sainte, lui permettant d'embrasser spirituellement, en plus de beaucoup de lieux sacrés de l'Europe catholique, les sources mêmes du christianisme dans les lieux sanctifiés par la vie et par la mort du Rédempteur".

"…En réalité, plus encore que par ce pieux pèlerinage, c'est par le sens profond du mystère du Christ et de l'Église que Brigitte participa à la construction de la communauté ecclésiale, à une période notablement critique de son histoire. Son union intime au Christ s'accompagna en effet de charismes particuliers de révélation qui firent d'elle un point de référence pour beaucoup de personnes de l'Église de son époque. On sent en Brigitte la force de la prophétie. Son ton semble parfois un écho de celui des anciens grands prophètes. Elle parle avec sûreté à des princes et à des papes, révélant les desseins de Dieu sur les événements de l'histoire.

Elle n'épargne pas les avertissements sévères même en matière de réforme morale du peuple chrétien et du clergé lui-même [4]. Certains aspects de son extraordinaire production mystique [5] suscitèrent en son temps des interrogations bien compréhensibles, à l'égard desquelles s'opéra le discernement de l'Église; celle-ci renvoya à l'unique révélation publique, qui a sa plénitude dans le Christ et son expression normative dans l'Écriture Sainte. Même les expériences des grands saints, en effet, ne sont pas exemptes des limites qui accompagnent toujours la réception par l'homme de la voix de Dieu".

Enfin, le pape soulignait le rôle de la sainte dans les relations entre Catholiques et Protestants : "Toutefois, il n'est pas douteux qu'en reconnaissant la sainteté de Brigitte, l'Église, sans pour autant se prononcer sur les diverses révélations, a accueilli l'authenticité globale de son expérience intérieure. Brigitte se présente comme un témoin significatif de la place que peut tenir, dans l'Église, le charisme vécu en pleine docilité à l'Esprit de Dieu et en totale conformité aux exigences de la communion ecclésiale. En particulier, les terres scandinaves, patrie de Brigitte, s'étant détachées de la pleine communion avec le siège de Rome au cours de tristes événements du XVIe siècle, la figure de la sainte suédoise reste un précieux "lien" [6].

Sainte Brigitte de Suède meurt à Rome, où elle habitait depuis vingt ans, le 23 juillet 1373 à l'âge de 70 ans, longévité rare au Moyen-âge.

Son cercueil, escorté par son fils Burger et sa fille Catherine, fut ramené dans son pays natal, à l’abbaye de Vadstena qu'elle avait fondée près de trente ans auparavant.

Elle est canonisée dès 1391 par le pape Boniface IX.

Sainte Brigitte de Suède est particulièrement populaire dans les pays scandinaves, l’Allemagne, la Pologne et la Hongrie.

Aujourd’hui encore, 700 ans après leur fondation, les "Brigittines" sont actives à Rome, en Inde et au Mexique.

[1] Jean-Paul II, le 1er octobre 1999. Lors de l'ouverture du synode pour l'Europe, le pape proclame Brigitte de Suède co-patronne de l'Europe en même temps que Catherine de Sienne et Edith Stein.

[2] Idem

[3] Idem

[4] Cf. "Révélations célestes", Livre IV, chapitre 49 et aussi Livre IV, chapitre 5.

[5] Rassemblée dans "Les révélations célestes"

[6] Idem

SOURCE : http://www.maria-valtorta.org/ValtortaWeb/Brigitte.htm

Jerónimo Cosida  (1510–1592),  Santa Brígida de Suecia, between circa 1534 and circa 1566, 149.7 x 96.2, Museum of Navarre


Les quinze oraisons de Sainte Brigitte de Suède

1ère Oraison

Ô Jésus-Christ ! douceur éternelle à ceux qui vous aiment, joie qui surpasse toute joie et tout désir, espoir et salut des pécheurs, qui avez témoigné n'avoir de plus grand contentement que d'être parmi les hommes jusqu'à prendre la nature humaine en la plénitude des temps pour l'amour d'eux, souvenez-vous des souffrances que vous avez endurées dès l'instant de votre conception et surtout dans le temps de votre sainte Passion, ainsi qu'il avait été décrété et ordonné de toute éternité dans la pensée divine. Souvenez-vous, Seigneur, que faisant la Cène avec vos disciples, après leur avoir lavé les pieds, vous leur avez donné votre Corps Sacré et votre Précieux Sang, et, tout en les consolant avec douceur, vous leur avez prédit votre prochaine Passion. Souvenez-vous de la tristesse et de l'amertume que vous avez éprouvées en votre âme, comme vous l'avez témoigné vous-même, disant : "Mon âme est triste jusqu'à la mort." Souvenez-vous, Seigneur, des craintes, angoisses et douleurs que vous avez endurées en votre Corps délicat avant le supplice de la Croix, quand, après avoir prié trois fois en répandant une sueur de Sang, vous avez été trahi par Judas, votre disciple, pris par la nation que vous aviez choisie et élevée, accusé par de faux témoins, injustement jugé par trois juges, en la fleur de votre jeunesse et dans le temps solennel de la Pâque. Souvenez-vous que vous avez été dépouillé de vos propres vêtements et revêtu de ceux de la dérision ; qu'on vous a voilé les yeux et la face, qu'on vous a donné des soufflets, que vous avez été couronné d'épines, qu'on vous a mis un roseau à la main, et qu'attaché à une colonne vous avez été déchiré de coups et accablé d'affronts et d'outrages. En mémoire de ces peines et douleurs que vous avez endurées avant votre Passion sur la Croix, donnez-moi avant la mort une vraie contrition, une pure et entière confession, une digne pénitence et la rémission de tous mes péchés. Ainsi soit-il.

Pater, Ave

2ème Oraison

Ô Jésus ! vraie liberté des anges, paradis de délices, ayez mémoire de l'horreur de tristesse que vous avez endurée lorsque vos ennemis, tels des lions furieux, vous entourèrent, et par mille injures, crachats, soufflets, griffures et autres supplices inouïs, vous tourmentèrent à l'envie. En considération de ces tourments et de ces paroles injurieuses, je vous supplie, ô mon Sauveur, de me délivrer de mes ennemis visibles et invisibles, et de me faire arriver, sous votre protection, à la perfection du salut éternel. Ainsi soit-il.

Pater, Ave

3ème Oraison

Ô Jésus ! Créateur du Ciel et de la Terre, que nulle chose ne peut borner ni limiter, vous qui enfermez et tenez tout sous votre Puissance, souvenez-vous de la douleur très amère que vous avez endurée lorsque les soldats, attachant vos mains sacrées et vos pieds très délicats à la Croix, les percèrent de part en part avec de gros clous émoussés et, ne vous trouvant pas dans l'état qu'ils voulaient pour contenter leur rage, agrandirent vos plaies, y ajoutèrent douleur sur douleur puis, par une cruauté inouïe, vous allongèrent alors sur la Croix et vous tirèrent de tous côtés en disloquant vos membres. Je vous conjure, par la mémoire de cette très sainte et très aimante douleur de la Croix, de me donner votre crainte et votre amour. Ainsi soit-il.

Pater, Ave

4ème Oraison

Ô Jésus ! céleste médecin, élevé sur la Croix pour guérir nos plaies par les vôtres, souvenez-vous des langueurs et meurtrissures que vous avez souffertes en tous vos membres, dont aucun ne demeurera en sa place, en sorte qu'il n'y avait douleur semblable à la vôtre. De la plante des pieds jusqu'au sommet de la tête, aucune partie de votre Corps n'était sans tourments ; et cependant, oubliant vos souffrances, vous ne vous êtes point lassé de prier votre Père pour vos ennemis, lui disant : "Père, pardonne-leur, car ils ne savent pas ce qu'ils font !" Par cette grande Miséricorde et en mémoire de cette douleur, faites que le souvenir de votre très amère Passion opère en moi une parfaite contrition et la rémission de tous mes péchés. Ainsi soit-il.

Pater, Ave

5ème Oraison

Ô Jésus ! miroir de splendeur éternelle, souvenez-vous de la tristesse que vous avez eue, lorsque, contemplant dans la lumière de votre divinité la prédestination de ceux qui devaient être sauvés par les mérites de votre sainte Passion, vous voyiez en même temps la multitude des réprouvés qui devaient être damnés par leurs péchés, et vous plaigniez amèrement ces malheureux pécheurs perdus et désespérés. Par cet abîme de compassion et de pitié, et principalement par la bonté que vous fîtes paraître envers le Bon Larron, lui disant : "Tu seras aujourd'hui avec moi en Paradis", je

vous prie, ô doux Jésus, qu'à l'heure de ma mort vous me fassiez miséricorde. Ainsi soit-il.

Pater, Ave

6ème Oraison

Ô Jésus ! Roi aimable et tout désirable, souvenez-vous de la douleur que vous avez eue quand, nu et comme un misérable, attaché et élevé en Croix, tous vos parents et vos amis vous abandonnèrent, excepté votre Mère bien-aimée qui demeura, en compagnie de saint Jean, très fidèlement auprès de vous dans l'Agonie et que vous avez recommandés l'un à l'autre en disant : "Femme, voilà ton fils !", et à saint Jean : "Voilà ta mère !" Je vous supplie, ô mon Sauveur, par le glaive de douleur qui alors transperça l'âme de votre sainte Mère, d'avoir compassion de moi en toutes mes afflictions et tribulations, tant corporelles que spirituelles, et de m'assister dans mes épreuves, surtout à l'heure de ma mort. Ainsi soit-il.

Pater, Ave

7ème Oraison

Ô Jésus ! fontaine de pitié inépuisable qui, par une profonde affection d'amour avez dit sur la Croix : "J'ai soif !", mais de la soif du salut du genre humain, je vous prie, ô mon Sauveur, d'exalter le désir de mon cœur pour tendre à la perfection dans toutes mes œuvres, et d'éteindre entièrement en moi la concupiscence charnelle et l'ardeur des appétits mondains. Ainsi soit-il.

Pater, Ave

8ème Oraison

Ô Jésus ! douceur des cœurs, suavité des esprits, par l'amertume du fiel et du vinaigre que vous avez goûtés sur la Croix pour l'amour de nous, accordez-moi de recevoir dignement votre Corps et votre Sang Précieux pendant la vie et à l'heure de ma mort, pour servir de remède et de consolation à mon âme. Ainsi soit-il.

Pater, Ave

9ème Oraison

Ô Jésus ! vertu royale, joie de l'esprit, souvenez-vous de la douleur que vous avez endurée, lorsque plongé dans l'amertume à l'approche de la mort, insulté et outragé par les hommes, vous avez crié avoir été abandonné de votre Père, lui disant : "Mon Dieu, mon Dieu, pourquoi m'as-tu abandonné ?" Par cette angoisse, je vous conjure, ô mon Sauveur, ne m'abandonnez pas dans les terreurs et les douleurs de la mort. Ainsi soit-il.

Pater, Ave

10ème Oraison

Ô Jésus ! qui êtes en toutes choses commencement et fin, vie et vertu, souvenez-vous que vous vous êtes plongé pour nous dans un abîme de douleurs, de la plante des pieds jusqu'au sommet de la tête. En considération de la grandeur de vos plaies, apprenez-moi à garder vos Commandements par une vraie charité, ces Commandements dont la voie est large et aisée pour ceux qui vous aiment. Ainsi soit-il.

Pater, Ave

11ème Oraison

Ô Jésus ! abîme très profond de Miséricorde, je vous supplie, en mémoire de vos Plaies qui ont pénétré jusqu'à la moelle de vos os et de vos entrailles, de me tirer, moi, misérable submergé par mes offenses, hors du péché, et de me cacher de votre face irritée dans les trous de vos Plaies, jusqu'à ce que votre colère et votre juste indignation soient passées. Ainsi soit-il.

Pater, Ave

12ème Oraison

Ô Jésus ! miroir de vérité, marque d'unité, lien de charité, souvenez-vous de la multitude de plaies dont vous avez été blessé de la tête aux pieds, déchiré et tout rougi par l'effusion de votre Sang adorable ! Ô grande et universelle douleur que vous avez soufferte pour l'amour de nous en votre chair virginale ! Très doux Jésus, qu'auriez-vous pu faire pour nous que vous n'ayez fait ! Je vous conjure, ô mon Sauveur, de marquer de votre Précieux Sang toutes vos plaies dans mon cœur, afin que j'y lise sans cesse vos douleurs et votre Amour. Que par le fidèle souvenir de votre Passion, le fruit de vos souffrances soit renouvelé dans mon âme, et que votre Amour s'y augmente chaque jour, jusqu'à ce que je parvienne à vous qui êtes le trésor de tous les biens et de toutes les joies, que je vous supplie de me donner, ô très doux Jésus, dans la vie éternelle. Ainsi soit-il.

Pater, Ave

13ème Oraison

Ô Jésus ! Lion très fort, Roi immortel et invincible, ayez mémoire de la douleur que vous avez endurée, lorsque toutes vos forces, tant du cœur que du corps, étant épuisées, vous avez incliné la tête en disant: "Tout est consommé !" Par cette angoisse et cette douleur, je vous supplie, Seigneur Jésus, d'avoir pitié de moi en la dernière heure de ma vie, lorsque mon âme sera dans l'angoisse et que mon esprit sera troublé. Ainsi soit-il.

Pater, Ave

14ème Oraison

Ô Jésus ! Fils unique du Père, splendeur et figure de sa substance, souvenez-vous de l'humble recommandation que vous avez faite à votre Père, lui disant : "Mon Père, je remets mon esprit entre tes mains !" Puis, votre Corps déchiré, votre Cœur brisé, et les entrailles de votre Miséricorde ouvertes pour nous racheter, vous avez expiré ! Par cette précieuse Mort, je vous conjure, ô Roi des saints, de me réconforter et de me secourir pour résister au démon, à la chair et au sang, afin qu'étant mort au monde je vive en vous seul. Recevez je vous prie, à l'heure de ma mort, mon âme pèlerine et exilée qui retourne à Vous. Ainsi soit-il.

Pater, Ave

15ème Oraison

Ô Jésus ! vraie et féconde vigne, souvenez-vous de l'abondante effusion de Sang que vous avez si généreusement répandue de votre Corps Sacré, ainsi que le raisin sous le pressoir. De votre côté percé d'un coup de lance par un soldat, vous avez donné du Sang et de l'Eau, de telle sorte qu'il n'en est plus demeuré une seule goutte. Et enfin, comme un faisceau de myrrhe élevé du haut de la Croix, votre Chair délicate s'est anéantie, l'humeur de vos entrailles s'est tarie, la moelle de vos os s'est desséchée. Par cette amère Passion et par l'effusion de votre Précieux Sang, je vous supplie, ô bon Jésus, de recevoir mon âme lorsque je serai à l'agonie. Ainsi soit-il.

Pater, Ave

Prière finale

Ô Doux Jésus ! blessez mon cœur, afin que des larmes de pénitence, de douleur et d’amour nuit et jour me servent de pain ; convertissez-moi entièrement à Vous, que mon cœur Vous soit une perpétuelle habitation, que ma conversation Vous soit agréable, et que la fin de ma vie Vous soit tellement louable qu’après ma mort je puisse mériter votre Paradis et Vous louer à jamais avec tous Vos Saints. Ainsi soit-il.

SOURCE : http://imagessaintes.canalblog.com/archives/2008/10/24/11081636.html



BENOÎT XVI

AUDIENCE GÉNÉRALE

Place Saint-Pierre

Mercredi 27 octobre 2010

Sainte Brigitte de Suède


Chers frères et sœurs,

En la veille fervente du grand Jubilé de l’An 2000, le vénérable serviteur de Dieu Jean-Paul II proclama sainte Brigitte de Suède co-patronne de toute l’Europe. Ce matin, je voudrais présenter sa figure, son message, et les raisons pour lesquelles cette sainte femme a beaucoup à enseigner — aujourd’hui encore — à l’Eglise et au monde.

Nous connaissons bien les événements de la vie de sainte Brigitte, car ses pères spirituels rédigèrent sa biographie pour promouvoir son procès de canonisation immédiatement après sa mort, en 1373. Brigitte était née 70 ans auparavant, en 1303, à Finster, en Suède, une nation du nord de l’Europe qui, depuis trois siècles, avait accueilli la foi chrétienne avec le même enthousiasme que celui avec lequel la sainte l’avait reçue de ses parents, des personnes très pieuses, appartenant à de nobles familles proches de la maison régnante.

Nous pouvons distinguer deux périodes dans la vie de cette sainte.

La première est caractérisée par son mariage heureux. Son mari s’appelait Ulf et était gouverneur d’un important territoire du royaume de Suède. Le mariage dura vingt-huit ans, jusqu’à la mort d’Ulf. Huit enfants furent issus de ce mariage, dont la deuxième, Karin (Catherine) est vénérée comme sainte. Cela est un signe éloquent de l’engagement éducatif de Brigitte à l’égard de ses enfants. D’ailleurs, sa sagesse pédagogique fut appréciée au point que le roi de Suède, Magnus, l’appela à la cour pour une certaine période, dans le but d’introduire sa jeune épouse, Blanche de Namur, à la culture suédoise.

Brigitte, qui reçut une direction spirituelle d’un religieux érudit qui l’introduisit à l’étude des Ecritures, exerça une influence très positive sur sa famille qui, grâce à sa présence, devint une véritable «Eglise domestique ». Avec son mari, elle adopta la Règle des Tertiaires franciscains. Elle pratiquait avec générosité des œuvres de charité envers les pauvres: elle fonda également un hôpital. Auprès de son épouse, Ulf apprit à améliorer son caractère et à progresser dans la vie chrétienne. Au retour d’un long pèlerinage à Saint-Jacques de Compostelle, accompli en 1341 avec d’autres membres de sa famille, les époux formèrent le projet de vivre dans l’abstinence; mais peu de temps après, dans la paix d’un monastère dans lequel il s’était retiré, Ulf conclut sa vie terrestre.

Cette première période de la vie de Brigitte nous aide à apprécier ce que nous pourrions définir aujourd’hui comme une authentique «spiritualité conjugale»: ensemble, les époux chrétiens peuvent parcourir un chemin de sainteté, soutenus par la grâce du sacrement du mariage. Souvent, comme ce fut le cas dans la vie de sainte Brigitte et d’Ulf, c’est la femme qui, avec sa sensibilité religieuse, sa délicatesse et sa douceur, réussit à faire parcourir à son mari un chemin de foi. Je pense avec reconnaissance à de nombreuses femmes qui, jour après jour, illuminent aujourd’hui encore leur famille par leur témoignage de vie chrétienne. Puisse l’Esprit du Seigneur susciter aujourd’hui également la sainteté des époux chrétiens, pour montrer au monde la beauté du mariage vécu selon les valeurs de l’Evangile: l’amour, la tendresse, l’aide réciproque, la fécondité dans l’engendrement et l’éducation des enfants, l’ouverture et la solidarité envers le monde, la participation à la vie de l’Eglise.

Devenue veuve, Brigitte commença la deuxième période de sa vie. Elle renonça à contracter un autre mariage pour approfondir l’union avec le Seigneur à travers la prière, la pénitence et les œuvres de charité. Les veuves chrétiennes peuvent donc trouver elles aussi chez cette sainte un modèle à suivre. En effet, à la mort de son mari, Brigitte, après avoir distribué ses biens aux pauvres, tout en ne choisissant jamais la consécration religieuse, s’installa au monastère cistercien d’Alvastra. C’est là que commencèrent les révélations divines, qui l’accompagnèrent pendant tout le reste de sa vie. Celles-ci furent dictées par Brigitte à ses secrétaires-confesseurs, qui les traduisirent du suédois en latin et les rassemblèrent dans une édition de huit livres, intitulés Revelationes (Révélations). A ces livres s’ajoute un supplément, qui a précisément pour titre Revelationes extravagantes (Révélations supplémentaires).

Les Révélations de sainte Brigitte présentent un contenu et un style très variés. Parfois, la révélation se présente sous forme de dialogue entre les Personnes divines, la Vierge, les saints et également les démons; des dialogues dans lesquels Brigitte intervient elle aussi. D’autres fois, en revanche, il s’agit du récit d’une vision particulière; et d’autres encore racontent ce que la Vierge Marie lui révèle à propos de la vie et des mystères de son Fils. La valeur des Révélations de sainte Brigitte, qui fut parfois objet de certains doutes, fut précisée par le vénérable Jean-Paul II dans la Lettre Spes Aedificandi: «En reconnaissant la sainteté de Brigitte, l'Eglise, sans pour autant se prononcer sur les diverses révélations, a accueilli l'authenticité globale de son expérience intérieure» (n. 5).

De fait, en lisant ces Révélations, nous sommes interpellés sur des thèmes importants. Par exemple, on retrouve fréquemment la description, avec des détails très réalistes, de la Passion du Christ, pour laquelle Brigitte eut toujours une dévotion privilégiée, contemplant dans celle-ci l’amour infini de Dieu pour les hommes. Sur les lèvres du Seigneur qui lui parle, elle place avec audace ces paroles émouvantes: «O mes amis, j’aime si tendrement mes brebis, que, s’il était possible, j’aimerais mieux mourir autant de fois pour chacune d’elles de la mort que je souffris pour la rédemption de toutes, que d’en être privé» (Revelationes, Livre I, c. 59). La maternité douloureuse de Marie, qui en fit la Médiatrice et la Mère de miséricorde, est aussi un thème qui revient souvent dans les Révélations.

En recevant ces charismes, Brigitte était consciente d’être la destinataire d’un don de grande prédilection de la part du Seigneur: «Or, vous, ma fille — lisons-nous dans le premier livre des Révélations —, que j'ai choisie pour moi [...] aimez-moi de tout votre cœur [...] mais plus que tout ce qui est au monde» (c. 1). Du reste, Brigitte savait bien, et elle en était fermement convaincue, que chaque charisme est destiné à édifier l’Eglise. C’est précisément pour ce motif qu’un grand nombre de ses révélations étaient adressées, sous formes d’avertissements parfois sévères, aux croyants de son temps, y compris les autorités politiques et religieuses, pour qu’elles vivent de façon cohérente leur vie chrétienne; mais elle faisait toujours cela avec une attitude de respect et en pleine fidélité au Magistère de l’Eglise, en particulier au Successeur de l’apôtre Pierre.

