St Bride is another form of the name St Bridgid, or St Bridget. St Bride was born in 451 in Fochard, Dundalk, County Louth, Ireland. Her mother, Brocca, was a Christian slave baptised by Saint Patrick, and her father Dubhthach, a chieftain of Leinster. Dubhthach’s wife forced him to sell St Bride to a druid and the legends tell of her holiness becoming apparent even in those early years, particularly in acts of charity to the poor.
In her childhood her father is said to have seen a vision of men in white garments pouring sacred oil on her head, foreshadowing her future sanctity. As a very young woman St Bride consecrated her life to God, and gave away her possessions to the poor. She was very beautiful and had many marriage suitors. She prayed to God that she might become ugly and deformed to prevent herself from being married off, thereby breaking her vow to God. Her prayer was answered and her eye became swollen, her face less beautiful, and so she was allowed to live out her consecrated life in peace.
Around the age of 20 she approached St Mel, nephew and disciple of St Patrick, and expressed her wish to live only for Jesus Christ, and he agreed to receive her vows. At the ceremony of her profession St Bride was invested in a white habit and cloak, and as she received the veil a miracle occurred. The wooden platform she was kneeling on suddenly burst into life, greens shoots grew, and so it was for many years after. St Bride’s eye was also healed and her beauty restored.
St Bride’s example attracted other women to make their vows, and so she agreed to found a religious house for them all to live in in Kildare, the first convent in Ireland, in around 480. Her reputation for holiness spread and the bishops of Ireland persuaded her to establish other convents in their dioceses. St Bride’s small oratory at Kildare became a centre of religion and learning, with its school of art, including metal work and illumination, and went on to develop into a cathedral city.
St Bride died on February 1st 525 AD, having lived a life devoted to the service of the poor.
Read more about St Bride here,