“I would like the angels of Heaven to be among us. I would like an abundance of peace. I would like full vessels of charity. I would like rich treasures of mercy. I would like cheerfulness to preside over all. I would like Jesus to be present. I would like the three Marys of illustrious renown to be with us. I would like the friends of Heaven to be gathered around us from all parts. I would like myself to be a rent payer to the Lord; that I should suffer distress, that he would bestow a good blessing upon me. I would like a great lake of beer for the King of Kings. I would like to be watching Heaven’s family drinking it through all eternity.” ~St. Brigid
I love February. Does that sound crazy? Perhaps it is, but I love it nonetheless. For one thing, it’s a short month. For another, it has some great feasts and festivals in it, especially in the first half.
St. Brigid is the patron saint of (among other things): babies, blacksmiths. boatmen, chicken farmers, children, dairymaids, dairy workers, infants; Ireland, midwives, nuns, poets, the poor, scholars and travelers. No wonder I like her so much– I have lots of little ones and I love cheese.
There are a couple things we traditionally do on St. Brigid’s Day. We always read Brigid’s Cloak: An Ancient Irish Story by Bryce Milligan. My kids all love this story. And we always make Brigid’s Bread. Tomorrow we’re going to make St. Brigit Soup. The red is supposed to symbolize the returning of the sun and coming spring.
1. In a large pot, heat 1 1/2 teaspoons of olive oil and saute 1 chopped medium red onion, 2 cloves of minced garlic, 1 grated carrot, and 1/2 cup of finely chopped red pepper until soft.
2. Add 6 cups of broth, 2 cups of red lentils, a 16 oz can of chopped tomatoes with juice, 1/2 teaspoon of cumin, and 1/2 cup of ground coriander. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and skim off any brown foam. Cover and simmer for 1 1/2 hours.
3. Squeeze in 1 tablespoon of lemon juice and add salt and pepper before serving with Brigid bread.
Someday, I would love to make cloaks. I envision a multi-day project, dying silk on St. Brigid’s day, emboidering with gold stars on Candlemas, and sewing them on another day. Maybe next year…
Lord God, may St Brigid kindle the flame of Divine Love in me, and may her sacred mantle cover me in time of need,
wrap me in time of illness, and support me in time of trial, that I may be filled with her generosity and joy.
Through Christ Our Lord, Amen.
This would also be a good day to make homemade butter or even to try cheesemaking.
Happy St. Brigid’s Day, and may God keep you safe in St. Brigid’s cloak!