En 1349, Brigitte quitta définitivement la Suède et se rendit en pèlerinage à Rome. Elle entendait non seulement prendre part au Jubilé de 1350, mais elle désirait aussi obtenir du Pape l'approbation de la Règle d'un Ordre religieux qu'elle entendait fonder, consacré au Saint Sauveur, et composé de moines et moniales sous l'autorité de l’abbesse. Cela ne doit pas nous surprendre: il existait au Moyen-Age des fondations monastiques avec une branche masculine et une branche féminine, mais pratiquant la même règle monastique, qui prévoyait la direction d'une Abbesse. De fait, dans la grande tradition chrétienne, une dignité propre est reconnue à la femme, et — toujours à l'exemple de Marie, Reine des Apôtres — une place propre dans l'Église qui, sans coïncider avec le sacerdoce ordonné, est tout aussi importante pour la croissance spirituelle de la Communauté. En outre, la collaboration d'hommes et de femmes consacrés, toujours dans le respect de leur vocation spécifique, revêt une grande importance dans le monde d'aujourd'hui.

A Rome, en compagnie de sa fille Karin, Brigitte se consacra à une vie d'intense apostolat et de prière. Et de Rome, elle partit en pèlerinage dans divers sanctuaires italiens, en particulier à Assise, patrie de saint François, pour lequel Brigitte a toujours nourri une grande dévotion. Enfin, en 1371, elle couronna son plus grand désir: le voyage en Terre Sainte, où elle se rendit en compagnie de ses fils spirituels, un groupe que Brigitte appelait «les amis de Dieu».

A cette époque-là, les Papes se trouvaient en Avignon, loin de Rome: Brigitte se tourna vers eux avec une grande tristesse, afin qu'ils reviennent au siège de Pierre, dans la Ville éternelle.

Elle mourut en 1373, avant que le Pape Grégoire XI ne rentre définitivement à Rome. Elle fut enterrée provisoirement dans l'église romaine «San Lorenzo in Panisperna», mais en 1374, ses enfants Birger et Karin la ramenèrent dans leur patrie, au monastère de Vadstena, siège de l'Ordre religieux fondé par sainte Brigitte, qui connut immédiatement une remarquable expansion. En 1391, le Pape Boniface IX la canonisa solennellement.

La sainteté de Brigitte, caractérisée par la multiplicité des dons et des expériences que j'ai voulu rappeler dans ce bref portrait biographique et spirituel, fait d'elle une éminente figure dans l'histoire de l'Europe. Originaire de Scandinavie, sainte Brigitte témoigne de la manière dont le christianisme a profondément imprégné la vie de tous les peuples de ce continent. En la déclarant co-patronne de l’Europe, le Pape Jean-Paul II a souhaité que sainte Brigitte — qui vécut au XIVe siècle, lorsque la chrétienté occidentale n'était pas encore frappée par la division — puisse intercéder efficacement auprès de Dieu, pour obtenir la grâce tant attendue de la pleine unité de tous les chrétiens.

Chers frères et sœurs, nous voulons prier à cette même intention, qui nous tient beaucoup à cœur, et pour que l'Europe sache toujours se nourrir à ses propres racines chrétiennes, tout en invoquant la puissante intercession de sainte Brigitte de Suède, fidèle disciple de Dieu et co-patronne de l'Europe. Merci de votre attention.

* * *

Je salue cordialement les pèlerins francophones, en particulier les jeunes et les groupes paroissiaux! Je vous exhorte, chers époux chrétiens, à montrer au monde la beauté du mariage vécu selon les valeurs évangéliques. Quant à vous, chers jeunes, ayez à cœur de nourrir votre foi chrétienne pour la faire grandir. Bon pèlerinage à tous, avec ma bénédiction !

APPEL

Ces dernières heures, un nouveau et terrible tsunami s'est abattu sur les côtes indonésiennes, frappées également par une éruption volcanique, provoquant de nombreux morts et personnes portées disparues. J'exprime aux familles des victimes mes plus vives condoléances pour la perte de leurs proches et j'assure toute la population indonésienne de ma proximité et de ma prière.

En outre, je suis, proche des chères populations du Bénin, frappées par des pluies continues, qui ont laissé de nombreuses personnes sans abri et dans des situations d'hygiène et de santé très précaires. J'invoque sur toute la nation la bénédiction et le réconfort du Seigneur.

Je demande à la communauté internationale de se prodiguer pour fournir l'aide nécessaire et pour soulager les difficultés de ceux qui souffrent à la suite de ces dévastations.

© Copyright 2010 - Libreria Editrice Vaticana

SOURCE : http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/benedict_xvi/audiences/2010/documents/hf_ben-xvi_aud_20101027_fr.html

Anton Coberger  (1440–1513), Sainte Brigitte


23 juillet

Sainte Brigitte de Suède

Biographie

Comme sainte Catherine de Sienne, sainte Brigitte pria et agit pour la fin du Grand schisme d'Occident et le retour du pape à Rome. Ses paroles et son œuvre, écrit Jean-Paul II à l'Abbesse générale de l'Ordre du Saint-Sauveur, pourront être d'un grand soutien à ceux qui désirent se consacrer sincèrement à la réalisation de l'invitation du Christ Utunum sint (Jean XVII 21). Le Saint-Père affirmait que L'urgence missionnaire, qui illumina sa vie itinérante du nord au sud du continent européen, fait d'elle un exemple à imiter surtout dans l'œuvre de la nouvelle évangélisation en Europe.

Sainte Brigitte, apparentée par sa mère à la famille royale de Suède, naquit vers 1303, d’une noble famille de Finsta, à Skederid, dans le Roslagen à une cinquantaine de kilomètres au nord de Stockholm. Son père, le chevalier Birger Persson était sénateur du Royaume et lagman (sénéchal) de la province d'Upland, la principale de Suède, pour quoi il rédigea une nouvelle loi qui, au XIV° siècle, fut à la base de la nouvelle loi civile et criminelle commune à tout le Royaume. Cette famille observait les jeûnes, se confessait tous les vendredis, faisait des lectures spirituelles et des pèlerinages.

Orpheline de mère en 1314, Brigitte fut confiée à un de ses tantes maternelles, femme du sénéchal d’Ostrogothie, qui la maria, lorsqu’elle eut treize ans (1316), à Ulf Guodmarsson, beau jeune homme de dix-huit ans, dont elle eut quatre garçons et quatre filles : Gudmar, Bengt et Ingeborg, moururent en bas âge ; Marta, Karl, Birger, Catherine et Cecilia parvinrent à l'âge adulte. Ulf Guodmarsson fut successivement sénéchal, chevalier et sénateur du Royaume. Jusqu’en 1340, Brigitte s'occupa de l'éducation de ses enfants mêlés à ceux qui vivaient dans la grande propriété d'Ulvasa, leur lisant la Bible et la Vie des Saints. Elle fit construire sur le domaine un bâtiment pour les pauvres et les malades qu'elle soignait elle-même avec ses enfants.

En 1335, Brigitte reçut la charge d’initier aux coutumes suédoises Blanche de Dampierre, fille du comte de Namur que, le roi Magnus Eriksson venait d’épouser et elle exerça à la cour une influence certaine. Elle séjournait souvent au château de Vadstena, sur les bords du lac Vattere, proche d’Alvastra, première abbaye cistercienne de Scandinavie.

En 1341, Brigitte et Ulf, fidèles à une tradition familiale vieille de quatre générations, partirent pour saint Jacques de Compostelle, accompagnés de parents, d'amis et de prêtres dont un cistercien, confesseur de Brigitte. Sur le chemin du retour, Ulf tomba malade à Arras et se retira à l'abbaye d'Alvastra où un de ses fils était moine, et où il mourut, en 1344. Veuve, Brigitte s’installa dans une dépendance d'Alvastra où commencèrent les révélations qu’elle eut jusqu'à sa mort. Elle reçut les conseils et l’appui de Pierre Olafsson, sous-prieur, puis prieur d'Alvastra, qui était à la fois son directeur spirituel et son secrétaire ; lorsque mourut Maître Matthias, chanoine de la cathédrale de Skenninge, célèbre par sa grande érudition théologique, qui était depuis longtemps son confesseur, il fut remplacé par Pierre de Skenninge ; un autre Pierre Olafsson, aumônier de l’hôpital de Skenninge, conseillait aussi Brigitte.

On peut distinguer quatre cycles de Révélations :

1/ Le cycle suédois (1344-1349) qui s'accompagne de missions à la Cour de Stockholm ainsi qu'auprès de nobles et du clergé. Ce sont des révélations mariales ecclésiales, sur l'institution de l'Ordre du Saint Sauveur, destinées aux sept anges (évêques) de Suède, sur la souveraineté suédoise, sur le déclin de la Chevalerie chrétienne, en faveur de l'indiction d'un second jubilé (année sainte) à Rome, que le prieur d'Alvastra et l'évêque Hemming d'Abo portèrent, de la part de Brigitte, au pape Clément VI à Avignon, comme ils avaient porté aux rois de France et d’Angletterre l’ordre de faire la paix.

2/ Le cycle italo-romain s'ouvre en 1349 où, sous motion divine, sainte Brigitte vient en Italie pour gagner le jubilé de 1350 ; elle a des visions à Milan, puis à Saint-Pierre de Rome le 24 décembre 1349 lors de l'ouverture de la Porte sainte, et, ensuite, en bien d'autres circonstances et lieux romains. Ce sont des avertissements et des menaces avec des promesses de pardon et des appels répétés pour le retour du pape à Rome. A Saint-Paul-hors-les-Murs notamment, devant un crucifix, elle reçoit communication de ses oraisons de la Passion.

3 Le troisième cycle eut lieu de 1364 à 1370 lors des pèlerinages de Brigitte dans divers sanctuaires d'Italie : Assise (saint François), Ortono a Mare (saint Thomas apôtre), Mont Gargan (saint Michel), Bari (saint Nicolas), Bénévent (saint Barthélemy), Naples (avec plusieurs missions auprès de la reine Jeanne), Salerme (saint Matthieu), Amalfi (saint André).

4/ Le quatrième cycle eut lieu pendant son pèlerinage en Terre sainte (1371-1373) : la Passion (au saint Sépulcre), la Nativité (à Béthléem), la vie de la Vierge (dans la grotte de Jérusalem), et des révélations mineures au Cénacle, sur le mont des Oliviers, près du Jourdain ainsi qu'à l'aller et au retour à Chypre. D’autres révélations comprennent des messages pour la cour de Famagouste de l'empereur byzantin.

Toutes ces révélations furent faites à l'état de veille et en extase, avec des visions corporelles et des auditions. Brigitte eut aussi des locutions intérieures. Elle retenait tout jusqu'à ce qu'elle l'ait dicté à un secrétaire qui transcrivait en latin. Alors la sainte ne retenait plus que le sens général des entretiens qu'elle avait eus avec le Seigneur, la Vierge, les anges ou les saints...

Das Chorgestühl in der Klosterkirche des ehemaligen Kartäuserklosters Buxheim: Birgitta von Schweden


Prière

Béni soyez-vous, Jésus Christ mon Seigneur, qui avez prédit votre mort avant l'heure ; qui, à la dernière Cène, avez merveilleusement consacré avec du pain matériel votre corps qui nous rachète ; qui l'avez donné par amour aux Apôtres en mémoire de votre très précieuse passion ; vous qui, en leur lavant les pieds de vos très saintes et nobles mains, leur avez donné humblement un modèle d'humilité.

Honneur à vous, Jésus Christ mon Seigneur qui, par la peur de votre passion et de votre mort, avez fait jaillir une sueur sanglante de votre corps innocent ; pourtant vous avez accompli notre rédemption que vous vouliez réaliser ; et ainsi vous avez manifesté avec une parfaite évidence votre amour pour le genre humain.

Béni soyez-vous, Jésus Christ mon Seigneur, qui fûtes conduit devant Caïphe et qui avez humblement permis, vous qui êtes le juge de tous, qu'on vous livrât au jugement de Pilate.

Gloire à vous, Jésus Christ mon Seigneur, pour les moqueries que vous avez subies : vous avez été revêtu de pourpre, couronné d’épines très aiguës, et vous avez supporté avec une grande patience de recevoir des crachats sur votre face glorieuse, d'avoir les yeux voilés et d'être frappé durement à la machoire et au cou par les mains cruelles des impies.

Louange à vous, mon Seigneur Jésus Christ, qui vous êtes laissé lier à la colonne, atrocement flageller, conduire et montrer tout sanglant au tribunal de Pilate, avec une infinie patience, comme l'Agneau innocent.

Honneur a vous, Jésus Christ mon Seigneur : avec tout votre glorieux corps ensanglanté, vous avez été condamné à mourir sur la croix ; vous avez douloureusement porté la croix sur vos saintes épaules ; et, conduit par des furieux au lieu de votre passion, puis dépouillé de vos vêtements, vous avez voulu être ainsi cloué à la croix.

Perpétuel honneur à vous, Seigneur Jésus Christ : dans une telle angoisse vous avez regardé avec des yeux d'amour votre noble mère qui n'avait jamais commis de péché ni consenti à la plus légère faute ; et pour sa consolation vous l'avez confiée à la garde de votre disciple.

Bénédiction éternelle à vous, Jésus Christ mon Seigneur : dans les affres de la mort, vous avez donné à tous les pécheurs l'espérance du pardon lorsque vous avez miséricordieusement promis la gloire du paradis au malfaiteur qui se tournait vers vous.

Louange éternelle à vous, Jésus Christ mon Seigneur, pour cette heure où vous avez souffert sur la croix, pour nous pécheurs, les plus grandes amertumes et les angoisses les plus extrêmes ; car les souffrances très aiguës de vos blessures atteignaient durement votre âme et transperçaient cruellement votre cœur sacré ; finalement votre cœur a éclaté, vous avez rendu l'esprit et, penchant la tête, vous êtes remis humblement aux mains de Dieu votre Père, et alors votre corps a connu le froid de la mort.

Béni soyez-vous, Jésus Christ mon Seigneur, qui avez racheté les âmes par votre sang précieux et votre mort sacrée, qui les avez miséricordieusement ramenées de l'exil à la vie éternelle.

Béni soyez-vous, Jésus Christ mon Seigneur, qui pour notre salut avez permis que votre côté et votre cœur fussent percés par la lance, et qui avez fait jaiilir de votre côté les flots de votre sang précieux pour nous racheter.

Gloire à vous, Jésus Christ mon Seigneur, parce que vous avez voulu que votre corps béni fût déposé de la croix par vos amis et couché dans les bras de votre mère très douloureuse ; et parce que vous avez permis qu'elle l'enveloppât de linges, qu'il fût mis au tombeau et gardé par des soldats.

Honneur éternel à vous, Jésus Christ mon Seigneur, qui êtes ressuscité des morts le troisième jour ; qui vous êtes manifesté vivant aux témoins de votre choix ; qui, après quarante jours, êtes monté au ciel à la vue de beaucoup, et qui y avez établi avec honneur vos amis que vous avais délivrés des enfers.

A vous, jubilation et louange éternelle, Seigneur Jésus Christ, qui avez envoyé le Saint-Esprit dans le cœur de vos disciples et avez développé en eux un amour infini de Dieu.

Béni soyez-vous, digne de louange et de gloire éternellement, Jésus mon Seigneur, qui trônez dans votre royaume céleste dans la gloire de votre divinité, vivant corporellement avec vos membres très saints que vous avez tirés de la chair de la Vierge. Et c’est ainsi que vous viendrez au jour du jugement pour juger les âmes de tous, vivants et morts. Vous qui vivez et régnez avec le Père et le Saint-Esprit pour les siècles des siècles. Amen.

Sainte Brigitte de Suède

Forsthauspark, Wien-Brigittenau  


Lettre du Pape Jean-Paul II à l'occasion des 600 ans de la canonisation de Ste Brigitte

A ma bien-aimée Fille Tekla Famiglietti

Abbesse générale de l'Ordre du Saint-Sauveur de Sainte-Brigitte

1. Six cents ans se sont écoulés depuis que, le 7 octobre 1391, dans la basilique du Vatican, mon prédécesseur le Pape Boniface IX[1] canonisa sainte Brigitte de Suède. Dans la Bulle « Ab origine mundi » on soulignait à juste titre, parmi les vertus et les charismes de la nouvelle sainte, sa piété manifeste, les dons de discernement des cœurs et des intuitions surnaturelles, un esprit prophétique.

La mémoire historique est encore aujourd'hui pleine d'admiration devant cette femme, expression et interprète de la terre de Suède[2]. En effet, nous ne sommes pas simplement en présence d'une des figures les plus représentatives du mysticisme de la fin du Moyen Age dont l' Eglise a été riche aux XIV° et XV° siècles, mais on reconnaît surtout en elle la profonde dévotion avec laquelle elle a su servir et défendre le Siège apostolique et le successeur de Pierre. Ce n'est pas un hasard si le Congrès d'étude qui se tiendra dans les prochains jours à Rome, dans la maison où la sainte s'éteignit le 23 juillet 1373, a pour thème : « Sainte Brigitte, prophétesse des temps nouveaux. » Les dimensions internationales et interconfessionnelles d'une telle rencontre manifestent l'actualité du charisme de Brigitte de Suède. Son témoignage déterminant de femme « fidèle à la sainte Mère Eglise » constitue un encouragement pour tous les croyants. L'urgence missionnaire, qui illumina sa vie itinérante du nord au sud du continent européen, fait d'elle un exemple à imiter, surtout dans l'œuvre de la nouvelle évangélisation en Europe. Sainte Brigitte de Suède est en effet une sainte aux dimensions européennes. Ardente d'amour divin, elle se consacra tout entière à la cause du Règne, œuvrant activement pour l'unité des chrétiens.

Dans cette lettre, alors que je rends grâces au Père céleste pour les nombreux dons spirituels prodigués à la fondatrice de votre ordre, je tiens à souligner et à soumettre encore une fois à la réflexion de tout le peuple de Dieu certains aspects de son message, profondément conscient que ses paroles et son œuvre pourront être d'un grand soutien à ceux qui désirent se consacrer sincèrement à réaliser l'invitation du Christ : « Ut Unum sint.[3] »

2. Une épouse chrétienne exemplaire[4]. Ce fut la note dominante de la première partie de la vie de sainte Brigitte (1316-1344) jusqu'à la mort de son mari, survenue au monastère d'Alvastra, où il s’était retiré. Mère exemplaire de huit enfants, elle les éleva, avec son fidèle mari, à la perfection chrétienne et, suivant les traditions religieuses de l'époque, les accompagna en pèlerinage aux sanctuaires de Compostelle, d'Alvastra et dans beaucoup d'autres lieux sacrés pour la piété populaire de l'époque[5].

Brigitte et Ulf, son mari, se consacrèrent intensément à la contemplation de la passion du Christ, aux jeûnes et à la charité envers les pauvres et les malades, et ils persévérèrent dans la prière et la méditation des Ecritures Saintes.

En 1344, après la mort de son mari, dont elle veilla longtemps et avec amour la dépouille mortelle, Brigitte se mit en route pour Rome. Elle eut à cette époque de sa vie des expériences extraordinaires de « mystique conjugale », s'abandonnant aux mystérieux desseins du Ciel grâce à de longs silences intéreurs et une oraison ardente et pleine de confiance.

3. Fidélité à la sainte Mère Eglise. L'expérience d'Alvastra fit mûrir en elle le désir de se donner entièrement au Seigneur. Voulant revivre le climat spirituel de l'Eglise priant autour de Marie au Cénacle, elle fonda le monastère de Vadstena en Suède.

C'était l'époque des grandes épreuves pour la papauté, et Brigitte œuvra avec tous les moyens dont elle disposait pour faire revenir le Pape sur le siège de Rome, car elle concevait cet engagement comme une mission particulière que le Seigneur lui aurait confiée.

Pour mener à bien cette action en faveur du successeur de saint Pierre elle se laissa guider par ses intuitions intérieures et par la lumière de l’Esprit de Dieu.

Elle choisit Rome pour seconde patrie et, le cœur plein d'ardeur apostolique, d'amour sans ombres pour le Siège de Pierre, elle favorisa par tous les moyens la paix en Suède, en France, en Angleterre et en Italie. Sa présence fut particulièrement efficace à Milan, Pavie, Assise, Monte Sant'Angelo, Manfredonia, Bari, Bénévent, Naples, Aversa, Salerne et Amalfi : lieux qui conservent aujourd'hui encore avec gratitude le souvenir de son passage.

Elle fut estimée et vénérée par les croyants non seulement dans sa terre d'origine, mais partout où elle eut à travailler. Un tel témoignage unanime de dévotion, qui subsiste encore aujourd'hui, constitue un signe prophétique de réconciliation et d'espérance pour le continent européen et pour l'humanité entière.

4. Comme l'esprit de sainte Brigitte est actuel ! Son expérience religieuse est marquée par le désir d'unité et d'adhésion à Jésus, Dieu et homme, auquel la sainte s'adressait avec des accents de confidence tendre et inspirée. Son amour pour la Vierge Marie, « Mater gratiæ » était intense et filial. Un modèle d'ascétisme si riche a inspiré pendant des siècles de nombreuses pratiques de piété populaire qui, après si longtemps conservent encore la fraîcheur de leur attraction. Il s'agit d'un courant spirituel simple, qui considère Jésus comme 1'époux et le compagnon de chaque jour.

Pour ceux qui veulent la connaître et suivre ses traces, Brigitte apparaît comme la femme forte, qui a laissé une empreinte particulière dans la maison et à la cour où elle vécut[6] : l’épouse fidèle engagée dans l’union mystique avec le Christ ; la mère sainte désireuse de transmettre à ses enfants les secrets du salut éternel ; la religieuse exemplaire qui consuma son existence dans la charité et brûla du désir de « se perdre » en Dieu.

