St. Brigit of Kildare was a Celtic nun who lived in Ireland from 453 to 524 AD. She was a contemporary of St. Patrick. In addition to being a nun, she was an abbess and founded several monasteries. She was known for having a heart wide open to the needs of the poor. As with any good saint, there are lots of stories surrounding her life. One happens to be how she turned her bathwater into beer to provide hospitality to some traveling clergymen. The following poem is attributed to St. Brigit:
I should like a great lake of beer to give to God
I should like the angels of heaven to be tippling there for all eternity
I should like the men of heaven to live with me, to dance and sing.
If they wanted, I'd put at their disposal vats of suffering
White cups of love I'd give them with a heart and a half.
Sweet pitchers of mercy I'd offer to every man.
I'd make heaven a cheerful spot, because the happy heart is true.
I'd make men happy for their own sakes.
I should like Jesus to be there too.
I'd like the people of heaven to gather from all the parishes around.
I'd give a special welcome to the women, the three Marys of great renown.
I'd sit with the men, the women of God,
There by the great lake of beer we'd be drinking good health forever.
And every drop would be a prayer.
The following poem was written about St. Brigit: (from THE LOVE LETTERS OF PHYLLIS MCGINLEY, New York, Viking Press, 1957)
Saint Bridget was
A problem child
Although a lass
Demure and mild.
And one who strove
To please her dad,
Saint Bridget drove
The family mad.
For here's the fault in Bridget lay;
She WOULD give everything away.
To any soul
Whose luck was out
She'd give her bowl
She'd give her shawl,
Divide her purse
With one or all.
And what was worse,
When she ran out of things to give
She'd borrow from a relative.
Her father's gold
Her grandsire's dinner,
She'd hand to cold
and hungry sinner;
Give wine, give meat,
No matter whose;
Take from her feet
The very shoes,
And when her shoes had gone to others,
Fetch forth her sister's and her mother's.
She could not quit.
She had to share;
Gave bit by bt
The barnyard geese,
The parlor rug,
niece's christening mug,
Even her bed to those in want,
And then the mattress of her aunt.
An easy touch
For poor and lowly,
She gave so much
And grew so holy
That when she died
Of years and fame,
Put on her name,
And still the Isles of Erin fidget
With generous girls named Bride or Bridget.
Well, one must love her.
In thinking of her
There's no denial
She must have been
A sort of trial
Unto her kin.
The moral, too, seems rather quaint.
WHO had the patience of a saint,
From evidence presented here?
Saint Bridget? Or her near and dear?