5. Le souvenir d'un personnage aussi significatif dans l'histoire de l'engagement pour l'unité de l'Eglise fait spontanément penser à une autre femme, elle aussi suédoise, qui a de nouveau proposé aux hommes de ce siècle la spiritualité de sainte Brigitte. Il s'agit de Mère Marie Elisabeth Hesselblad, morte à Rome, dans la même maison que la sainte, le 24 avril 1957[7].

Son œuvre se situe dans le sillage lumineux du charisme de la sainte fondatrice transmis à travers les siècles par les différentes familles religieuses brigidines, masculines et féminines, disséminées dans le monde. Ayant elle aussi rejoint Rome et le catholicisme, elle fonda une nouvelle branche des Brigidines ayant un but œcuménique significatif. L'ardent désir de réconciliation et de communion ecclésiale a ensuite été hérité par ses filles spirituelles, qui continuent à offrir leurs prières et leurs sacrifices, pour que l'unité se reforme au plus tôt parmi tous ceux qui professent leur foi en Jésus-Christ.

6. Tandis que, avec une âme reconnaissante au Seigneur, je m'unis à la joie de ceux qui célèbrent en ces jours le sixième centenaire de la canonisation de sainte Brigitte, je souhaite de tout cœur que son service courageux rendu à l'Eglise soit aujourd'hui encore un stimulant et un encouragement pour ceux qui veulent se consacrer à la nouvelle évangélisation de l'humanité.

Que le Rédempteur de l'homme transmette le souffle prophétique et missionnaire de la mystique suédoise aux instituts qui œuvrent dans le sillage de sa spiritualité, et aussi à toute la communauté de l'Eglise qui s'achemine vers le troisième millénaire chrétien. Que Marie Mater gratiæ accompagne de façon spéciale tout le développement de l'ordre dont vous êtes, chère Fille, responsable. Enfin, que chaque membre de cet ordre du Saint-Sauveur et des autres familles religieuses qui s'inspirent de sainte Brigitte, obtienne de Dieu, grâce à la protection céleste de la Mère fondatrice commune, le don de la fidélité et de la persévérance.

Que dans ce cheminement de perfection évangélique si prenant, ma Bénédiction apostolique puisse vous aider, vous et vos sœurs.

Du Vatican, le 8 septembre 1991, fête de la nativité de la Très Sainte Vierge, treizième année de mon pontificat.

[1] Boniface IX : Pierre Tomacelli, né à Naples vers le milieu du XIV° siècle, fut élu pape le 2 novembre 1389 et couronné le 9 novembre 1389 ; il mourut à Rome le 1° octobre 1404.

[2] Sainte Brigitte, née vers 1303 à Skederid (Roslagen), dans la noble famille de Finsta, est apparentée par sa mère à la famille royale de Suède. Son père, le chevalier Birger Persson est sénateur du Royaume et lagman (sénéchal) de la principale province de Suède, l'Upland, pour quoi il rédigea une loi qui, au XIV° siècle, est à la base de la loi civile et criminelle commune à tout le Royaume. Cette famille observait les jeûnes, se confessait tous les vendredis, faisait des lectures spirituelles et des pèlerinages.

[3] « Qu’ils soient un » (évangile selon saint Jean, XVII 21).

[4] Orpheline de mère (1314), Brigitte fut confiée à sa tante maternelle, femme du sénéchal d’Ostrogothie, qui la maria (1316), à Ulf Guodmarsson dont elle eut quatre garçons et quatre filles ; trois moururent en bas âge. Ulf fut successivement langman de Néricie (1330), chevalier et sénateur du Royaume. Jusqu’en 1340, Brigitte s'occupa de l'éducation de ses enfants mêlés à ceux qui vivaient à Ulvasa, leur lisant la Bible et la Vie des Saints. Elle fit construire sur le domaine un bâtiment pour les pauvres et les malades qu'elle soignait elle-même avec ses enfants.

[5] En 1341, fidèles à une tradition familiale, ils partirent pour saint Jacques de Compostelle, avec des parents, des amis et des prêtres dont un cistercien, confesseur de Brigitte. Sur le chemin du retour, Ulf tomba malade à Arras et se retira à l'abbaye d'Alvastra où un de ses fils était moine, et où il mourut, en 1344.

[6] En 1335, elle reçoit la charge d’initier aux coutumes suédoises Blanche de Dampierre que Magnus II Eriksson  vient d’épouser; elle exerce à la cour une influence certaine.

[7] Elisabeth Hesselblad, née à Faglavik (Suède) le 4 juin 1870, dans une famille luthérienne, elle eut très jeune la nostalgie de la réunion des Eglises en même temps qu'un grand intérêt pour la vie de sainte Brigitte. A dix-huit ans, après la mort de son père, elle émigra aux Etats-Unis où elle devint infirmière à New York. Elle fut reçue dans l'Eglise Romaine (15 août 1902). En 1904, atteinte d'une maladie jugée incurable, elle voulut finir ses jours à Rome, dans la maison où avait résidé sainte Brigitte et qui était occupée par des carmélites. Son état de santé s'étant amélioré, Pie X lui accorda de faire profession dans l'ordre des brigittines en continuant à résider dans son carmel romain (1906). En 1908, elle entreprit de visiter les couvents brigittins encore existants en Espagne, en Angleterre, aux Pays-Bas et en Allemagne, afin d'en mieux connaître la règle et d'inviter les religieuses à « faire quelque chose » pour la Suède luthérienne. Elle comprit que pour réintroduire l'ordre en Suède, il était indispensable d'en modifier la règle pour l’adapter à la culture suédoise moderne. Revenue à Rome, elle décida, avec l'aide de son directeur spirituel, le jésuite Hagen, directeur de l'Observatoire astronomique du Vatican, de fonder une nouvelle branche de l'ordre des brigittines, orientée nettement vers l'union des Eglises et dont la règle pourrait convenir à des Suédoises. Un premier couvent put être ouvert en Suède, à Vilohem, en 1923 ; une seconde maison fut fondée en 1929 à Nordkoping.

SOURCE : http://missel.free.fr/Sanctoral/07/23.php

Colored Woodcut showing Saint Birgitta of Sweden among sisters and brothers of the Bridgettine Order, from the first High German Editio of her revelationes: Das Puch Der Himlischen Offenbarung [Revelationes]. Nürnberg: Anton Koberger für Florian Waldauf, 12 July), [1502]. This picture form a copy once in the library of Mount Saint Alphonsus Seminary library in upstate New York, 2013 up for Auction at Freeman's in Philadelphia


Saint Bridget of Sweden

Also known as

Bridget of Vadstena

Bridgit…

Birgit…

Birgitta…

Bridgid…

Brigida…

Brigetta…

Memorial

23 July

formerly 8 October

Profile

Daughter of Birger Persson, the governor and provincial judge of Uppland, and of Ingeborg Bengtsdotter. Her father was one of the greatest landowners in the country, her mother was known widely for her piety, and the family were descendants of the Swedish royal house. Related to Saint Ingrid of Sweden.

Bridget began receiving visions, most of the Crucifixion, at age seven. Her mother died c.1315 when the girl was about twelve years old, and she was raised and educated by an equally pious aunt. In 1316, at age thirteen, Bridget wed prince Ulfo of Nercia in an arranged marriage. She was the mother of eight, including Saint Catherine of Sweden; some of the other children ignored the Church.

Friend and counselor to many priests and theologians of her day. Chief lady-in-waiting to Queen Blanche of Namur in 1335, from which position she counseled and guided the Queen and King Magnus II. After Ulfo’s death in 1344 following a pilgrimage to Santiago de CompostelaSpain she pursued a religious life, for which she was harassed by others at the court. She eventually renounced her title of princessFranciscan tertiaryCistercianMystic, visionary, and mystical writer. She recorded the revelations given her in her visions, and these became hugely popular in the Middle Ages.

Founded the Order of the Most Holy Savior (Bridgettines) at Vadstena, Sweden in 1346. It received confirmation by Pope Blessed Urban V in 1370, and survives today, though few houses remain. Pilgrim to Rome, to assorted Italian holy sites, and to the Holy Lands. Chastened and counseled kings and Popes Clement VIGregory XI, and Urban VI, urging each to return to Rome from Avignon. Encouraged all who would listen to meditate on the Passion, and of Jesus Crucified.

Born

1302 or 1303 at Finsta Castle, Uppsala, Sweden

Died

23 July 1373 at RomeItaly of natural causes

buried in 1374 at the Vadstena, Sweden convent she had founded

Canonized

7 October 1391 by Pope Boniface IX

Patronage

Europe

Sweden

widows

Representation

abbess in Brigittine robes with a cross on her forehead, and holding a book and pilgrim‘s staff

book

head and cross

nun enthroned, with Christ above her and hell below, while she gives books to the emperor and kings

nun giving a book to Saint Augustine

nun in ecstasy before the crucifix with instruments of the Passion nearby

nun reading, holding a cross, with builders in the background

nun with a cross on her brow witnessing the Birth of Christ, which she saw in one of her visions

nun with shells, a sign of pilgrimage, sewn on her habit

nun writing with a pilgrim‘s equipage nearby

nun writing with an angel hovering over her shoulder, often whispering in her ear

nun writing while Christ and the Virgin appear before her

pilgrim‘s staff

small child at the Scourging of Christ, which she saw in one of her visions

heart marked with a cross

Additional Information

Among the Franciscan Tertiaries, by Nesta De Robeck

Book of Saints, by the Monks of Ramsgate

Catholic Encyclopedia

Encyclopedia Britannica

Fifteen Prayers of Saint Bridget

Homily, by Pope John Paul II

Lives of the Saints, by Father Alban Butler

Lives of the Saints, by Father Francis Xavier Weninger

New Catholic Dictionary

Pictorial Lives of the Saints

Pope Benedict XVI, General Audience, 27 October 2010

Saints of the Day, by Katherine Rabenstein

Short Lives of the Saints, by Eleanor Cecilia Donnelly

books

Our Sunday Visitor’s Encyclopedia of Saints

other sites in english

All Saints and Martyrs

Brigidines

Catholic Cuisine

Catholic Fire

Catholic Fire

Catholic Fire

Catholic Harbor

Catholic Herald

Catholic Heroes

Catholic Ireland

Catholic News Agency

Catholic Tradition

Christian Biographies, by James Keifer

Christian Iconography

Find A Grave

Franciscan Media

Independent Catholic News

John Dillon

Little Pictorial Lives of the Saints

Prophecies and Revelations of Saint Bridget of Sweden

Regina Magazine

Revelations to the Popes, by Saint Bridget

Roman Catholic Saints

Saints for Sinners

Saints Stories for All Ages

uCatholic: Saint Bridget of Sweden

uCatholic: Saint Bridget’s Vision of The 5,480 Wounds on Jesus Christ

Wikipedia

images

Santi e Beati

Wikimedia Commons

audio

Discerning Hearts: 15 Prayers of Saint Bridget

Teresa Monaghen

video

YouTube PlayList

Prophecies and Relvations by Saint Bridget of Sweden (audio book)

sitios en español

Martirologio Romano2001 edición

sites en français

Abbé Christian-Philippe Chanut

fonti in italiano

Cathopedia

Santi e Beati

Readings

Eternal praise be to you, my Lord Jesus Christ, for the time you endured on the cross the greatest torments and sufferings for us sinners. The sharp pain of your wounds fiercely penetrated even to your blessed soul and cruelly pierced your most sacred heart till finally you sent forth your spirit in peace, bowed you head, and humbly commended yourself into the hands of God your Father, and your whole body remained cold in death. Blessed may you be, my Lord Jesus Christ. For our salvation you allowed your side and heart to be pierced with a lance; and from that side water and your precious blood flowed out abundantly for our redemption. Unending honor be to you, my Lord Jesus Christ. On the third day you rose from the dead and appeared to those you had chosen. And after forty days you ascended into heaven before the eyes of many witnesses, and there in heaven you gathered together in glory those you love, whom you had freed from hell. Rejoicing and eternal praise be to you, my Lord Jesus Christ, who sent the Holy Spirit into the hearts of your disciples and increased the boundless love of God in their spirits. Blessed are you and praiseworthy and glorious for ever, my Lord Jesus. – from prayers attributed to Saint Bridget

O Lord, make haste and illumine the night. Say to my soul that nothing happens without You permitting it, and that nothing of what You permit is without comfort. O Jesus, Son of God, You Who were silent in the presence of Your accusers, restrain my tongue until I find what should say and how to say it. Show me the way and make me ready to follow it. It is dangerous to delay, yet perilous to go forward. Answer my petition and show me the way. As the wounded go to the doctor in search of aid, so do I come to You. O Lord, give Your peace to my heart. Amen. – Saint Bridget

MLA Citation

“Saint Bridget of Sweden“. CatholicSaints.Info. 3 July 2021. Web. 23 July 2021. <https://catholicsaints.info/saint-bridget-of-sweden/>

SOURCE : https://catholicsaints.info/saint-bridget-of-sweden/

Sankta Birgitta kapell in Skövde, Sweden. Bust of Saint Bridget.

Sankta Birgitta kapell i Skövde. Byst av Heliga Birgitta.


BENEDICT XVI

GENERAL AUDIENCE

Saint Peter's Square

Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Saint Bridget of Sweden


Dear Brothers and Sisters,

On the eve of the Great Jubilee in anticipation of the Year 2000 the Venerable Servant of God John Paul II proclaimed St Bridget of Sweden Co-Patroness of the whole of Europe. This morning I would like to present her, her message and the reasons why — still today — this holy woman has much to teach the Church and the world.

We are well acquainted with the events of St Bridget's life because her spiritual fathers compiled her biography in order to further the process of her canonization immediately after her death in 1373. Bridget was born 70 years earlier, in 1303, in Finster, Sweden, a Northern European nation that for three centuries had welcomed the Christian faith with the same enthusiasm as that with which the Saint had received it from her parents, very devout people who belonged to noble families closely related to the reigning house.

We can distinguished two periods in this Saint's life.

The first was characterized by her happily married state. Her husband was called Ulf and he was Governor of an important district of the Kingdom of Sweden. The marriage lasted for 28 years, until Ulf's death. Eight children were born, the second of whom, Karin (Catherine), is venerated as a Saint. This is an eloquent sign of Bridget's dedication to her children's education. Moreover, King Magnus of Sweden so appreciated her pedagogical wisdom that he summoned her to Court for a time, so that she could introduce his young wife, Blanche of Namur, to Swedish culture. Bridget, who was given spiritual guidance by a learned religious who initiated her into the study of the Scriptures, exercised a very positive influence on her family which, thanks to her presence, became a true “domestic church”. Together with her husband she adopted the Rule of the Franciscan Tertiaries. She generously practiced works of charity for the poor; she also founded a hospital. At his wife's side Ulf's character improved and he advanced in the Christian life. On their return from a long pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela, which they made in 1341 with other members of the family, the couple developed a project of living in continence; but a little while later, in the tranquillity of a monastery to which he had retired, Ulf's earthly life ended. This first period of Bridget's life helps us to appreciate what today we could describe as an authentic “conjugal spirituality”: together, Christian spouses can make a journey of holiness sustained by the grace of the sacrament of Marriage. It is often the woman, as happened in the life of St Bridget and Ulf, who with her religious sensitivity, delicacy and gentleness succeeds in persuading her husband to follow a path of faith. I am thinking with gratitude of the many women who, day after day, illuminate their families with their witness of Christian life, in our time too. May the Lord's Spirit still inspire holiness in Christian spouses today, to show the world the beauty of marriage lived in accordance with the Gospel values: love, tenderness, reciprocal help, fruitfulness in begetting and in raising children, openness and solidarity to the world and participation in the life of the Church.

The second period of Bridget's life began when she was widowed. She did not consider another marriage in order to deepen her union with the Lord through prayer, penance and charitable works. Therefore Christian widows too may find in this Saint a model to follow. In fact, upon the death of her husband, after distributing her possessions to the poor — although she never became a consecrated religious — Bridget settled near the Cistercian Monastery of Alvastra. Here began the divine revelations that were to accompany her for the rest of her life. Bridget dictated them to her confessors-secretaries, who translated them from Swedish into Latin and gathered them in eight volumes entitled Revelationes (Revelations). A supplement followed these books called, precisely, Revelationes extravagantes (Supplementary revelations).

St Bridget's Revelations have a very varied content and style. At times the revelations are presented in the form of dialogues between the divine Persons, the Virgin, the Saints and even demons; they are dialogues in which Bridget also takes part. At other times, instead, a specific vision is described; and in yet others what the Virgin Mary reveals to her concerning the life and mysteries of the Son. The value of St Bridget's Revelations, sometimes the object of criticism Venerable John Paul II explained in his Letter Spes Aedificandi: “The Church, which recognized Bridget's holiness without ever pronouncing on her individual revelations, has accepted the overall authenticity of her interior experience” (n. 5). Indeed, reading these Revelations challenges us on many important topics. For example, the description of Christ's Passion, with very realistic details, frequently recurs. Bridget always had a special devotion to Christ's Passion, contemplating in it God's infinite love for human beings. She boldly places these words on the lips of the Lord who speaks to her: “O my friends, I love my sheep so tenderly that were it possible I would die many other times for each one of them that same death I suffered for the redemption of all” (Revelationes, Book I, c. 59). The sorrowful motherhood of Mary, which made her Mediatrix and Mother of Mercy, is also a subject that recurs frequently in the Revelations.

In receiving these charisms, Bridget was aware that she had been given a gift of special love on the Lord's part: “My Daughter” — we read in the First Book of Revelations — “I have chosen you for myself, love me with all your heart... more than all that exists in the world” (c. 1). Bridget, moreover, knew well and was firmly convinced that every charism is destined to build up the Church. For this very reason many of her revelations were addressed in the form of admonishments, even severe ones, to the believers of her time, including the Religious and Political Authorities, that they might live a consistent Christian life; but she always reprimanded them with an attitude of respect and of full fidelity to the Magisterium of the Church and in particular to the Successor of the Apostle Peter.

In 1349 Bridget left Sweden for good and went on pilgrimage to Rome. She was not only intending to take part in the Jubilee of the Year 1350 but also wished to obtain from the Pope approval for the Rule of a Religious Order that she was intending to found, called after the Holy Saviour and made up of monks and nuns under the authority of the Abbess. This is an element we should not find surprising: in the Middle Ages monastic foundations existed with both male and female branches, but with the practice of the same monastic Rule that provided for the Abbess' direction. In fact, in the great Christian tradition the woman is accorded special dignity and — always based on the example of Mary, Queen of Apostles — a place of her own in the Church, which, without coinciding with the ordained priesthood is equally important for the spiritual growth of the Community. Furthermore, the collaboration of consecrated men and women, always with respect for their specific vocation, is of great importance in the contemporary world. In Rome, in the company of her daughter Karin, Bridget dedicated herself to a life of intense apostolate and prayer. And from Rome she went on pilgrimage to various Italian Shrines, in particular to Assisi, the homeland of St Francis for whom Bridget had always had great devotion. Finally, in 1371, her deepest desire was crowned: to travel to the Holy Land, to which she went accompanied by her spiritual children, a group that Bridget called “the friends of God”. In those years the Pontiffs lived at Avignon, a long way from Rome: Bridget addressed a heartfelt plea to them to return to the See of Peter, in the Eternal City. She died in 1373, before Pope Gregory XI returned to Rome definitively. She was buried temporarily in the Church of San Lorenzo in Panisperna in Rome but in 1374 her children, Birger and Karin, took her body back to her homeland, to the Monastery of Vadstena, the headquarters of the Religious Order St Bridget had founded. The order immediately experienced a considerable expansion. In 1391 Pope Boniface IX solemnly canonized her. Bridget's holiness, characterized by the multiplicity of her gifts and the experiences that I have wished to recall in this brief biographical and spiritual outline, makes her an eminent figure in European history. In coming from Scandinavia, St Bridget bears witness to the way Christianity had deeply permeated the life of all the peoples of this Continent. In declaring her Co-Patroness of Europe, Pope John Paul II hoped that St Bridget — who lived in the 14th century when Western Christianity had not yet been wounded by division — may intercede effectively with God to obtain the grace of full Christian unity so deeply longed for. Let us pray, dear brothers and sisters, for this same intention, which we have very much at heart, and that Europe may always be nourished by its Christian roots, invoking the powerful intercession of St Bridget of Sweden, a faithful disciple of God and Co-Patroness of Europe. Thank you for your attention.

To special groups

I am pleased to welcome all the English-speaking pilgrims and visitors present today. In particular, I extend greetings to the Bridgettine Sisters here for their General Chapter. Upon all of you, I invoke God's abundant blessings.

Lastly I address the young people, the sick and the newlyweds. Dear friends, tomorrow we shall be celebrating the Feast of the Apostles St Simon and St Jude Thaddeus. May their glorious witness support all of you in responding generously to the Lord's call.

* * *

Appeal

In the past few hours a new and terrible tsunami has hit the coasts of Indonesia, also struck by a volcanic eruption, causing a great many deaths and dispersing people. I assure the relatives of the victims of my most sincere condolences on the loss of their loved ones and I assure the entire Indonesian people of my closeness and prayers.

I am also close to the beloved population of Benin, stricken with continuous floods that have left many people homeless and in precarious situations of hygiene and health. I invoke the Blessing and comfort of the Lord upon the victims and upon the entire nation.

I ask the International Community to do their utmost to provide the necessary aid and to alleviate the hardship of all those who are suffering on account of these calamities.

© Copyright 2010 - Libreria Editrice Vaticana

SOURCE : https://www.vatican.va/content/benedict-xvi/en/audiences/2010/documents/hf_ben-xvi_aud_20101027.html

Christ and Santa Brigida, Santa Maria della Catena, Palermo


Fifteen Prayers of Saint Bridget

1st Prayer

Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. Amen.

Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou amongst women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now, and in the hour of our death. Amen.

O Jesus! You have proved that You have no greater desire than to be among men, even assuming human nature at the fullness of time for the love of men. I recall all the sufferings of Your life especially Your Passion.

I remember, O Lord, that during the Last Supper with Your disciples, having washed their feet, You gave them Your Most Precious Body and Blood, and, while consoling them, You foretold Your coming Passion.

I remember the sadness and bitterness which You experienced in Your Soul as You said, My Soul is sorrowful even unto death.

I remember all the fear, anguish and pain that You did suffer in Your delicate Body before the torment of the Crucifixion, when, after having prayed three times, bathed in a sweat of blood, You were betrayed by Judas, arrested by the people of a nation You had chosen and elevated, accused by false witnesses and unjustly judged by three judges.

I remember that You were despoiled of Your garments and clothed in those of derision, that Your Face and Eyes were covered, that You were beaten, crowned with thorns, a reed placed in Your Hands, that You were crushed with blows and overwhelmed with insults and outrages. In memory of all these pains and sufferings which You endured before Your Passion on the Cross, grant me before my death a true contrition, a sincere and entire confession, worthy satisfaction and the remission of all my sins. Amen.

2nd Prayer

Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. Amen.

Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou amongst women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now, and in the hour of our death. Amen.

O Jesus! I remember the horror and sadness which You endured when Your enemies surrounded You, and by thousands of insults, spits, blows, lacerations and other unheard-of cruelties tormented You. In consideration of these torments and insulting words, I beg You to deliver me from all my enemies, visible and invisible, and to bring me, under Your protection, to the perfection of eternal salvation. Amen.

3rd Prayer

Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. Amen.

Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou amongst women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now, and in the hour of our death. Amen.

O Jesus! I remember the very bitter pain You did suffer when the executioners nailed Your Sacred Hands and Feet to the Cross by blow after blow with big blunt nails, and, not finding You in a sad enough state, to satisfy their cruelty they enlarged Your Wounds, and added pain to pain, stretching Your Body on the Cross and dislocated Your Bones by pulling Them on all sides. I beg of You by the memory of this most loving suffering of the Cross to grant me the grace to love You. Amen.

4th Prayer

Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. Amen.

Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou amongst women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now, and in the hour of our death. Amen.

O Jesus! I Remember the bruises You suffered and the weakness of Your Body, which was distended to such a degree that never was there pain like Yours. From the crown of Your Head to the soles of Your Feet there was not one spot on Your Body which was not in torment. Yet, for getting all Your sufferings, You did not cease to pray to Your Heavenly Father for Your enemies, saying: Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.

Through this great mercy and in memory of this suffering, grant that the remembrance of Your most bitter Passion may effect in us a perfect contrition and the remission of all our sins. Amen.

5th Prayer

Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. Amen.

Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou amongst women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now, and in the hour of our death. Amen.

O Jesus! I remember the sadness which You experienced when, foreseeing those who would be damned for their sins, You suffered bitterly over these hopeless, lost and unfortunate sinners.

Through this abyss of compassion and pity and especially through the goodness which You displayed to the good thief when You said to him, This day you will be with Me in Paradise, I beg of You that at the hour of my death to show me mercy. Amen.

6th Prayer

Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. Amen.

Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou amongst women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now, and in the hour of our death. Amen.

O Jesus! I remember the grief which You suffered when, like a common criminal, You were raised and fastened to the Cross, when all Your relatives and friends abandoned You, except Your Beloved Mother who remained close to You during Your agony and Whom You entrusted to Your faithful disciple when You said,

Woman, behold Your son. Son behold your Mother.

I beg You by the sword of sorrow which pierced the soul of Your Holy Mother, to have compassion on me in all my afflictions and tribulations, both of body and spirit, and to assist me in all my trials and especially at the hour of my death. Amen.

7th Prayer

Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. Amen.

Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou amongst women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now, and in the hour of our death. Amen.

O Jesus! I remember Your profound gesture of love from the Cross when You said, I thirst, and Your suffering from the thirst for the salvation of the human race. I beg You to inflame in our hearts the desire to tend toward perfection in all our actions and to extinguish in us all wordly desires. Amen.

8th Prayer

Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. Amen.

Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou amongst women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now, and in the hour of our death. Amen.

O Jesus! I remember the bitterness of the gall and vinegar which You tasted on the Cross for love of us. Grant us the grace to receive worthily Your Precious Body and Blood during our life and at the hour of our death that It may be a remedy of consolation for our souls. Amen.

9th Prayer

Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. Amen.

Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou amongst women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now, and in the hour of our death. Amen.

O Jesus! I remember the pain You endured when, immersed in an ocean of bitterness at the approach of death, insulted, outraged by the people, You cried out in a loud voice that You were abandoned by Your Father, saying: My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me? Through this anguish I beg You not to abandon me in the terrors and pains of my death. Amen.

10th Prayer

Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. Amen.

Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou amongst women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now, and in the hour of our death. Amen.

O Jesus! I remember that for our sakes You were immersed into an abyss of suffering. In consideration of the enormity of Your Wounds, teach me to keep, through pure love, Your Commandments, which are a wide and easy path for those who love You. Amen.

11th Prayer

Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. Amen.

Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou amongst women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now, and in the hour of our death. Amen.

O Jesus! I remember Your Wounds which penetrated to the very marrow of Your Bones and to the depth of Your Being. Draw me away from sin and hide me in Your Wounds. Amen.

12th Prayer

Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. Amen.

Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou amongst women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now, and in the hour of our death. Amen.

O Jesus! I remember the multitude of Wounds which afflicted You from Head to Foot, torn and reddened by the spilling of Your Precious Blood. O great and universal pain which You suffered in Your Flesh for love of us! What is there You could have done for us which You have not done?

May the fruit of Your sufferings be renewed in my soul by the faithful remembrance of Your Passion and may Your love increase in my heart each day until I see You in eternity, You Who are the treasury of every real good and joy, which I beg You to grant me in Heaven. Amen.

13th Prayer

Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. Amen.

Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou amongst women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now, and in the hour of our death. Amen.

O Jesus! I remember the pain You endured when all Your strength, both moral and physical, was entirely exhausted; You bowed Your Head, saying: It is consummated.

Through this anguish and grief, I beg You to have mercy on me at the hour of my death, when my mind will be greatly troubled and my soul will be in anguish. Amen.

14th Prayer

Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. Amen.

Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou amongst women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now, and in the hour of our death. Amen.

O Jesus! I remember the simple and humble recommendation You made of Your Soul to Your Eternal Father, saying, “Father, into Your Hands I commend My Spirit,” and when, Your Body all torn and Your Heart broken, You expired. By this precious death, I beg You to comfort me and give me help to resist the devil, the flesh and the world, so that, being dead to the world, I may live for You alone. I beg of You at the hour of my death to receive me. Amen.

15th Prayer

Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. Amen.

Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou amongst women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now, and in the hour of our death. Amen.

O Jesus! I remember the abundant outpouring of Blood which You shed. From Your Side, pierced with a lance by a soldier, Blood and Water poured forth until there was not left in Your Body a single Drop; and finally the very substance of Your Body withered and the marrow of Your Bones dried up.

Through this bitter Passion and through the outpouring of Your Precious Blood, I beg You to pierce my heart so that my tears of penance and love may be my bread day and night. May I be entirely converted to You; may my heart be Your perpetual resting place; may my conversation be pleasing to You; and may the end of my life be so praiseworthy that I may merit Heaven and there with Your saints praise You forever. Amen.

The fifteen prayers were taught by Jesus to Saint Bridget. He said to her,

I received 5,480 wounds on My Body during My Passion. If you wish to honor each of them in some way pray the following prayers each day for a whole year. When the year is over, you will have honored each one of My Wounds.

SOURCE : https://catholicsaints.info/fifteen-prayers-of-saint-bridget/



St. Bridget of Sweden

(Also Birgitta).

The most celebrated saint of the Northern kingdoms, born about 1303; died 23 July, 1373.

Early life

She was the daughter of Birger Persson, governor and provincial judge (Lagman) of Uppland, and of Ingeborg Bengtsdotter. Her father was one of the wealthiest landholders of the country, and, like her mother, distinguished by deep piety. St. Ingrid, whose death had occurred about twenty years before Bridget's birth, was a near relative of the family. Birger's daughter received a careful religious training, and from her seventh year showed signs of extraordinary religious impressions and illuminations. To her education, and particularly to the influence of an aunt who took the place of Bridget's mother after the latter's death (c. 1315), she owed that unswerving strength of will which later distinguished her.

Marriage

In 1316, at the age of thirteen, she was united in marriage to Ulf Gudmarsson, who was then eighteen. She acquired great influence over her noble and pious husband, and the happy marriage was blessed with eight children, among them St. Catherine of Sweden. The saintly life and the great charity of Bridget soon made her name known far and wide. She was acquainted with several learned and pious theologians, among them Nicolaus Hermanni, later Bishop of Linköping, Matthias, canon of Linköping, her confessor, Peter, Prior of Alvastrâ, and Peter Magister, her confessor after Matthias. She was later at the court of King Magnus Eriksson, over whom she gradually acquired great influence. Early in the forties (1341-43) in company with her husband she made a pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostella. On the return journey her husband was stricken with an attack of illness, but recovered sufficiently to finish the journey. Shortly afterwards, however, he died (1344) in the Cistercian monastery of Alvastrâ in East Gothland.

Widowhood

Bridget now devoted herself entirely to practices of religion and asceticism, and to religious undertakings. The visions which she believed herself to have had from her early childhood now became more frequent and definite. She believed that Christ Himself appeared to her, and she wrote down the revelations she then received, which were in great repute during the Middle Ages. They were translated into Latin by Matthias Magister and Prior Peter.

St. Bridget now founded a new religious congregation, the Brigittines, or Order of St. Saviour, whose chief monastery, at Vadstena, was richly endowed by King Magnus and his queen (1346). To obtain confirmation for her institute, and at the same time to seek a larger sphere of activity for her mission, which was the moral uplifting of the period, she journeyed to Rome in 1349, and remained there until her death, except while absent on pilgrimages, among them one to the Holy Land in 1373. In August, 1370, Pope Urban V confirmed the Rule of her congregation. Bridget made earnest representations to Pope Urban, urging the removal of the Holy See from Avignon back to Rome. She accomplished the greatest good in Rome, however, by her pious and charitable life, and her earnest admonitions to others to adopt a better life, following out the excellent precedents she had set in her native land. The year following her death her remains were conveyed to the monastery at Vadstena. She was canonized, 7 October, 1391, by Boniface IX.

Kirsch, Johann Peter. "St. Bridget of Sweden." The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 2. New York: Robert Appleton Company,1907. 26 Apr. 2015 <http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/02782a.htm>.

Transcription. This article was transcribed for New Advent by Pamela Scofield.

Ecclesiastical approbation. Nihil Obstat. 1907. Remy Lafort, S.T.D., Censor. Imprimatur. +John M. Farley, Archbishop of New York.

Copyright © 2020 by Kevin Knight. Dedicated to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.





Saint Bridget of Sweden

St. Bridget (sometimes called Birgitta) was born about the year 1303 (by tradition on June 14th) in Upland, the chief province of Sweden, where her father, Birger, was governor. Her mother, Lady Ingeborg of Finsta, was a daughter of the governor of East Gothland. When only seven Bridget had a vision in which our Lady placed a crown on her head, and when ten, after a sermon on the Passion, she saw in a dream Christ wounded and bleeding. These two experiences seem to have been the formative ones of her life.

Her mother died in 1314, and she lived with an aunt until, in 1316, obediently but against her inclination, she married Ulf Gudmarsson. They had four boys and four girls. Two of the boys died young; Karl, the eldest, was worldly but devoted to our Lady; Birger, the second, though married, later became his mother’s companion and brought her body home to Sweden from Rome to be buried. Three of the girls married: Merita and Cecilia staying in Swedish society, while Catherine lost her husband and lived with her mother; the fourth, Ingebord, became a Cistercian.

Twenty-eight years after their marriage, Ulf died and Bridget went to live the penitential life she longed for near the Cistercian monastery at Alvastra. While three, she planned the Rule and Office of the order she was called to found but which she never saw in existence. After two years, in 1344, she went to Rome, where she died on July 23rd, 1373. Her canonization took place only eighteen years later, on October 7th, 1391.

St. Bridget had the gift of prophecy and worked many marvellous cures. Once widowed, she lived an ascetic life, eating very little, sleeping short hours, and praying continually. She followed a strict rule and practiced every possible kind of charitable work, even reducing herself to begging. She received constant inspirations which were either taken down by her chaplain and put into Latin, thus becoming known as her ‘Revelations,’ or took the form of letters to the succeeding popes, cardinals, and secular rulers of the day, telling them of their wickedness and how to reform their lives. Both in Sweden and in Rome she was either hated violently or loved as a saint. ‘Strong and full of courage,’ she was ‘homely and kind and had a laughing face.’

The Bridgettine order of nuns no longer has monks attached to it. There are twelve convents at the present time, Syon Abbey in Devonshire being the only religious house in England to have unbroken organic continuity since before the Reformation. All Bridgettines pray for the restoration of the mother house at Vadstena in Sweden, which really started after St. Bridget’s death but with her daughter, St. Catherine of Sweden, as first abbess. It was under the patronage of the bishop who had once been tutor to her sons, a circumstance she foretold years before. The Bridgettines cultivate a special devotion to our Lady and to the Passion of Christ, thus stemming naturally from the childhood visions and the whole life of their foundress.

SOURCE : http://www.ucatholic.com/saints/bridget-of-sweden/

Heliga Birgitta på ett altarskåp i Salems kyrka, Södermanland

Birgitta of Sweden on an altarpiece in Salem church, Södermanland, Sweden


Saints of the Day – Bridget (Birgitta) of Sweden, Religious

Article

Born in 1304; died 1373; feast day formerly on October 8.

“True wisdom, then, consists in works, not in great talents, which the world admires; for the wise in the world’s estimation . . . are the foolish who set at naught the will of God, and know not how to control their passions.” – Saint Brigit of Sweden.

Bridget was the daughter of Birger, the wealthy governor of Upland, Sweden, and his second wife, Ingeborg, the daughter of the governor of East Gothland. When Bridget was 12, her mother died, and she was raised by an aunt at Aspenaes on Lake Sommen. When she was 14, she was wedded to 18-year-old prince Ulf Gunmarsson. The fruit of their happy, 28-year marriage was eight children, including another saint, Karin or Catherine of Vadstena.

For several years she acted as the feudal lady on her husband’s estate at Ulfasa, and, uncharacteristically for women of the period, she cultivated friendships with many erudite men. In 1335, she was summoned to be chief lady-in-waiting at the court of King Magnus Eriksson (Magnus II), who had married Blanche of Namur. Magnus was weak-willed and Blanche, rather frivolous. It was Bridget’s duty to correct the lives of the immature king and queen.

Bridget’s personal revelations, which were to make her famous later, were already guiding her opinions on subjects as varied as the necessity of washing, to the terms for peace between England and France. The court remained largely deaf to her suggestions and some whispered against her. Bridget became more preoccupied with her own family when her daughter made an unfortunate marriage and her youngest son, Gudmar, died in 1340.

The saint made a pilgrimage to the shrine of Saint Olaf of Norway at Trondheim. When she returned to court, she renewed her efforts to guide the steps of the young royal couple. Still unsuccessful in this task, she begged leave and was given permission to make a pilgrimage with her husband to Santiago de Compostella.

On the way home, Ulf fell ill and received the last sacraments at Arras. He finally recovered as Bridget had foreseen in a vision of Saint Denis, and the couple vowed to devote their lives to God in religious houses. Ulf entered the Cistercian monastery at Alvastra, where he died in 1344. Bridget continued to live as a penitent at that double-monastery for another four years.

When her visions and revelations became frequent, she grew afraid that she might be imaging them all. After experiencing the same vision three times, she submitted them to Master Matthias, canon of Linkoeping. He pronounced her visions to be originated from God. From that point until her death, she submitted them to Peter, the prior of Alvastra, who copied them down in Latin.

A vision commanded her to go to court and warn Magnus of the judgment of God on his sins. She did so, denouncing the whole royal court in her warning. Magnus briefly changed his ways, and endowed a monastery, which Bridget, in response to a vision in 1344, planned to found at Vadstena on Lake Vattern.

The monastery provided for 60 nuns. There was a separate enclosure for monks, including 13 priests (in honor of the twelve apostles and Saint Paul), four deacons (representing the four great Latin Doctors of the Church), and eight choir brothers not in orders, totalling the number of the Lord’s apostles and disciples (12 plus 72 or 84 in all).

Bridget prescribed a constitution, which was said to have been dictated to her by the Savior in a vision. The men were subject to the abbess of nuns in temporal matters, but the women were subject to the men in spiritual ones, the reason for which men were asked to join. The convents were separate, and while they used the same church, it was designed so that the men and women could not see one another. The community was named the Order of the Most Holy Savior, or the Bridgettines, as they came to be called.

Extra income from the monastery was given to the poor, and ostentatious buildings were forbidden. The religious were allowed to have as many books for study as they wished, however, and the monastery was to become the intellectual center of Sweden in the 15th century.

In 1349, Bridget travelled to Rome with her confessor, Peter of Skeninge, and others for the 1350 Jubilee even though no Pope in residence there. She hoped to obtain approval for the order. In Rome she settled down to devote herself to the poor, reform monasteries, and to lobby for the return of the pope to the city.

She is associated with the churches of Saint Paul’s Outside-the- Walls and San Francesco a Ripa. In Saint Paul’s, a crucifix of Cavallini is said to have spoken to her. In San Francesco a Ripa, she was visited by a vision of Saint Francis of Assisi. She took this to be an invitation to visit Assisi, which she did. Bridget toured the shrines of Italy for two years.

Her prophecies and revelations made reference to the prominent religious and political events of the day, both in Rome and in Sweden. She refused to support Magnus in his crusade against the pagans in Latvia and Estonia, saying it was an excuse for a marauding expedition. She wrote to Pope Clement VI telling him that a vision demanded that he return to Rome and that he secure peace between England and France. She prophesied that the pope and emperor would be able to meet peacefully in Rome. Like her contemporary, Saint Catherine of Siena, Bridget was famous for her criticism, even of popes.

In 1371, in response to another vision, she travelled on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land with her daughter Karin, sons Charles (Karl) and Birger, Alphonsus of Vadaterra, and others. Her son Charles became involved with Queen Joanna I, who despite the fact that both were already married, wanted to marry him. Horrified, Bridget prayed ceaselessly for a resolution. It came when Charles was sickened by a fever and died in her arms a few weeks later. He had been one of her favorite children.

After the funeral, she went to Cyprus, grieving terribly. She nearly drowned in a shipwreck off Jaffa, but her journey to holy places was enriched by a series of comforting visions of things that had occurred there. She returned to Rome in 1373, but ailing. Bridget died after receiving the viaticum from her friend Peter of Alvastra. Her body was taken to Vadstena.

Bridget’s visions were written in a book called Revelations.

Today there are only 12 Bridgettine convents left (Martindale, White).

In art, Saint Bridget is portrayed as a crowned Brigittine abbess with a cross on her brow, holding a book and a pilgrim’s staff. She may also be shown (1) writing with a pilgrim’s attributes near her; (2) as Christ and the Virgin appear while she is writing; (3) reading, holding a cross, with builders in the background; (4) in ecstasy before the crucifix with instruments of the Passion nearby; (5) as a small child present at the Scourging of Christ (one of her revelations); (6) as a nun with a cross on her brow witnessing the Birth of Christ (another revelation); (7) enthroned, with Christ above her and hell below, she gives books to the emperor and kings; or (8) giving a book to Saint Augustine (Roeder).

Bridget is the patron saint of Sweden (White).

MLA Citation

Katherine I Rabenstein. Saints of the Day1998. CatholicSaints.Info. 20 July 2020. Web. 23 July 2021. <https://catholicsaints.info/saints-of-the-day-bridget-birgitta-of-sweden-religious/>

SOURCE : https://catholicsaints.info/saints-of-the-day-bridget-birgitta-of-sweden-religious/

Uppenbarelsekyrkan, Saltsjöbaden, Stockholm County, Sweden. Sanctuary. Painting of Saint Bridget and Saint Matthew by Olle Hjortzberg.

Uppenbarelsekyrkan, Saltsjöbaden. Kor. Målning av Heliga Birgitta och Sankt Mattias av Olle Hjortzberg.




St. Bridget of Sweden, Widow

From the bull of her canonization published by Boniface IX. an. 1391; Bullar. t. 1, p. 297. Helyot, Hist. des Ord. Relig. t. 4, p. 25. Stevens, Monast. t. 2, p. 230. Godeau, Eloges des Princes et Princesses, p. 454. Messenius Secondiæ illustratæ, t. 9, p. 43, auctæ a Joan. Peringkioldo, fol. Stockholmæ, 1700. Vastovius in vita S. Brigittæ, cum notis Erici Benzelli in Vastovii Vitem Aquiloniam. An. 1708.

A.D. 1373.

ST. BIRGIT, more commonly called BRIDGET, or BRIGIT, was daughter of Birger, a prince of the royal blood of Sweden, legislator of Upland, 1 and of Ingeburgis, daughter to Sigridis, a lady descended from the kings of the Goths. Both the parents spent their lives in fervent exercises of piety, and had a singular devotion to the sacred passion of Christ. Birger consecrated all Fridays in a special manner to practices of penance, and never failed on that day to confess his sins, and receive the holy eucharist, endeavouring to put himself into such a disposition, as to be able to bear patiently all the crosses that might befal him till the next Friday. Ingeburgis was not less devoutly inclined, but died soon after the birth of our saint, which happened in the year 1304. Bridget was brought up by an aunt, who was a lady of singular piety. She did not begin to speak till she was three years old; and the first use she made of her tongue was to praise God: nor did she even in her childhood ever take pleasure in any discourse but what was serious. So strong and early was the grace of devotion with which God favoured her, that from her cradle all her views and desires tended only to piety, and in its exercises she found her greatest delight. No symptoms ever appeared in her of anger, spite, envy, jealousy, untowardness, or disobedience. She assisted assiduously at the church office, and at sermons. At ten years of age she was most tenderly affected by a sermon which she heard on the passion of Christ; and the night following seemed to see him hanging upon his cross covered with wounds, and pouring forth his blood in streams in every part of his body; at the same time, she thought she heard him say to her: “Look upon me, my daughter.” “Alas,” said she, “who has treated you thus?” She seemed to herself to hear him answer: “They who despise me, and are insensible to my love for them.” The impression which this moving spectacle made upon her mind was never effaced; and from that time the sufferings of her Redeemer became the subject of her most assiduous meditation, even when she was at work at her needle, and she could scarcely ever call them to mind without shedding abundance of tears. In obedience to her father, when she was only sixteen years of age, she married Ulpho, prince of Nericia in Sweden, who was himself only eighteen. This pious couple passed the first year after their marriage in continence, and having enrolled themselves in the third Order of St. Francis, lived in their own house as if they had been in a regular and austere monastery. They afterwards had eight children, four boys, and four girls, who were all favoured with the blessings of divine grace. Benedict and Gudma dying in their infancy, left their parents secure of their happiness; Charles and Birger died in the holy war in Palestine; Margaret and Cecily served God faithfully in the married state; and Indeburga and Catherine became nuns. The last was born in 1336, and died in 1381. She is honoured among the saints on the 22d of March. 2 After the birth of these children, the parents, at the suggestion of St. Bridget, made a mutual vow of continency, and consecrated their estates more than ever to the use of the poor, whom they looked upon as their own family, and for whom they built an hospital, in which they served the sick with their own hands. Ulpho entered into the most perfect sentiments of virtue and penance, with which the example of his wife inspired him; and resigning his place in the king’s council, and renouncing the court, he imitated her in all her devotions. To break all worldly ties by forsaking their country and friends, they made a painful pilgrimage to Compostella. In their return Ulpho fell sick at Arras, where he lodged with his wife and eight children, first in the street of the Lombards; but afterwards in the city, at the house of a clergyman or canon of our Lady’s, the cathedral, son of a nobleman named Bazentin, where, in the following century, Lewis XI. lodged in 1477. He received the viaticum and extreme-unction from the hands of the bishop of Arras, Andrew Ghini, a native of Florence. Bridget spared neither solicitude, pains, nor prayers for his recovery, and received an assurance of it by a revelation. He was accordingly restored again to his health, and arrived in Sweden, where he died soon after, in 1344, in the odour of sanctity, in the monastery of Alvastre, of the Cistercian Order, which rule, according to some, he had embraced, though others say that he was only preparing himself for that state. 3 At least his name is inserted in the Menology of that Order on the 12th of February.

Bridget being by his death entirely at liberty to pursue her inclinations as to the manner of life which she desired to lead, renounced the rank of princess which she held in the world, to take upon her more perfectly the state of a penitent. Her husband’s estates she divided among her children, according to the laws of justice and equity, and from that day seemed to forget what she had been in the world. She changed her habit, using no more linen except for a veil to cover her head, wearing a rough hair shift, and, for a girdle, cords full of knots. The austerities which she practised are incredible; on Fridays she redoubled her mortifications and other exercises, allowing herself no refection but a little bread and water. About the time of her husband’s death, in 1344, she built the great monastery of Wastein, in the diocess of Lincopen, in Sweden, in which she placed sixty nuns, and, in a separate inclosure, friars, to the number of thirteen priests, in honour of the twelve apostles and St. Paul; four deacons, representing the four doctors of the church, and eight lay brothers. She prescribed them the rule of St. Austin, with certain particular constitutions, which are said to have been dictated to her by our Saviour in a vision: but this circumstance is neither mentioned by Boniface IX. in the bull of her canonization, nor by Martin V. in the confirmation of her Order; and the popes, when they speak of this rule, mention only the approbation of the holy see, without making any inquiry about any such private revelation. The diocesan is the superior of all the monasteries of this Order situated in his diocess; but no new convent can be founded but with an express license and confirmation of the pope. The chief object of the particular devotions prescribed by this rule are the Passion of Christ, and the honour of his holy Mother. In this institute, as in the Order of Fontevrault, the men are subject to the prioress of the nuns in temporals, but in spirituals the women are under the jurisdiction of the friars; the reason of which is, because the Order being principally instituted for religious women, the men were chiefly admitted only to afford them such spiritual assistance as they want. The convents of the men and women are separated by an inviolable inclosure; but are contiguous so as to have the same church, in which the nuns keep choir above in a doxal, the men underneath in the church; but they can never see one another. The number of religious persons in each double monastery is fixed as above; but most of the great or double monasteries which were situated in the North, were destroyed at the change of religion, with that of Wastein or Vatzen, which was the chief house of the Order. There are two rich convents of nuns of this Order at Genoa, into one of which, only ladies of quality can be admitted. The greater part of monasteries of Brigittins, or of the Order of our Saviour, which now subsist, are single, and observe not the rule as to the number of religious, or the subjection of the friars to the nuns. There are still some double monasteries in Flanders, one at Dantzic, about ten in Germany, and some few others. 4

St. Bridget had spent two years in her monastery at Wastein when she undertook a pilgrimage to Rome, in order to venerate the relics of so many saints which are honoured in that city, and especially to offer up her fervent prayers at the tombs of the apostles. The example of her virtue shone forth with brighter lustre in that great city. The austerity of her watchings and penance, the tenderness of her devotion, her love of retirement, her fervour in visiting the churches, and in serving the sick in the hospitals, her severity towards herself, her mildness to all others, her profound humility, and her charity appeared in all she did. Remarkable monuments of her devotion are still shown in the church of St. Paul and other places at Rome, and in its neighbourhood; for the thirty last years of her life, she was accustomed to go every day to confession; and she communicated several times every week. The frequent use of the sacraments kindled every time fresh ardour in her soul. Nothing is more famous in the life of St. Bridget than the many revelations with which she was favoured by God, chiefly concerning the sufferings of our blessed Saviour, and revolutions which were to happen in certain kingdoms. It is certain that God, who communicates himself to his servants many ways, with infinite condescension, and distributes his gifts with infinite wisdom, treated this great saint and certain others with special marks of his goodness, conversing frequently with them in a most familiar manner, as the devout Blosius observes. Sometimes he spoke to them in visions, at other times he discovered to them hidden things by supernatural illustrations of their understandings, or by representations raised in their imagination so clearly, that they could not be mistaken in them; but to distinguish the operations of the Holy Ghost, and the illusions of the enemy, requires great prudence and attention to the just criteria or rules for the discernment of spirits. Nor can any private revelations ever be of the same nature, or have the same weight and certainty with those that are public, which were made to the prophets to be by them promulgated to the church, and confirmed to men by the sanction of miracles and the authority of the church.

The learned divine John de Turre-crematâ, afterwards cardinal, by order of the council of Basil, examined the book of St. Bridget’s revelations, and approved it as profitable for the instruction of the faithful; which approbation was admitted by the council as competent and sufficient. It however amounts to no more than a declaration that the doctrine contained in that book is conformable to the orthodox faith, and the revelations piously credible upon a historical probability. The learned Cardinal Lambertini, afterwards Pope Benedict XIV. writes upon this subject as follows: 5 “The approbation of such revelations is no more than a permission, that, after a mature examination, they may be published for the profit of the faithful. Though an assent of Catholic faith be not due to them, they deserve a human assent according to the rules of prudence, by which they are probable and piously credible, as the revelations of B. Hildegardis, St. Bridget and St. Catharine of Sienna.” What is most of all praiseworthy in St. Bridget is, that in true simplicity of heart, she always submitted her revelations to the judgment of the pastors of the church; and deeming herself unworthy even of the ordinary light of faith, she was far from ever glorying in any extraordinary favours, which she never desired, and in which she never employed her mind but in order to increase her love and humility. 6 If her revelations have rendered her name famous, it is by her heroic virtue and piety that it is venerable to the whole church. To live according to the spirit of the mysteries of religion, is something much greater and more sublime than to know hidden things, or to be favoured with the most extraordinary visions. To have the science of angels without charity is to be only a tinkling cymbal; but both to have charity, and to speak the language of angels, was the happy privilege of St. Bridget. Her ardent love of Jesus Christ crucified moved her to make a painful pilgrimage to visit the holy places in Palestine, where she watered with her pious tears the chief places which Christ had sanctified by his divine steps, and purpled with his adorable blood. In her journey she visited the most renowned churches in Italy and Sicily, with a devotion that excited all who saw her to fervour. Being returned safe to Rome, she lived there a year longer, but during that interval was afflicted with grievous distempers, under which she suffered the most excruciating pains with an heroic patience and resignation. Having given her last moving instructions to her son Birger, and her daughter Catharine, who were with her, she was laid on sackcloth, received the last sacraments, and her soul being released from its prison of clay, took its flight to that kingdom after which she had always most ardently sighed, on the 23d of July, 1373, being seventy-one years old. Her body was buried in the church of St. Laurence in Panis Perna, belonging to a convent of Poor Clares; but a year after her death, in July, 1374, it was translated to her monastery of Wastein in Sweden, by the procurement of her son Birger and St. Catharine. She was canonized by Boniface IX. in 1391, on the 7th of October, and her festival is appointed on the day following. 7 At the petition of the clergy and nobility of Sweden the general council of Constance examined again the proofs, and unanimously declared her enrolled among the saints on the 1st of February, 1415. 8 Her canonization was again confirmed by Martin V. in 1419. 9

The life and sufferings of our divine Redeemer are the book of life, in which both souls which now begin to serve God, and those who have long exercised themselves in the most perfect practices of all heroic virtues, find the most powerful incentives and means of spiritual improvement. The astonishing example which our most amiable and adorable Saviour here sets us of infinite meekness, patience, charity, and humility, if seriously considered and meditated upon, will speak a language which will reach the very bottom of our hearts, and totally reform our innermost affections and sentiments. That inordinate self-love and pride which by the contagion of sin seems almost interwoven in our very frame, will be beat down to the very ground: the poison of our passions with which our souls are so deeply infected in all their powers, will be expelled by this sovereign antidote; and sincere compunction, patience, humility, charity, and contempt of the world will entirely possess our affections. The more a soul is advanced in the school of all Christian virtues, the more feelingly she will find every circumstance in these sacred mysteries to be an unfathomed abyss of love, clemency, meekness, and humility, and an inexhausted source of spiritual riches in all virtues. By this meditation she will daily learn more perfectly the spirit of our divine Redeemer, and put on that blessed mind which was in Christ Jesus. In this interior conformity to him consists the reformation and perfection of our inner man: this resemblance, this image of our divine original formed in us, entitles us to the happy portion of his promises.

Note 1. In Upland, Stockholm became capital of all Sweden, being, for the convenience of a spacious harbour, built on six islands, in a lake and river ten miles from the sea. Upsal, twelve leagues to the north-west, was then, and long after, capital of Upland and of all Sweden. In the vast cathedral, which is covered with brass like many other places in Sweden, among the tombs of ancient kings and archbishops, is shown that of St. Brigit’s father. [back]

Note 2. On St. Catherine of Sweden, see her life printed after the works of St. Bridget, Vastovius, p. 107. Benzelius in notis, ib. p. 71. [back]

Note 3. Olaus Rosencrantz, apud Tho. Bartholinum, t. 2; Actor Medic. Hafniens, p. 56. [back]

Note 4. There was only one great monastery of this Order in England, called Sion-house, situate near the Thames in Middlesex, about ten miles from London, founded with royal magnificence by Henry V. in 1413. That prince erected at the same time three great monasteries, near his country house at Shene, now Richmond. One of the Carthusians on the Surrey-side of the river, in Shene, opposite to Sion-house, near Isleworth; another of the Celestines, which seems to have stood in Isleworth or Thistleworth, and this of Sion-house, which being very rich, was one of the first houses that were dissolved by Henry VIII. Edward VI. granted it first to Edward duke of Somerset, and after his attainder, to John duke of Northumberland. Queen Mary restored it to the abbess; but Elizabeth being advanced to the throne, it was again dissolved. The nuns all fled, first to Zurichsee in Zealand, thence to Mechlin, then to Rouen; and finding in none of these places any support, they at last passed to Lisbon, where Philip II. and many charitable private persons contributed to their relief, till a Portuguese lady becoming a nun among them, conveyed to their house an estate to which she was heiress. (See Dugdale’s Monast. vol. 2, p. 360; Stevens, t. 2, p. 233; Tanner’s Notitia Monastica, and Fuller’s Church Hist. b. 6, p. 362.) The revenues of this monastery at the dissolution are rated in Dugdale at seventeen hundred and thirty-one pounds, in Speed, at nineteen hundred and forty-four pounds. [back]

Note 5. De Canoniz. Sanct. l. 2, c. 32, n. 11. [back]

Note 6. The works of St. Bridget contain, 1. Devout Prayers on the Sufferings and Love of Christ; of which some are inserted in the common prayer-books, and some with her revelations. 2. Her Rule in thirty-one chapters, approved, in 1363, by Urban V. and confirmed by other popes, under the title of the Rule of the Order of our Saviour. 3. Her Revelations. 4. An Angelical Discourse on the excellence of our Blessed Lady; and four long Acts of thanksgiving to God for the principal mysteries of her life in the incarnation of the Divine Word.

  The Revelations were printed at Lubec in 1492; at Nuremberg, 1521, with cuts, much esteemed; at Rome, 1521, 1556, 1606, 1608; at Antwerp, 1611; at Cologn, 1628; at Munich, 1680; and an edition of her Prayers was given at Rome, in 1530, in 8vo. A considerable number of the Revelations was written from her relation of them by Peter, a Swedish Cistercian monk, who was her confessarius and companion in her travels, and who died in 1390; but the eighth book was written by Alphonsus, surnamed the Spaniard and the hermit, who resigned the bishopric of Jena in Andalusia, and who was also her confessarius. Had the whole been penned by the saint herself, it would have been compiled with more simplicity, and with greater life and spirit, and would have received a higher degree of certainty.

  Matthias or Matthew of Sweden, (called also of Cracow in Poland, being perhaps a native of that city,) who died bishop of Worms in 1410, as we learn from his epitaph in Oudin, t. 3, p. 1111, was also the saint’s director, when he was canon of Lincopen. He translated for her use the Bible into Gothic or Swedish, with short annotations. (See Benzelius, p. 66.) He also wrote on the Mass, Eucharist, and other theological subjects. Some of his MSS. are still preserved in different libraries.
  Before the year 1500, the office of our Blessed Lady by St. Bridget was published in London. See Wharton in his supplement to Usher, De Scripturis sacris vernaculis, p. 447. 
[back]

Note 7. Bullar. t. 1, p. 297. See the whole procedure in Mabill. Musæum Italic. p. 535. [back]

Note 8. See Conc. Constant. p. 39. Lenfant, Hist. du Concile de Constance, l. 1, § 71, p. 67. Herman. ab Hardt. Prolegom. III. Conc. Constant. p. 15, et 28, t. 4, p. 67. [back]

Note 9. In proemio Op. S. Birgittæ. [back]

Rev. Alban Butler (1711–73).  Volume X: October. The Lives of the Saints.  1866.


Meister mit dem Maschenhintergrund. St. Nicolaus - St. Birgitta - St. Petrus et Paulus; Metallschnitt (koloriert), Ende 15. Jh.


Weninger’s Lives of the Saints – Saint Bridget, Widow

Article

Saint Bridget, known in the entire Church of God, on account of the many divine revelations with which she was graced, was born in Sweden, of noble and pious parents. Shortly before the birth of Bridget, her mother was in great danger of shipwreck, but was miraculously saved. In the following night, a venerable old man appeared to her, who said: “God has saved your life on account of the child to whom you will give birth. Educate it carefully; for it will arrive at great holiness.” This command was faithfully followed by the pious mother as long as she lived. After her death, Bridget, then only seven years old, was given into the charge of a very devout aunt, who brought her up most piously. When ten years of age, she heard a sermon on the bitter passion and death of our Lord, which made a deep impression on her young and tender heart. In the following night, Christ appeared to her, hanging on the Cross, while streams of blood flowed from His wounds. Bridget, deeply moved, cried out: “O, Lord, who has so maltreated thee?” “Those who despise my love,” answered Christ, that is, those who transgress my laws and are ungrateful for my immeasurable love to them. This vision remained in Bridget’s memory, and caused her, from that hour, to manifest the most tender devotion to the passion and death of the Saviour, of which she could never think without shedding tears. This vision was followed by many others, especially during her prayers, which the Saint loved so well that it seemed as if no other occupation could give her joy or contentment. She often rose quietly during the night and passed hours in pious meditation. She also used many ways and means to mortify her delicate body, so as to resemble, in silently enduring pain, Him who had suffered so infinitely more for her. In obedience to her father, she at the age of thirteen gave her hand to Ulpho, prince of Nericia, whose heart she won so entirely by her amiability and sweetness of manners, that she weaned him, in a short time, from gaming, immoderate luxury in dress and other similar faults, and induced him to lead a life pleasing to God, by his assiduity in prayer and in going to confession. She lived with him in undisturbed love and harmony. She was also very solicitous for her domestics, and allowed nothing that might offend the Almighty or prevent His blessing from coming upon her house. She became the mother of four sons and as many daughters. Two of her sons died in their innocence; two while travelling in the Holy Land. Two of her daughters lived at court, and became models of all virtues. The third became a nun and led a holy life, and the fourth, Catherine, was numbered among the Saints; which is evidence of the pious care with which Saint Bridget educated her children. She herself instructed them in religion and in the way of living piously, and led them, from their most tender years, to practise works of charity and mortification, being an example to them in all virtuous deeds. With the consent of Ulpho, she founded a hospital and waited daily, at certain hours, like a servant, on the poor and sick, who were in it. She often washed their feet, kissing them most reverentially. Her husband became dangerously ill on his return from Compostella, whither he had gone with Saint Bridget, to visit the tomb of the holy Apostle Saint James. But Saint Dionysius, who appeared to Bridget, announced to her, besides other future events, that Ulpho would soon recover. She soon saw this prophecy fulfilled, and had also the joy to perceive that Ulpho was disgusted with the world and desired to end his life in retirement. With the permission of his pious spouse, he went into a Cistercian monastery, where he ended his life most holily.

Bridget lived thirty years after her husband had entered a monastery, and being free from many former cares and anxieties, she devoted herself with great zeal to a most perfect and penitential life. Her temporal possessions she gave to her children, clothed herself in a penitential robe, and unweariedly practised acts of devotion, charity and penance. She fasted four times in the week, andon Friday, took only water and bread. She gave the greater part of the night to prayer, spending whole hours prostrate before the Crucifix or the Blessed Sacrament Every Friday she let fall a few drops of boiling wax into a wound which she had, to remember, by the pain this gave her, the suffering of our Lord. She daily fed twelve poor persons and served them at table. She founded a convent for sixty nuns, and gave them a rule which she had received from Christ Himself. These regulations were afterwards adopted by many houses of Religious men. This was the origin of the celebrated Brigittine Order. Saint Bridget herself entered a convent which she had founded, and was a shining light to all in the practice of virtue.

Having lived there two years, she was commanded, in a vision, to make a pilgrimage to Rome, with her daughter Catherine, and thence to the Holy Land. On her return, a malignant fever seized her, which greatly increased when she had arrived at Rome, and lasted a whole year. The great pains she suffered were made easy to her by the thought of the bitter passion of our Saviour; and for love of Him, she was willing to endure much more. She derived the greatest comfort from a vision in which God appeared to her and assured her of her salvation. The hour of her death was also made known to her by divine revelation. She prepared herself most carefully for her end, and after receiving the holy sacraments, she breathed her last in the arms of her holy daughter, and, rich in merits and virtues, went to receive her reward in heaven, in the 71st. year of her age, in the year 1373. Before and after her death God wrought many and great miracles by her intercession.

Practical Considerations

• Christ appeared to Saint Bridget, wounded over His whole body, saying that those who had despised His love, and had shown themselves ungrateful for His mercies, had thus maltreated Him. Are you not also one of those who despise the Saviour’s love and show themselves ungrateful to Him? Are you not, perhaps, even one of those who, according to the words of Saint Paul, crucify Him anew? “You crucify the Lord anew as often as you become guilty of a mortal sin,” says Hugh, the Cardinal. And how often has this happened? And what were your reasons for so doing? What could you answer, if Christ would address you, as Saint Bernard introduces Him speaking: “Am I not yet wounded enough for you? Have I not yet sufficiently suffered for your misdeeds? why do you still add new pains to the old ones? The wounds of your sins are much more painful to me than the wounds of my body.”

What, I ask, could you answer, if Christ spoke thus to you? Oh! prostrate yourself before your crucified Saviour, humbly ask His pardon and promise Him that in future you will show yourself grateful and not offend Him. In every temptation to sin, remember your crucified Lord, and address yourself in the words of Saint Bernard: “My God hangs on the Cross, and shall I submit to lust?” Shall I sin? Shall I, for a miserable gain, for a short sensual pleasure, offend my God? “How can I do this wicked thing, and sin against my God?” said the chaste Joseph, when tempted to sin (Genesis 39). He meant by this, that it was impossible for him to offend so great and so good a God. “How can I sin against my God?” Speak thus to yourself, when Satan or men tempt you to sin. How dare I do it? How can I thus offend my good God? How thus offend my kind Redeemer, and open afresh all His wounds? But your acts must correspond with these words, and as Joseph rather drew upon himself the anger of his mistress and all that might follow it, than offend God, so in the same manner must you act,

• Saint Bridget, in a most gentle manner, reformed her husband of many faults, such as gaming and immoderate love of dress. She taught her children to pray, to perform works of mercy, and mortification. Oh! that all wives would so act to their husbands; all mothers adopt the same plan in the education of their children! How great would their merit be on earth, and how inexpressible their joy at meeting their children in a happy eterni- ty! But on the contrary, how heavy will be the account which those women will have to render before God, and how excruciating their pain in hell, who have incited their husbands to pride, to hatred, and to enmity, to oppression and persecution of their neighbor, to all kinds of fraud, injustice, and other vices! And terrible too will be the punishment of those mothers who take not proper care in the instruction of their children, who do not correct their faults, who do not lead them, by precept and example, to piety, but to frivolous vanities, to love of dress and of the world and all kinds of sinful amusements. What has here been said applies also to husbands and fathers. Married people should love each other; and what is more opposed to Christian love, than for one to be to the other an occasion of sin, and thus injure one who should be shielded from all evil? Both parents are obliged to lead their children, by word and example, in the path to heaven, and to teach them those lessons which God gives so emphatically by the Psalmist: “That they may put their hope in God and may not forget the works of God.” (Psalm 77) If they neglect this, and perhaps do the contrary, what Origen says will happen to them: “The parents will have to render account of the sins of their children, if they have not instructed them well, and punished them duly; for, it is they who are guilty of the eternal perdition of their children, and they condemn themselves for all eternity.”

MLA Citation

Father Francis Xavier Weninger, DD, SJ. “Saint Bridget, Widow”. Lives of the Saints1876. CatholicSaints.Info. 10 May 2018. Web. 23 July 2021. <https://catholicsaints.info/weningers-lives-of-the-saints-saint-bridget-widow/>

SOURCE : https://catholicsaints.info/weningers-lives-of-the-saints-saint-bridget-widow/


Santa Brigida di Svezia Religiosa, fondatrice

23 luglio

Finsta, Svezia, giugno 1303 – Roma, 23 luglio 1373

Compatrona d'Europa, venerata dai fedeli per le sue «Rivelazioni», nacque nel 1303 nel castello di Finsta, nell'Upplandi (Svezia), dove visse con i genitori fino all'età di 12 anni. Sposò Ulf Gudmarson, governatore dell'Östergötland, dal quale ebbe otto figli.Secondo la tradizione devozionale, nel corso delle prime rivelazioni, Cristo le avrebbe affidato il compito di fondare un nuovo ordine monastico. Nel 1349 Brigida lasciò la Svezia per recarsi a Roma, per ottenere un anno giubilare e l'approvazione per il suo ordine, che avrebbe avuto come prima sede il castello reale di Vastena, donatole dal re Magnus Erikson. Salvo alcuni pellegrinaggi, rimase a Roma fino alla sua morte avvenuta il 23 luglio 1373. La sua canonizzazione avvenne nel 1391 ad opera di Papa Bonifacio IX. (Avvenire)

Patronato: Svezia, Europa (Giovanni Paolo II, 1/10/99)

Etimologia: Brigida (come Brigitta) = alta, forte, potente, dall'irlandese

Martirologio Romano: Santa Brigida, religiosa, che, data in nozze al legislatore Ulfo in Svezia, educò nella pietà cristiana i suoi otto figli, esortando lo stesso coniuge con la parola e con l’esempio a una profonda vita di fede. Alla morte del marito, compì numerosi pellegrinaggi ai luoghi santi e, dopo aver lasciato degli scritti sul rinnovamento mistico della Chiesa dal capo fino alle sue membra e aver fondato l’Ordine del Santissimo Salvatore, a Roma passò al cielo.

Un carattere sicuramente forte e deciso fin da bambina, quello di Brigida. Appartiene a una famiglia aristocratica. Sente la vocazione ma accetta di sposarsi con Ulf, governante di un importante distretto del Regno di Svezia, come voleva suo padre. La prima parte della sua vita, segnata da una forte fede, è spesa in un matrimonio felice dal quale nascono otto figli. Una di loro, Caterina – che la seguirà a Roma – sarà anche lei canonizzata. Insieme al marito adotta la Regola dei Terziari francescani e fonda un piccolo ospedale. Guidata da un dotto religioso, studia la Bibbia e viene così apprezzata per la sua pedagogia da essere chiamata dal re di Svezia per introdurre la giovane regina alla cultura svedese. Dopo più di vent’anni di matrimonio, il marito muore. Qui comincia la seconda parte della sua vita.

Brigida e Caterina: il Papa torni a Roma

Brigida fa una scelta decisiva: si spoglia dei suoi beni e va a vivere presso il monastero cistercense di Alvastra. A quel periodo risalgono quelle esperienze mistiche che saranno riportate negli otto libri delle Rivelazioni, e da qui ha inizio anche la sua nuova missione. Nel 1349 va a Roma per ottenere il riconoscimento del suo Ordine intitolato al Santissimo Salvatore e che lei voleva fosse composto da monache e religiosi. Decide quindi di stabilirsi nella Città eterna, in una casa a Piazza Farnese che ancora oggi ospita la Curia generalizia delle Brigidine. Soffre però per il malcostume e il degrado diffuso che vive la città, nella quale si avvertiva fortemente la lontananza del Papa, in quel periodo residente ad Avignone. Cuore della sua missione – al pari della sua contemporanea Santa Caterina da Siena – sarà quindi chiedere al Papa di tornare presso la Tomba di Pietro.

Una donna per la pace in Europa

L’altro “fronte” su cui forte è il suo impegno è quello della pace in Europa. Scrive ai principi perché si metta fine alla Guerra dei Cent’anni, tra Francia e Inghilterra. Decisive in quel periodo le sue opere di carità. Lei, che era stata nobile, vive in povertà, trovandosi anche a chiedere l’elemosina alle porte delle chiese. Sono gli anni dei pellegrinaggi in varie parti d’Italia, da Assisi al Gargano, e infine del pellegrinaggio dei pellegrinaggi, quello in Terra Santa: aveva quasi 70 anni, ma questo non la trattiene dal suo proposito. Centrale nella sua esperienza di fede, la Passione di Cristo e la Vergine Maria. A testimoniarlo anche il “Rosario brigidino” e le pregherie, legati a particolari grazie a lei promesse da Gesù per chi li avesse recitati. Muore il 23 luglio del 1373, a Roma. Affida l’Ordine alla figlia Caterina che, una volta rimasta vedova, l’aveva raggiunta quando Brigida si trovava a Farfa. Il suo unico rimpianto era che il Papa non fosse tornato definitivamente a Roma. Nel 1367 Papa Urbano V vi era infatti rientrato ma solo per un breve periodo. A stabilirvisi definitivamente sarà Gregorio XI, anche se alcuni anni dopo la morte di Brigida.

Compatrona d’Europa

Canonizzata nel 1391 da Bonifacio IX, Santa Brigida è patrona della Svezia. E’ stata dichiarata nel 1999 Compatrona d’Europa da San Giovanni Paolo II, che ha sottolineato come “la Chiesa, pur senza pronunciarsi sulle singole rivelazioni, ha accolto l’autenticità complessiva della sua esperienza interiore”. La sua figura è dunque molto cara agli ultimi Papi. Benedetto XVI le ha dedicato una catechesi all’udienza generale e Papa Francesco ha voluto canonizzare colei che nel XX secolo aveva rinnovato l’Ordine del Santissimo Salvatore, Maria Elisabetta Hesselblad, cui darà una forte impronta ecumenica, sempre nel solco di quella ricerca della pace e dell’unità, così care a Brigida.

(Vatican News)

Nascita e famiglia

Brigida (o Brigitta o Birgitta) nacque nel giugno 1303 nel castello di Finsta presso Uppsala, in Svezia. Suo padre, Birgen Persson, era “lagman”, cioè giudice e governatore della regione dell’Upplan. Sua madre, Ingeborga, era anche lei di ascendenze nobiliari.

In effetti Brigida apparteneva alla nobile stirpe dei Folkunghi e discendeva dal re cristiano Sverker I. Ebbe altri sei fratelli e sorelle. Le fu imposto il nome di Brigida, in onore dell’omonima santa badessa irlandese alla quale i suoi genitori erano devoti.

Prima educazione

Dopo la morte della madre, a dodici anni fu mandata presso la zia Caterina Bengtsdotter, a completare la propria formazione. Dopo aver ascoltato una predica sulla Passione di Gesù, le sorse in cuore una domanda: «O mio caro Signore, chi ti ha ridotto così?». Subito si sentì rispondere: «Tutti coloro che mi dimenticano e disprezzano il mio amore!». La bambina decise allora di amare Gesù con tutto il cuore e per sempre.

Presso la zia, Brigida trascorse due anni, dove apprese le buone maniere delle famiglie nobili, la scrittura e l’arte del ricamo. A questo periodo sono fatti risalire alcuni fenomeni come la visione del demonio, sotto forma di mostro dai cento piedi e dalle cento mani.

Sposa e madre cristiana

A quattordici anni, secondo le consuetudini dell’epoca, il padre la destinò in sposa del giovane Ulf Gudmarsson figlio del governatore del Västergötland. In verità Brigida avrebbe voluto consacrarsi a Dio, ma vide nella disposizione paterna la volontà di Dio e serenamente accettò.

Le nozze furono celebrate nel settembre 1316. La sua nuova casa fu il castello di Ulfasa, presso le sponde del lago Boren. Il giovane sposo, nonostante il suo nome significasse “lupo”, si dimostrò invece uomo mite e desideroso di condurre una vita conforme agli insegnamenti evangelici.

Secondo quanto scrisse e raccontò durante il suo processo di canonizzazione la figlia Caterina (Karin in svedese) al processo di canonizzazione, i due sposi vissero per un biennio come fratello e sorella, nella preghiera e nella mortificazione, e divennero Terziari francescani.

Soltanto tre anni dopo le nozze nacque la prima figlia. In venti anni, Brigida mise al mondo otto figli, quattro maschi (Karl, Birger, Bengt e Gudmar) e quattro femmine (Marta, Karin, Ingeborga e Cecilia).

Padrona di casa attenta ai poveri

Nel 1330 Ulf Gudmarsson fu nominato “lagman” di Nericia (Närke in svedese). Dietro questa nomina, c’era tutto l’impegno di Brigida, che gli aveva insegnato a leggere e scrivere. Ulf, approfittando della spinta culturale della moglie, aveva approfondito anche lo studio del diritto, meritando tale carica.

Per venti anni Ulfasa fu il centro della vita di Brigida e tutta la provincia dell’Ostergötland divenne il suo mondo. Il suo ruolo non fu solo quello di principessa di Nericia: senza ostentare alcuna vanagloria, fu un’ottima padrona di casa. Dirigeva il personale alle sue dipendenze e, mescolata ai suoi membri, svolgeva le varie attività domestiche, instaurando un benefico clima di famiglia.

Si dedicava particolarmente ai poveri e alle ragazze, procurando a queste ultime una onesta sistemazione per non cadere nella prostituzione. Fece inoltre costruire un piccolo ospedale, dove ogni giorno si recava ad assistere gli ammalati, lavandoli e rammendando i loro vestiti.

L’incontro col maestro Matthias

In questo intenso periodo, conobbe il maestro Matthias, uomo esperto in Sacra Scrittura, di vasta cultura e zelante sacerdote; ben presto divenne il suo confessore e si fece tradurre da lui in svedese, buona parte della Bibbia per poterla leggere e meditare meglio

La sua presenza apportò a Brigida la conoscenza delle correnti di pensiero di tutta l’Europa, giacché don Matthias aveva studiato a Parigi, e tutto ciò si rivelerà utile per la conoscenza delle problematiche del tempo, preparandola alla sua futura missione.

Alla corte reale di Svezia

Nel 1335, il re di Svezia Magnus II sposò Bianca di Dampierre, figlia di Giovanni I, conte di Namur. Brigida, che era lontana cugina del sovrano, fu invitata a stabilirsi a corte, per assistere la giovane regina.
Affidati due figlie e un figlio a monasteri cistercensi, lasciò temporaneamente la sua casa di Ulfasa e si trasferì a Stoccolma, portando con sé il figlio più piccolo, bisognoso ancora delle cure materne.

Ebbe grande influenza sui giovani sovrani, che diedero alla Svezia buone leggi, abolirono il diritto regio di rapina su tutti i beni dei naufraghi e mitigarono le tasse. Questo almeno finché la vita di corte divenne estremamente mondana, perché la regina si lasciava coinvolgere dalla frivolezza del marito.

Brigida si trovò messa da parte: intanto, nel 1338, le era morto il figlio Gudmar. Senza rompere i rapporti con i sovrani, lasciò la corte e tornò al castello di Ulfasa. In seguito, insieme al marito si recò in pellegrinaggio a Nidaros per venerare le reliquie di sant’Olaf Haraldsson, patrono della Scandinavia.

Dalla vita coniugale allo stato religioso

Quando nel 1341 i due coniugi festeggiarono le nozze d’argento, vollero recarsi in pellegrinaggio a Santiago di Compostela. Nel viaggio di ritorno, Ulf fu miracolosamente salvato da sicura morte. Riconoscendo nell’accaduto un prodigio, lui e Brigida, che avevano ripreso a vivere in castità, presero la decisione di abbracciare la vita religiosa: era un’eventualità accettata in quei tempi, vissuta da parecchi santi.

Al ritorno, Ulf fu accolto nel monastero cistercense di Alvastra, dove poi morì il 12 febbraio 1344, assistito dalla moglie. Brigida a sua volta decise di trasferirsi in un edificio annesso al monastero di Alvastra, dove restò quasi tre anni, fino al 1346.

Le «Rivelazioni» di Brigida

Dopo un periodo di austerità e di meditazione sui divini misteri della Passione del Signore e dei dolori e glorie della Vergine, Brigida cominciò ad avere visioni di Cristo. Durante quei colloqui, si sentì eleggere «sua sposa» e «messaggera del gran Signore», avvertendo una spinta a operare per il bene del proprio Paese, dell’Europa e della Chiesa.

Ai suoi direttori spirituali come il padre Matthias, Brigida dettò le sue celebri «Rivelazioni», frutto delle intuizioni ricevute, che furono poi raccolte in otto volumi.

Stimolatrice di riforme e di pace in Europa

Brigida non solo tornò a Stoccolma per portare personalmente al re e alla regina quelli che lei affermava essere “gli ammonimenti del Signore”, ma inviò lettere e messaggi ai sovrani di Francia e Inghilterra, perché ponessero fine all’interminabile ‘Guerra dei Cent’anni’ (1339-1453).

Suoi messaggeri furono monsignor Hemming, vescovo di Abo in Finlandia, e il monaco Pietro Olavo di Alvastra. Un altro monaco omonimo divenne suo segretario. Esortò anche papa Clemente VI a correggersi da alcuni gravi difetti, a indire il Giubileo del 1350 e a riportare la Sede pontificia da Avignone a Roma.

La fondazione di un nuovo Ordine religioso

Nella solitudine di Alvastra, concepì anche l’idea di dare alla Chiesa un nuovo Ordine religioso. Avrebbe dovuto essere composto da monasteri “doppi”, abitati cioè da religiosi e suore, rigorosamente divisi: l’unico punto d’incontro sarebbe stato nella chiesa del monastero, per la preghiera in comune. Tutti avrebbero avuto un confessore generale e la guida di un’unica badessa, rappresentante la Santa Vergine: si sarebbe ricreata così la Chiesa primitiva, raccolta nel Cenacolo attorno a Maria.

Ottenuto dal re, il 1° maggio 1346, il castello di Vadstena, con annesse terre e donazioni, Brigida iniziò i lavori di ristrutturazione, che durarono molti anni. Peraltro, papa Clemente VI non concesse l’autorizzazione per il nuovo Ordine: un decreto del Concilio Ecumenico Lateranense del 1215, infatti, proibiva il sorgere di nuovi Ordini religiosi.

Per questo, già nell’autunno del 1349, Brigida si recò a Roma, non solo per l’Anno Santo del 1350, ma anche per sollecitare il Papa, quando sarebbe ritornato a Roma, fornire la sua approvazione.

L’Ordine del SS. Salvatore

Solo nel 1370 papa Urbano V approvò l’Ordine del SS. Salvatore, come fu denominato. Fu stabilito che ogni comunità doppia fosse composta da ottantacinque membri, dei quali sessanta religiose e venticinque religiosi. Questi ultimi dovevano essere divisi tra sacerdoti (tredici, il numero degli apostoli compreso san Paolo), diaconi e suddiaconi (quattro in onore dei Padri della Chiesa indivisa) e monaci non sacerdoti.

Il gioco di numeri rientrava nel gusto del tempo per il simbolismo: rappresentare gli apostoli e i discepoli, spingeva ad un richiamo concreto a vivere come loro erano vissuti. Il numero di monache e religiosi prescritto per ogni doppio monastero veniva raggiunto senza difficoltà.

L’arrivo a Roma

Arrivata a Roma insieme al confessore, al segretario Pietro Magnus e al sacerdote Gudmaro di Federico, alloggiò brevemente nell’ospizio dei pellegrini presso Castel Sant’Angelo. Fu quindi ospitata nel palazzo del cardinale Ugo Roger di Beaufort, fratello del Papa. Quest’ultimo non aveva ancora lasciato Avignone, quindi decise di mettere l’edificio a disposizione di Brigida, la cui fama era giunta anche alla Curia avignonese.

La prima impressione che lei ebbe di Roma non fu buona, né migliorò in seguito: nei suoi scritti la descrisse popolata di rospi e vipere, con le strade piene di fango ed erbacce. Il clero le appariva avido, immorale e trascurato.

Avvertiva fortemente la lontananza da tanto tempo del Papa, perciò gli descrisse nelle sue lettere la decadenza della città, spronandolo a ritornare nella sua sede, senza riuscirci. Il suo sogno era vedere l’Europa unita e in pace, governata dall’imperatore e guidata spiritualmente dal Pontefice.

Nel palazzo di piazza Farnese

Dopo quattro anni, si trasferì poi in una casa messa a disposizione da una nobildonna romana, Francesca Papazzurri, in piazza Farnese, nelle vicinanze di Campo de’ Fiori: Roma divenne così per Brigida la sua seconda patria.

Trascorreva le giornate studiando il latino, dedicandosi alla preghiera e alle pratiche di pietà, trascrivendo in gotico le visioni e le rivelazioni del Signore, che poi passava subito al suo segretario Pietro Olavo, perché le traducesse in latino.

Dalla dimora di Campo de’ Fiori, dove abitò fino alla morte, inviava lettere al Papa, ai reali di Svezia, alle regine di Napoli e di Cipro e, naturalmente, ai suoi figli e figlie rimasti a Vadstena.

Pellegrina e riformatrice in Italia

Si spostò in pellegrinaggio a vari santuari del Centro e Sud d’Italia: visitò Assisi, Ortona, Benevento, Salerno, Amalfi, il Gargano, Bari. Nel 1365 Brigida andò a Napoli, dove fu artefice e ispiratrice di una missione di risanamento morale, ben accolta dal vescovo e dalla regina Giovanna che, seguendo i suoi consigli, operò una radicale conversione nei suoi costumi e in quelli della corte.

Brigida si occupò anche della famosa abbazia imperiale di Farfa nella Sabina, vicino Roma, dove l’abate con i monaci «amava più le armi che il claustro», ma il suo messaggio di riforma non fu ascoltato da essi. Mentre era ancora a Farfa, fu raggiunta dalla figlia Caterina, che nel 1350 era rimasta vedova: da allora rimase al suo fianco per sempre, condividendo in pieno il suo ideale.

Ritornata a Roma, Brigida continuò a lanciare richiami a persone altolocate e allo stesso popolo romano per una vita più cristiana. Si attirò per questo pesanti accuse, fino ad essere chiamata «la strega del Nord» e a ridursi in estrema povertà. Colei che un tempo era stata la principessa di Nericia, per poter sostenere sé stessa e chi l’accompagnava, fu costretta a chiedere l’elemosina alla porta delle chiese.

Il ritorno temporaneo del Papa

Nel 1367 sembrò che le sue preghiere si avverassero: il papa Urbano V tornò da Avignone. Tuttavia, la sua permanenza a Roma fu breve, perché nel 1370 ripartì per la Francia. Brigida gli aveva predetto una morte precoce se l’avesse fatto: appena giunto ad Avignone, il 24 settembre 1370, il Papa morì.

Durante il breve periodo romano, Urbano V concesse la sospirata approvazione dell’Ordine del SS. Salvatore e Caterina di Svezia ne diventò la prima Superiora Generale.

Brigida continuò la sua pressione epistolare, a volte molto infuocata, anche con il nuovo pontefice Gregorio XI, che già la conosceva, affinché tornasse il papato a Roma, ma anche lui pur rimanendo impressionato dalle sue parole, non ebbe il coraggio di farlo.

Pellegrina in Terra Santa

Ma anche Brigida, ormai settantenne, si avviava verso la fine. Ottenuto il benestare per il suo Ordine religioso, volle intraprendere il suo ultimo e più desiderato pellegrinaggio, quello in Terra Santa.

L’accompagnavano il vescovo eremita Alfonso di Jaén, custode delle sue «Rivelazioni» messe per iscritto (di cui molte rimaste segrete), i due sacerdoti Pietro Olavo, Pietro Magnus, i figli Caterina, Birger e Karl e altre quattro persone: in totale, dodici pellegrini.

Verso la fine del 1371, la comitiva partì da Roma diretta a Napoli, dove trascorse l’inverno. In prossimità della partenza, nel marzo 1372, Brigida vide morire di peste il figlio Karl, ma non volle annullare il viaggio. Dopo aver pregato per lui e provveduto alla sepoltura, s’imbarcò per Cipro, dove fu accolta dalla regina Eleonora d’Aragona, che approfittò del suo passaggio per attuare una benefica riforma nel suo regno.

A maggio 1372 arrivò a Gerusalemme, dove in quattro mesi poté visitare e meditare nei luoghi della vita terrena di Gesù, poi ritornò a Roma, col cuore pieno di ricordi ed emozioni. Subito inviò ad Avignone il vescovo Alfonso di Jaén, con un’ulteriore messaggio per il Papa, per sollecitarne il ritorno a Roma.

La morte

A Gerusalemme Brigida contrasse una malattia, che in fasi alterne si aggravò sempre più. Accanto a lei c’era la figlia Caterina, alla quale aveva affidato l’Ordine del SS. Salvatore. Nella sua stanza da letto si celebrava l’Eucaristia ogni giorno. Prima di morire ricevette il velo di monaca dell’Ordine da lei fondato, poi, il 23 luglio 1373, terminò la sua vita terrena.

Unico suo rimpianto era di non aver visto il Papa tornare a Roma definitivamente. Questo avvenne poco più di tre anni dopo, il 17 gennaio 1377, per mezzo di Caterina da Siena (canonizzata nel 1461).

La canonizzazione

Il suo corpo fu composto in un sarcofago romano di marmo, collocato dietro la cancellata di ferro nella chiesa di San Lorenzo in Damaso. Già il 2 dicembre 1373 i figli Birger e Caterina partirono da Roma per Vadstena, portando con loro la cassa con il corpo, che fu sepolto nell’originario monastero svedese il 4 luglio 1374. A Roma rimasero alcune reliquie, conservate tuttora nella chiesa di San Lorenzo in Panisperna e dalle Clarisse di San Martino ai Monti.

La figlia Caterina e i suoi discepoli curarono il suo culto e la causa di canonizzazione. Brigida di Svezia fu quindi proclamata santa il 7 ottobre 1391 da papa Bonifacio IX.

La sua eredità spirituale

Alle sue «Rivelazioni» la Chiesa dà il valore che hanno le rivelazioni private: sono credibili per la santità della persona che le propone, tenendo sempre conto dei condizionamenti del tempo e della persona stessa.

Brigida ebbe il merito di mettere le verità della fede alla portata del popolo, con un linguaggio visivo che colpiva la fantasia, toccava il cuore e spingeva alla conversione. Per questo le «Rivelazioni» ebbero il loro influsso per lungo tempo nella vita cristiana, non solo dei popoli scandinavi, ma anche dei latini.

Compatrona d’Europa

Con il “Motu proprio” «Spes aedificandi», del 1° ottobre 1999, il Papa san Giovanni Paolo II l’ha proclamata patrona d’Europa, insieme a santa Teresa Benedetta della Croce e Santa Caterina da Siena. La sola santa Brigida è inoltre patrona della Svezia dal 1° ottobre 1891.

Una speciale venerazione per lei è da sempre presente a Napoli, dove le sono state dedicata una chiesa e una strada, nel centro cittadino. Le sue suore si sono poi stabilite nell’Eremo del SS. Salvatore, che per quattrocento anni era stato abitato dai monaci camaldolesi sulla collina, detta appunto dei Camaldoli, che sovrasta la città.

L’Ordine del SS. Salvatore oggi

L’Ordine del SS. Salvatore ebbe per due secoli un grande influsso sulla vita religiosa dei Paesi scandinavi. Nel periodo di maggiore fioritura contava settantotto monasteri doppi, nonostante le rigide regole numeriche, diffusi particolarmente nei Paesi nordici. In Italia le due prime Case si ebbero a Firenze e a Roma.

Col tempo l’Ordine declinò, ma fu sciolto prima con la Riforma Protestante luterana, poi con la Rivoluzione Francese. Il solo ramo femminile è rifiorito all’inizio del Novecento, grazie a madre Maria Elisabetta Hesselblad (canonizzata nel 2016). Ora è diffuso in vari luoghi d’Europa, fra cui Vadstena, primo Centro dell’Ordine.

Le Suore Brigidine, come sono più comunemente dette, si riconoscono per il tipico copricapo: due bande formano sul capo una croce, i cui bracci sono uniti da una fascia circolare e con cinque fiamme, una al centro e quattro sul bordo, che ricordano le piaghe di Cristo.

Autore: Antonio Borrelli

SOURCE : http://www.santiebeati.it/dettaglio/28400

Die Hl. Birgitta. Holzschnitt aus Sunte Birgitten Openbaringe (Hans van Ghetelen 1496); mit "Mohnkopf"- und "T"-Wappen im Rahmenwerk. 1496, Königliche Bibliothek, Kopenhagen. Mohnkopfoffizin des Hans van Ghetelen (gest. um 1528)


BENEDETTO XVI

UDIENZA GENERALE

Piazza San Pietro

Mercoledì, 27 ottobre 2010 

Santa Brigida di Svezia


Cari fratelli e sorelle,

nella fervida vigilia del Grande Giubileo dell’Anno Duemila, il Venerabile Servo di Dio Giovanni Paolo II proclamò santa Brigida di Svezia compatrona di tutta l’Europa. Questa mattina vorrei presentarne la figura, il messaggio, e le ragioni per cui questa santa donna ha molto da insegnare – ancor oggi – alla Chiesa e al mondo.

Conosciamo bene gli avvenimenti della vita di santa Brigida, perché i suoi padri spirituali ne redassero la biografia per promuoverne il processo di canonizzazione subito dopo la morte, avvenuta nel 1373. Brigida era nata settant’anni prima, nel 1303, a Finster, in Svezia, una nazione del Nord-Europa che da tre secoli aveva accolto la fede cristiana con il medesimo entusiasmo con cui la Santa l’aveva ricevuta dai suoi genitori, persone molto pie, appartenenti a nobili famiglie vicine alla Casa regnante.

Possiamo distinguere due periodi nella vita di questa Santa.

Il primo è caratterizzato dalla sua condizione di donna felicemente sposata. Il marito si chiamava Ulf ed era governatore di un importante distretto del regno di Svezia. Il matrimonio durò ventott’anni, fino alla morte di Ulf. Nacquero otto figli, di cui la secondogenita, Karin (Caterina), è venerata come santa. Ciò è un segno eloquente dell’impegno educativo di Brigida nei confronti dei propri figli. Del resto, la sua saggezza pedagogica fu apprezzata a tal punto che il re di Svezia, Magnus, la chiamò a corte per un certo periodo, con lo scopo di introdurre la sua giovane sposa, Bianca di Namur, nella cultura svedese.

Brigida, spiritualmente guidata da un dotto religioso che la iniziò allo studio delle Scritture, esercitò un influsso molto positivo sulla propria famiglia che, grazie alla sua presenza, divenne una vera “chiesa domestica”. Insieme con il marito, adottò la Regola dei Terziari francescani. Praticava con generosità opere di carità verso gli indigenti; fondò anche un ospedale. Accanto alla sua sposa, Ulf imparò a migliorare il suo carattere e a progredire nella vita cristiana. Al ritorno da un lungo pellegrinaggio a Santiago di Compostela, effettuato nel 1341 insieme ad altri membri della famiglia, gli sposi maturarono il progetto di vivere in continenza; ma poco tempo dopo, nella pace di un monastero in cui si era ritirato, Ulf concluse la sua vita terrena.

Questo primo periodo della vita di Brigida ci aiuta ad apprezzare quella che oggi potremmo definire un’autentica “spiritualità coniugale”: insieme, gli sposi cristiani possono percorrere un cammino di santità, sostenuti dalla grazia del Sacramento del Matrimonio. Non poche volte, proprio come è avvenuto nella vita di santa Brigida e di Ulf, è la donna che con la sua sensibilità religiosa, con la delicatezza e la dolcezza riesce a far percorrere al marito un cammino di fede. Penso con riconoscenza a tante donne che, giorno dopo giorno, ancor oggi illuminano le proprie famiglie con la loro testimonianza di vita cristiana. Possa lo Spirito del Signore suscitare anche oggi la santità degli sposi cristiani, per mostrare al mondo la bellezza del matrimonio vissuto secondo i valori del Vangelo: l’amore, la tenerezza, l’aiuto reciproco, la fecondità nella generazione e nell’educazione dei figli, l’apertura e la solidarietà verso il mondo, la partecipazione alla vita della Chiesa.

Quando Brigida rimase vedova, iniziò il secondo periodo della sua vita. Rinunciò ad altre nozze per approfondire l’unione con il Signore attraverso la preghiera, la penitenza e le opere di carità. Anche le vedove cristiane, dunque, possono trovare in questa Santa un modello da seguire. In effetti, Brigida, alla morte del marito, dopo aver distribuito i propri beni ai poveri, pur senza mai accedere alla consacrazione religiosa, si stabilì presso il monastero cistercense di Alvastra. Qui ebbero inizio le rivelazioni divine, che l’accompagnarono per tutto il resto della sua vita. Esse furono dettate da Brigida ai suoi segretari-confessori, che le tradussero dallo svedese in latino e le raccolsero in un’edizione di otto libri, intitolati Revelationes (Rivelazioni). A questi libri si aggiunge un supplemento, che ha per titolo appunto Revelationes extravagantes (Rivelazioni supplementari).

Le Rivelazioni di santa Brigida presentano un contenuto e uno stile molto vari. A volte la rivelazione si presenta sotto forma di dialoghi fra le Persone divine, la Vergine, i santi e anche i demoni; dialoghi nei quali anche Brigida interviene. Altre volte, invece, si tratta del racconto di una visione particolare; e in altre ancora viene narrato ciò che la Vergine Maria le rivela circa la vita e i misteri del Figlio. Il valore delle Rivelazioni di santa Brigida, talvolta oggetto di qualche dubbio, venne precisato dal Venerabile Giovanni Paolo II nella Lettera Spes Aedificandi: “Riconoscendo la santità di Brigida la Chiesa, pur senza pronunciarsi sulle singole rivelazioni, ha accolto l'autenticità complessiva della sua esperienza interiore” (n. 5).

Di fatto, leggendo queste Rivelazioni siamo interpellati su molti temi importanti. Ad esempio, ritorna frequentemente la descrizione, con dettagli assai realistici, della Passione di Cristo, verso la quale Brigida ebbe sempre una devozione privilegiata, contemplando in essa l’amore infinito di Dio per gli uomini. Sulla bocca del Signore che le parla, ella pone con audacia queste commoventi parole: “O miei amici, Io amo così teneramente le mie pecore che, se fosse possibile, vorrei morire tante altre volte, per ciascuna di esse, di quella stessa morte che ho sofferto per la redenzione di tutte” (Revelationes, Libro I, c. 59). Anche la dolorosa maternità di Maria, che la rese Mediatrice e Madre di misericordia, è un argomento che ricorre spesso nelle Rivelazioni.

Ricevendo questi carismi, Brigida era consapevole di essere destinataria di un dono di grande predilezione da parte del Signore: “Figlia mia – leggiamo nel primo libro delle Rivelazioni –, Io ho scelto te per me, amami con tutto il tuo cuore ... più di tutto ciò che esiste al mondo” (c. 1). Del resto, Brigida sapeva bene, e ne era fermamente convinta, che ogni carisma è destinato ad edificare la Chiesa. Proprio per questo motivo, non poche delle sue rivelazioni erano rivolte, in forma di ammonimenti anche severi, ai credenti del suo tempo, comprese le Autorità religiose e politiche, perché vivessero coerentemente la loro vita cristiana; ma faceva questo sempre con un atteggiamento di rispetto e di fedeltà piena al Magistero della Chiesa, in particolare al Successore dell’Apostolo Pietro.

Nel 1349 Brigida lasciò per sempre la Svezia e si recò in pellegrinaggio a Roma. Non solo intendeva prendere parte al Giubileo del 1350, ma desiderava anche ottenere dal Papa l’approvazione della Regola di un Ordine religioso che intendeva fondare, intitolato al Santo Salvatore, e composto da monaci e monache sotto l’autorità dell’abbadessa. Questo è un elemento che non deve stupirci: nel Medioevo esistevano fondazioni monastiche con un ramo maschile e un ramo femminile, ma con la pratica della stessa regola monastica, che prevedeva la direzione dell’Abbadessa. Di fatto, nella grande tradizione cristiana, alla donna è riconosciuta una dignità propria, e – sempre sull’esempio di Maria, Regina degli Apostoli – un proprio posto nella Chiesa, che, senza coincidere con il sacerdozio ordinato, è altrettanto importante per la crescita spirituale della Comunità. Inoltre, la collaborazione di consacrati e consacrate, sempre nel rispetto della loro specifica vocazione, riveste una grande importanza nel mondo d’oggi.

A Roma, in compagnia della figlia Karin, Brigida si dedicò a una vita di intenso apostolato e di orazione. E da Roma si mosse in pellegrinaggio in vari santuari italiani, in particolare ad Assisi, patria di san Francesco, verso il quale Brigida nutrì sempre grande devozione. Finalmente, nel 1371, coronò il suo più grande desiderio: il viaggio in Terra Santa, dove si recò in compagnia dei suoi figli spirituali, un gruppo che Brigida chiamava “gli amici di Dio”.

Durante quegli anni, i Pontefici si trovavano ad Avignone, lontano da Roma: Brigida si rivolse accoratamente a loro, affinché facessero ritorno alla sede di Pietro, nella Città Eterna.

Morì nel 1373, prima che il Papa Gregorio XI tornasse definitivamente a Roma. Fu sepolta provvisoriamente nella chiesa romana di San Lorenzo in Panisperna, ma nel 1374 i suoi figli Birger e Karin la riportarono in patria, nel monastero di Vadstena, sede dell’Ordine religioso fondato da santa Brigida, che conobbe subito una notevole espansione. Nel 1391 il Papa Bonifacio IX la canonizzò solennemente.

La santità di Brigida, caratterizzata dalla molteplicità dei doni e delle esperienze che ho voluto ricordare in questo breve profilo biografico-spirituale, la rende una figura eminente nella storia dell’Europa. Proveniente dalla Scandinavia, santa Brigida testimonia come il cristianesimo abbia profondamente permeato la vita di tutti i popoli di questo Continente. Dichiarandola compatrona d’Europa, il Papa Giovanni Paolo II ha auspicato che santa Brigida – vissuta nel XIV secolo, quando la cristianità occidentale non era ancora ferita dalla divisione – possa intercedere efficacemente presso Dio, per ottenere la grazia tanto attesa della piena unità di tutti i cristiani. Per questa medesima intenzione, che ci sta tanto a cuore, e perché l’Europa sappia sempre alimentarsi dalle proprie radici cristiane, vogliamo pregare, cari fratelli e sorelle, invocando la potente intercessione di santa Brigida di Svezia, fedele discepola di Dio e compatrona d’Europa. Grazie per l’attenzione.

Saluti:

Je salue cordialement les pèlerins francophones, en particulier les jeunes et les groupes paroissiaux! Je vous exhorte, chers époux chrétiens, à montrer au monde la beauté du mariage vécu selon les valeurs évangéliques. Quant à vous, chers jeunes, ayez à cœur de nourrir votre foi chrétienne pour la faire grandir. Bon pèlerinage à tous, avec ma bénédiction!

I am pleased to welcome all the English-speaking pilgrims and visitors present today. In particular, I extend greetings to the Bridgetine Sister here for their General Chapter. Upon all of you, I invoke God’s abundant blessings.

Gerne heiße ich alle deutschsprachigen Pilger und Gäste willkommen. Besonders grüße ich die katholischen Zeitungsverleger in Begleitung von Bischof Fürst, die Selbsthilfegruppe für krebskranke Menschen in Freising mit Weihbischof Haßlberger sowie die Pilger aus Innsbruck mit Bischof Scheuer. Bitten wir die heilige Birgitta um ihre Fürsprache, daß auch wir heute – sei es als Familie, Ordensleute oder Priester – uns wirklich vom Evangelium formen lassen und dann aus der Kraft des Glaubens die Gesellschaft gestalten können. Der Heilige Geist stärke uns alle in diesem Auftrag.

Saludo cordialmente a los peregrinos de lengua española, en particular a las Religiosas Carmelitas Misioneras Teresianas; a los miembros de la Cofradía de Nuestra Señora de la Cabeza, de Andújar; al grupo de la parroquia de Nuestra Señora del Rescate, de Ujarrás, en Costa Rica, así como a los demás grupos provenientes de España, México y otros países latinoamericanos. Invito a todos a llevar una intensa vida de oración, a ejemplo de Santa Brígida de Suecia, copatrona de Europa. Muchas gracias.

Amados peregrinos de língua portuguesa, queridos fiéis brasileiros de Itatiba, França, Paciência, São Paulo e peregrinos vindos de Portugal: a todos dou as boas vindas, feliz e agradecido pela vossa visita amiga. O Pai do Céu derrame os seus dons sobre vós e vossas famílias, que de coração abençôo. Obrigado!

Saluto in lingua lituana:

Nuoširdžiai sveikinu maldininkus iš Lietuvos. Šventosios Brigitos Švedės asmenybė ir dvasinis skelbimas liudija kaip labai krikščionybė yra suaugusi su visų Europos tautų gyvenimu. Josios pavyzdys ir užtarimas telydi jus kiekvieną. Iš širdies jus laiminu!

Traduzione italiana:

Rivolgo un cordiale saluto ai pellegrini lituani. La figura e il messaggio spirituale di santa Brigida di Svezia, testimonia come il cristianesimo abbia profondamente permeato la vita di tutti i popoli del Continente Europeo. Il suo esempio e la sua intercessione accompagnino ciascuno di voi. Di cuore vi benedico!

Saluto in lingua polacca:

Witam serdecznie obecnych tu Polaków. Siostry i Bracia! Jutro przypada święto apostołów Szymona i Judy Tadeusza. Tradycja mówi o ich posłudze apostolskiej w różnych krajach i męczeńskiej śmierci w Persji. Święty Juda Tadeusz jest znany jako orędownik w sprawach beznadziejnych. Niech pobyt w Rzymie będzie dla was okazją do dziękczynienia za dziedzictwo wiary otrzymane od Apostołów. Wam i waszym bliskim z serca błogosławię.

Traduzione italiana:

aluto cordialmente i polacchi qui presenti. Sorelle e Fratelli! Domani celebreremo la festa dei Santi Simone e Giuda Taddeo, Apostoli. La tradizione parla del loro ministero in diversi paesi e della morte per martirio subito in Persia. San Giuda Taddeo è conosciuto come mediatore nei problemi difficili cosiddetti “senza speranza”. Il soggiorno a Roma sia per voi l’occasione per ringraziare per il patrimonio della fede trasmesso dagli Apostoli. Benedico di cuore voi e vostri cari.

Saluto in lingua romena:

Adresez un cordial salut pelerinilor români. Figura şi mesajul Sfintei Brigita a Suediei, mărturiseşte cum creştinismul a pătruns profund în viaţa tuturor popoarelor continentului european. Exemplul şi mijlocirea sa să vă însoţească pe fiecare dintre voi. Vă binecuvântez din inimă! Lăudat să fie Isus Cristos!

Traduzione italiana:

Rivolgo un cordiale saluto ai pellegrini rumeni. La figura e il messaggio spirituale di santa Brigida di Svezia, testimonia come il cristianesimo abbia profondamente permeato la vita di tutti i popoli del Continente Europeo. Il suo esempio e la sua intercessione accompagnino ciascuno di voi. Di cuore vi benedico! Sia lodato Gesù Cristo!

Saluto in lingua slovacca:

S láskou vítam slovenských pútnikov, osobitne z Farnosti svätého Jakuba vo Veľkom Šariši.

Bratia a sestry, minulú nedeľu sme slávili Svetový deň misií. Je to výzva na obnovu našej aktívnej spolupráce na misijných dielach Cirkvi. Buďte aj vy misionármi Kristovej Radostnej zvesti, najmä svojimi modlitbami a obetami. Všetkých vás žehnám.
Pochválený buď Ježiš Kristus!

Traduzione italiana :

Con affetto do un benvenuto ai pellegrini slovacchi, particolarmente a quelli provenienti dalla Parrocchia di S. Giacomo in Veľký Šariš.

Fratelli e sorelle, domenica scorsa abbiamo celebrato la Giornata Missionaria Mondiale. Essa costituisce un invito a rinnovare la nostra attiva cooperazione alle opere missionarie della Chiesa. Siate anche voi missionari della Buona Novella di Cristo, specialmente con le vostre preghiere ed opere. A tutti la mia benedizione.
Sia lodato Gesù Cristo!

Saluto in lingua russa:

Сердечно приветствую российских паломников. Личность и духовное послание святой Бригитты Шведской свидетельствует о том, что христианство глубоко пропитало жизнь всех народов европейского континента. Пусть её пример и её заступничество сопровождают каждого из вас. От всего сердца благословляю!

Traduzione italiana:

Rivolgo un cordiale saluto ai pellegrini russi. La figura e il messaggio spirituale di santa Brigida di Svezia, testimonia come il cristianesimo abbia profondamente permeato la vita di tutti i popoli del Continente Europeo. Il suo esempio e la sua intercessione accompagnino ciascuno di voi. Di cuore vi benedico!

Saluto in lingua ungherese:

Nagy szeretettel köszöntöm a magyar híveket, különösképpen is a budaőrsi, a mogyoródi, a nyíregyházi és a gyulafehérvári csoport tagjait. Október hónap végén járunk, amely a Szent Rózsafüzér hónapja. Újítsátok meg a Szűzanyával való kapcsolatotokat e nemes imádság végzése közben.
Szívesem adom Kedves Mindannyiotokra apostoli áldásomat.
Dicsértessék a Jézus Krisztus!

Traduzione italiana:

Con grande affetto saluto i fedeli di lingua ungherese, specialmente i membri dei gruppi provenienti da Budaőrs, Mogyoród, Nyíregyháza e Alba Iulia.

Si sta concludendo il mese di ottobre, dedicato al Santo Rosario. Vi invito a riscoprire la comunione con la Vergine Maria, per mezzo di questa nobile preghiera.

Volentieri imparto a tutti voi la Benedizione Apostolica.

Sia lodato Gesù Cristo!

Saluto in lingua ucraina:

Щиро вітаю українських паломників. Постать та духовне послання святої Бригіди Шведської свідчать про те, як християнство глибоко проникло у життя всіх народів Європейського континенту! Нехай кожного з вас супроводжує її приклад та заступництво. Щиро вас благословлю!

Traduzione italiana:

Rivolgo un cordiale saluto ai pellegrini Ucraini. La figura e il messaggio spirituale di santa Brigida di Svezia, testimonia come il cristianesimo abbia profondamente permeato la vita di tutti i popoli del Continente Europeo. Il suo esempio e la sua intercessione accompagnino ciascuno di voi. Di cuore vi benedico!

Saluto in lingua croata:

Upućujem srdačan pozdrav svim hrvatskim hodočasnicima, a na poseban način vjernicima iz župe Svete Stošije iz Biograda na Moru.

U vašoj domovini budite apostoli mira i suživota kako biste se zvali sinovima Božjim. Hvaljen Isus i Marija!

Traduzione italiana:

Rivolgo un cordiale saluto ai pellegrini croati, in modo particolare ai fedeli della parrocchia di Sant’Anastasia di Biograd na Moru. Nella vostra patria siate gli apostoli della pace e della convivenza, per essere chiamati figli di Dio. Siano lodati Gesù e Maria!

Saluto in lingua ceca:

Srdečně vítám členy modlitební skupiny otce Pia a Sekulárního institutu "Servi della sofferenza", z brněnské diecéze.

Milovaní, nechť tato pouť do Říma k hrobům apoštolů Petra a Pavla ve vás rozhojní touhu po duchovní dokonalosti.

K tomu vám rád žehnám.

Chvála Kristu!

Traduzione italiana:

Un cordiale benvenuto ai membri del Gruppo di preghiera di Padre Pio e dell'Istituto secolare "Servi della sofferenza", della Diocesi di Brno.

Carissimi, possa questo vostro pellegrinaggio alle tombe degli Apostoli Pietro e Paolo accrescere in voi il desiderio di perfezione spirituale. Con questi voti, volentieri vi benedico.

Sia lodato Gesù Cristo!

* * *

Rivolgo un cordiale benvenuto ai pellegrini di lingua italiana. In particolare, saluto i fedeli della diocesi di Sulmona-Valva, guidati dal Vescovo Mons. Angelo Spina, qui convenuti per ricambiare la visita, che ho avuto la gioia di compiere nella loro terra nello scorso mese di luglio. Cari amici, ancora una volta vi ringrazio per l’affetto con cui mi avete accolto, ed auspico che da quel nostro incontro scaturisca per la vostra Comunità diocesana una rinnovata e generosa adesione a Cristo e alla sua Chiesa. Saluto il pellegrinaggio promosso dalle Suore del Preziosissimo Sangue e guidato dall’Arcivescovo di Vercelli, Mons. Enrico Masseroni, in occasione della beatificazione di Alfonsa Clerici ed esorto ciascuno a proseguire, sull'esempio della nuova Beata, nell'impegno di testimonianza evangelica. Saluto i rappresentanti del Gruppo di preghiera “Madonna Pellegrina di Schoenstatt” di Sant’Angelo di Alife, accompagnati dal loro Pastore, Mons. Valentino Di Cerbo, ed assicuro la mia preghiera perché si rafforzi in ciascuno il fermo desiderio di annunciare a tutti Gesù Cristo, unico Salvatore del mondo. Saluto le Suore dell’Ordine del Santissimo Salvatore e Santa Brigida – Brigidine, riunite per il loro Capitolo generale e prego il Signore perché da questa assemblea scaturiscano generosi propositi di vita evangelica per l’intero Istituto.

Mi rivolgo, infine, ai giovani, ai malati ed agli sposi novelli. Carissimi, celebreremo domani la festa dei santi Apostoli Simone e Giuda Taddeo. La loro gloriosa testimonianza sostenga voi tutti nel rispondere generosamente alla chiamata del Signore.

APPELLO

Nelle ultime ore, un nuovo terribile tsunami si è abbattuto sulle coste dell’Indonesia, colpita anche da un’eruzione vulcanica, provocando numerosi morti e dispersi. Ai familiari delle vittime esprimo il più vivo cordoglio per la perdita dei loro cari ed a tutta la popolazione indonesiana assicuro la mia vicinanza e la mia preghiera.

Sono, inoltre, vicino alla cara popolazione del Benin, colpita da continue alluvioni, che hanno lasciato molte persone senza tetto e in precarie situazioni igienico-sanitarie. Sulle vittime e sull’intera Nazione invoco la benedizione ed il conforto del Signore.

Alla comunità internazionale chiedo di prodigarsi per fornire il necessario aiuto e per alleviare le pene di quanti soffrono per queste devastazioni.

© Copyright 2010 - Libreria Editrice Vaticana

SOURCE : https://www.vatican.va/content/benedict-xvi/it/audiences/2010/documents/hf_ben-xvi_aud_20101027.html

Carl Larsson  (1853–1919) , Sankta Birgitta / Saint Birgitta of Sweden and her daughter Karin,, Svenska kvinnan genom seklen / Swedish women through the centuries.1907 


BRIGIDA di Svezia, santa

di Giuseppe Gabetti - Giuseppe Ricciotti - Enciclopedia Italiana (1930)

BRIGIDA di Svezia, santa (lat. e sved. Birgitta). - Nacque probabilmente nel 1303, a Finstad nell'Uppland, di cui suo padre Birger Persson era governatore; sua madre fu Ingeborg Bengtsdotter, discendente dalla stirpe reale dei Folkunghi. Ambedue i genitori erano religiosissimi. L'indole ascetica e mistica di B. ebbe quindi ogni agio di esplicarsi e fin dall'età di sette anni ella fu oggetto di straordinarie visioni. A circa 12 anni perdette la madre e passò sotto l'educazione della zia Karin che influì molto sul carattere della nipote. Nel 1316, fu data in sposa a Ulf Gudmarsson, ed ebbe 8 figli, fra cui S. Caterina di Svezia (v.). Passata col marito a Ulfåsa, B., si prodigò in beneficenze verso i poveri, e favorì attivamente gli studî raccogliendo dotti uomini attorno a sé, fra i quali Mattia di Linköping che influì sulle sue idee mistiche.

Intanto la fama di B. si diffondeva anche fuori del suo paese, specialmente dopo che essa fu chiamata alla corte di Magnus Eriksson. Tra il 1341 e il 1343 andò in pellegrinagg) o, col marito, a S. Giacomo di Compostella. Rimasta vedova, con suo gravissimo dolore, nel 1344 B. si dedicò ormai tutta alle pratiche ascetiche, ed ebbe una ripresa delle visioni della sua fanciullezza. Essa ebbe sicura consapevolezza di vedere Cristo che le parlava e fu sua cura di mettere in iscritto o di dettare ciò che aveva udito. Tale redazione era originalmente in svedese; ma venne subito tradotta in latino dal priore Petrus d'Alvastra, suo confessore, e da Petrus di Skänninge; cosicché il testo fu ben presto diffuso in tutta Europa. Sono talvolta pie meditazioni, ma, per lo più, severi ammonimenti al genere umano, rappresentato coi suoi peccati al cospetto di Dio giudice; con infiammata parola B. si rivolge a preti e a monaci, ai potenti della terra, al papa medesimo. Le singole Revelationes sono di una tal potenza, che B. fu giustamente proclamata il maggior genio poetico della Svezia medievale.

Nel frattempo B. fondava un nuovo ordine di religiose (Ordo S. Augustini S. Salvatoris) chiamate comunemente delle "brigidine", il cui principale monastero fu costituito a Vadstena. Il monastero doveva rappresentare, secondo B., una specie di copia della società che attorniava Gesù. Esso albergava 60 religiose; in un altro edificio, vicino ma separato, vivevano 13 sacerdoti, 4 diaconi e 8 fratelli laici. I 13 sacerdoti rappresentavano gli apostoli (12 + 1 Paolo), e l'insieme degli altri membri (60+ 4+ 8) rappresentavano i 72 discepoli di Cristo. Per ottenere dal papa l'approvazione dell'ordine, B. intraprese il viaggio a Roma; e ivi rimase, raggiunta pure dalla figlia Caterina, salvo alcuni intervalli, per tutto il resto della sua vita, attendendo il ritorno del papa da Avignone. Solo con bolla del 3 agosto 1370 riuscì B. ad ottenere da Urbano V l'approvazione dell'ordine, in base alla regola di S. Agostino, con l'aggiunta di talune particolari disposizioni emanate da B. Nell'anno 1372-73 B. compì un pellegrinaggio ai Luoghi Santi: e rimase in Palestina più di quattro mesi. Ritornò a Roma dove morì il 23 luglio 1373 nel luogo (piazza Farnese) dove ora sorge la chiesa dedicata al suo nome; il suo corpo fu l'anno appresso portato nel monastero di Vadstena. B. fu dichiarata santa da Bonifacio IX, il 3 ottobre 1391. La sua festa è celebrata in Svezia il 7 ottobre, nel resto della chiesa l'8. Il convento di Vadstena fu, anche dopo la sua morte, un centro di studî che esercitò per più di due secoli sulla vita culturale della Svezia un'influenza fondamentale; e l'ordine da lei fondato esiste tuttora - riformato per sole suore - con diramazioni in tutti i paesi cattolici.

Opere: La prima edizione, Lubecca 1486, comprende 8 libri di Revelationes, di cui i primi sette nella redazione di Petrus di Alvastra e di Petrus di Skänninge, e l'ottavo riordinato da Alfonso di Jaen; seguono: la Regula Sancti Salvatoris, il Sermo Angelicus, le Quatuor Orationes e un libro di Revelationes extravagantes. V. l'elenco delle ed. seguenti in T.E. Klemming, Birgitta-litteratur, Stoccolma 1884. Lo stesso Klemming ha pubblicato un interessante testo delle "rivelazioni" in svedese antico, certamente versione dal latino, del sec. XIV; voll. 5, Stoccolma 1857-84.

Bibl.: Fonti principali sono la biografia di B. scritta da Petrus d'Alvastra e Petrus di Skänninge (in Scriptores rerum sueciarum, III), e gli Atti ufficiali della canonizzazione che sta pubblicando J. Collijn, Stoccolma 1924 e segg. V. inoltre negli Acta Sanctorum, 4 ottobre.

Dell'abbondantissima letteratura moderna sull'argomento cfr. Comtesse de Flavigny, S. B., 3ª ed., Parigi 1910; F. Russo, S. B. nella leggenda e nella storia, Napoli 1913; F. Hammerich, Den hellige B. og Birgittastudier, I, 1911; Th. Höjer, Studier i Brigittenordens historia, Stoccolma 1905; G. Binder, Die heilige B. von Schweden und ihr Klosterorden, Monaco 1891. Interessanti comunicazioni si leggono negli Atti dell'Accademia delle scienze di stoccolma, fatte dal Silfierstolpe, vol. XII; dallo Schück, n. s., XIII; dal Hildebrand, n. s., XIX. E su B. a Roma v. infine C. de Bildt, in Svenska Minnen och Märken i Rom, Stoccolma 1900. Una potente evocazione poetica di B. e del suo tempo ha offerto in Heliga Birgittas Pilgrimsfärd (1901), uno dei maggiori poeti svedesi, Werner von Heidenstam: v. la trad. it. di G. Ricci, Fiesole 1925.

SOURCE : https://www.treccani.it/enciclopedia/brigida-di-svezia-santa_%28Enciclopedia-Italiana%29/

Detail from altar in Vadstena Monastery Church. Bridget of Sweden


Birgitta Birgersdotter (Heliga Birgitta)

Ca 1303 — 1373

Helgon

Birgitta Birgersdotter var religiös mystiker, visionär och författare. Hon är den enda från Sverige som grundat en klosterorden och var den första svenskan att bli kanoniserad som helgon. Hennes fromhet hade ett stort inslag av mystik som omfattades särskilt av kvinnor i senmedeltidens Europa.

Som dotter till Upplandslagmannen och riksrådet Birger Persson och dennes andra hustru Ingeborg Bengtsdotter, dotter till Östergötlands lagman, föddes Birgitta in i den svenska samhälleliga, politiska och ekonomiska elitens kärna. Hennes tidigaste barndom tillbringades på faderns gård Finsta i Uppland, som också anses vara hennes födelseplats. Efter moderns död uppfostrades hon och en syster hos mostern Katarina Bengtsdotter. År 1316, då hon var 13 år, ingick hon äktenskap med Ulf Gudmarsson, son till lagmannen i Västergötland, själv lagman i Närke i slutet av 1320-talet och riksråd vid mitten av 1330-talet. Tillsammans fick de åtta barn, bland dessa Katarina Ulfsdotter (Katarina av Vadstena). De var bosatta på Ulvåsa gård i Östergötland. Genom sin härkomst och sitt giftermål stod hon nära den politiska makten och kunde genom sin religiöst grundade auktoritet utöva ett betydande politiskt inflytande även om hon som kvinna var utesluten från innehav av ämbeten. Hon omtalas exempelvis som lärare, eller handledare, för den till Sverige år 1335 anlända drottning Blanka av Namur och hon uppehöll sig ofta vid kung Magnus Erikssons hov.

Birgittas religiöst dominerade världsbild formades under barndomen och fördjupades genom nära kontakter med lärda teologer, främst Mats Övedsson eller magister Mathias, kanik vid domkapitlet i Linköping och Birgittas främste biktfader, liksom även prästen Hemming, senare biskop av Åbo. Till dessa lärare eller mentorer hörde också Nils Hermansson, informator för Birgittas barn på Ulvåsa och senare biskop av Linköping. Även cistercienserna i Alvastra kloster spelade en viktig roll för Birgittas andliga förkovran. Utan formella studier vid skolor eller universitet, vilket naturligtvis inte var möjligt för kvinnor, kunde Birgitta ändå förvärva en betydande och mångsidig bildning och lärdom, inte minst inom teologi och juridik. Birgitta skaffade sig också djupa insikter i samtidens intellektuella och kulturella strömningar och hon var därtill väl insatt i tidens politiska förhållanden.

Birgitta företog pilgrimsfärder, bland annat till Nidaros, samt tillsammans med maken Ulf till Santiago de Compostela för att besöka den helige Jakobs grav. Den sistnämnda resan påbörjades 1341 och på tillbakavägen insjuknade Ulf och avled kort efter hemkomsten till Sverige 1344. Han begravdes i Alvastra kloster.

Birgitta hade redan i barndomen religiösa visioner och dessa inträffade under hela hennes liv. Det var dock som nybliven änka Birgitta fick sin stora religiösa kallelse. Hon började erhålla de visioner eller uppenbarelser som gjorde att hon kom att betraktas som ett gudomligt språkrör, eller, som det också uttrycktes, som en Kristi brud. Dessa uppenbarelser och visioner möttes av skepsis och även av starka tvivel från Birgitta själv. Hon stöddes och övertygades om sin gudomliga uppgift av magister Mathias; han och biskop Hemming medverkade till att hennes uppenbarelser legitimerades teologiskt inför en samtida och ibland undrande omvärld.

År 1349 for Birgitta till Rom, som kom att bli hennes hemvist fram till sin död, bortsett från flera resor till betydelsefulla religiösa platser i Italien samt en längre pilgrimsfärd via Neapel och Cypern till Heliga Landet. Med på hennes flytt var bland andra två biktfäder, magister Peter Olovsson från Skänninge och priorn Peter Olovsson vid Alvastra kloster. Efter ett år anslöt sig även dottern Katarina. Två av sönerna vistades också periodvis hos henne i Rom. Från 1353 inhystes Birgittas hushåll i ett ännu existerande hus vid nuvarande Piazza Farnese. Hon levde ett asketiskt liv i Rom och genom sin religiösa auktoritet fick hon där ett stort inflytande. Hon hade många kontakter inom den romerska aristokratin och kallades för principessa de Nericia, det vill säga furstinna av Närke; hon var änka efter en lagman, ”furste”, av Närke.

Birgitta har efterlämnat mer än 600 uppenbarelser. De kan karakteriseras som meddelanden i form av syner eller röster som hon erhöll från framför allt jungfru Maria och Jesus Kristus, ibland även från Gud. Ibland har uppenbarelserna karaktären av samtal. Stundom kom uppenbarelser från helgon och avlidna personer. I en uppenbarelse samtalar Birgitta med sin avlidne make då han befann sig i skärselden. I en annan uppenbarelse samtalar hon med det ännu ofödda barn som hon bar på. Det finns även uppenbarelser där djävlar och demoner uppträder. Birgitta skrev ned, tolkade och förklarade dessa uppenbarelser på svenska. Tre av hennes egenhändiga nedteckningar finns bevarade. En del av uppenbarelserna dikterade hon för Peter Olovsson från Skänninge och Peter Olovsson från Alvastra, vilka översatte dem till latin. På hennes uppdrag redigerades senare uppenbarelserna av Alfonso Pecha de Vadaterra (eller Alfonso från Jaén). Hans redaktion av Revelaciones celestes (Himmelska uppenbarelser) från 1377, alltså några år efter hennes död, låg till grund för att få henne kanoniserad som helgon. Denna edition indelades i åtta olika böcker och omfattar merparten av uppenbarelserna. Därtill finns ett antal andra uppenbarelser som samlades senare och som går under beteckningen Revelaciones extravagantes. Alfonsos redaktion spreds över kristenheten i ett stort antal avskrifter. Översättningar gjordes till olika språk, däribland svenska (fornsvenska). Några uppenbarelser bevarade på fornsvenska är förlagor till vad som översattes till latin, men de flesta är återöversättningar och tillkom huvudsakligen från 1380-talet och framöver. Det fanns ett stort intresse inom den svenska högaristokratin, från vilken Birgitta själv kom, att ta del av hennes verk. År 1492 utkom en tryckt version av de himmelska uppenbarelserna i Lübeck, baserad på Alfonsos text. Tillkomsten av Birgittas texter är komplicerad och flera uppenbarelser är svårdaterade, men de utgör ett omfattande, originellt och inflytelserikt författarskap, kännetecknat av ett ytterst konkret bildspråk.

Birgittas visionära religiositet kretsade bland annat kring Gud som hjälpare för alla människor och om den ständiga kampen mellan Gud och djävulen i den enskilda människan. Hennes personliga upplevelser som kvinna och moder framträder i många uppenbarelser. Andra av hennes visioner är i stället konkret instrumentella och kan ses som en följd av Birgittas indignation över samtida moraliska, sociala och politiska missförhållanden. Ett ämnesområde gällde den pågående konflikten mellan kungarna av Frankrike och England, hundraårskriget, vars förödande konsekvenser hon upplevde på sin resa genom Frankrike. Hon skickade, troligen 1346, biskop Hemming och priorn Peter Olovsson till påven i Avignon för att förmå denne att mäkla fred, dock utan att vinna gehör. Ett annat viktigt tema för Birgitta var att återupprätta påvedömets ställning och resa kristendomen ur dess förfall genom att återföra påvestolen till Rom. Hon gav många råd och uppmaningar till kung Magnus Eriksson när det gällde att styra riket, att inte omge sig med dåliga rådgivare, att inte ta ut orättfärdiga skatter, liksom att genomföra korståg för att utbreda kristendomen på andra sidan av Östersjön. Birgittas kritik av kungen blev med tiden allt skarpare och 1361 hade hon med stöd i landslagen sanktionerat möjligheterna att genom uppror avsätta kungen. Hon uppmanade drottning Blanka, liksom även makthavare i Neapel och på Cypern, till ett frommare och mindre flärdfullt leverne. Hon betonade olika samhällsgruppers plikter och uppmanade därför ridderskapet och den svenska aristokratin till bättring. Hennes kritik av världslighet och materialitet bland prästerskap och klosterfolk var ytterst skarp och pregnant.

Birgitta hade ett stort intresse för klostren och de religiösa ordnarna, främst cistercienserna, men även för dominikanerna och franciskanerna. Redan kort tid efter Ulfs död formulerade hon utifrån sina uppenbarelser en regel för en ny klosterorden med detaljerade föreskrifter. Hennes uppenbarade ideal var ett dubbelkloster under ledning av en abbedissa, med 60 nunnor samt 13 prästmunkar, fyra diakoner och åtta lekbröder. Kung Magnus Eriksson hade planer på att grunda ett kloster på platsen för det kungliga palatset i Vadstena. Han och drottningen gjorde 1346 en betydande donation för ett framtida kloster. Troligen har Birgitta i detta sammanhang påverkat kungen och hennes fortsatta strävanden att etablera en ny orden var förknippade med Vadstena, vilket också senare blev det första och mest betydelsefulla huset inom ordern. Hennes klosterorden, Ordo Sanctissimi Salvatores (Den allraheligaste Frälsarens orden) godkändes av påven 1370. Klostret i Vadstena invigdes 1384, men verksamheten var då redan igång.

Birgitta avled 1373 och året därpå fördes hennes kvarlevor från Rom till klostret i Vadstena. Kort tid därefter påbörjades arbetet med att få henne helgonförklarad, vilket skedde 1391 och bekräftades på kyrkomötet i Konstanz 1415. Hon firas den 7 oktober (helgonförklaringen) och den 23 juli (dödsdagen). År 1999 förklarade påven Johannes Paulus II Birgitta som ett av de europeiska skyddshelgonen.

Thomas Lindkvist

Publicerat 2018-03-08

Hänvisa gärna till denna artikel, men uppge alltid författarnamnet enligt följande:

Birgitta Birgersdotter, www.skbl.se/sv/artikel/BirgittaBirgersdotter, Svenskt kvinnobiografiskt lexikon (artikel av Thomas Lindkvist), hämtad 2021-07-23.


Die Pfarrkirche St. Birgitta in Gnadenberg bei Berg in der Oberpfalz



Sainte Brigitte de Suède. Les Révélations Célestes. Traduction de Jacques Ferraige : http://jesusmarie.free.fr/brigitte_de_suede.html


Sainte Brigitte de Suède. Sa Vie, Ses Révélations et son Œuvre (pdf) par la comtesse de Flavigny : http://livres-mystiques.com/partieTEXTES/SainteBrigitte/Flavigny.pdf