Saturday 29 January 2011

Some Traditional Prayers to Saint Brigid

I felt it my duty while browsing in a charity bookshop last week to pick up a battered prayerbook, sitting forlornly on the shelves. It turned out to be a 1941 edition of Saint Anthony's Treasury, a volume still in print, although like many classic prayerbooks (the Garden of the Soul comes to mind) it is not what it used to be. The 1941 edition, however, had a comprehensive selection of prayers to Irish saints, which, alas, have been gradually whittled down in successive editions. Below are the prayers in honour of Saint Brigid which I have reproduced exactly as they appear in the prayerbook:

1. A prayer composed in 1902 by Cardinal Moran.

2. A prayer whose source is unknown to me.

3. A Novena to Saint Brigid which remains in popular use.

4. A collect.

5. A Litany of St Brigid. The wording is slightly different to that found in the collection of litanies by Benjamin Musser O.F.M which circulates online. The Musser version also concludes with the collect above, whereas the version in St. Anthony's Treasury concludes with two different prayers.

Cardinal Moran's Prayer to St. Brigid

O Glorious St. Brigid, Mother of the Churches of Erin, patroness of our missionary race, wherever their lot may be cast, be thou our guide in the paths of virtue, protect us amid temptation, shield us from danger. Preserve to us the heritage of chastity and temperance; keep ever brightly burning on the altar of our hearts the sacred Fire of Faith, Charity, and Hope, that thus we may emulate the ancient piety of Ireland's children, and the Church of Erin may shine with peerless glory as of old. Thou wert styled by our fathers " The Mary of Erin," secure for us by thy prayers the all-powerful protection of the Blessed Virgin, that we may be numbered here among her most fervent clients, and may hereafter merit a place together with Thee and the countless Saints of Ireland, in the ranks of her triumphant children in Paradise. Amen.

Prayer to St. Brigid

Dear St. Brigid, brilliant star of sanctity in the early days of our Irish faith and love for the omnipotent God Who has never forsaken us, we look up to you now in earnest, hopeful prayer. By your glorious sacrifice of earthly riches, joys and affections obtain for us grace to "seek first the Kingdom of God and His justice" with constant trust in His fatherly care. By your life of laborious charity to the poor, the sick, the many seekers for light and comfort, obtain for us grace to be God's helpers to the utmost of our power during our stay on earth, looking forward, as you did, to our life with Him during eternity. By the sanctified peace of your death-bed, obtain for us that we may receive the fulness of pardon and peace when the hour comes that will summon us to the judgment seat of our just and most merciful Lord. Amen.

Novena to St. Brigid
Foundress of Religious Women in Ireland
(To begin on the 23rd January)

O Glorious St. Brigid, Patroness of Ireland and Mother of the Churches, protect the Irish Church and preserve the true Faith in every Irish heart, at home and abroad. Obtain for us the grace to walk faithfully in the path of Christian perfection during life, and so to secure a holy and happy death, with life everlasting, in thy blessed company, through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

Prayer to St. Brigid
Patroness of Ireland
(Feast, February 1st.)

O God, Who givest us joy by the power of the intercession of Blessed Brigid the Virgin, graciously grant that we may be assisted by her merits by the example of whose chastity we are enlightened. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Litany of St. Brigid

(For private recitation only.)

Lord, have mercy.
Christ, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.
Eternal Father, have mercy on us.
Divine Son, have mercy on us.
Holy Spirit, have mercy on us.
Holy Mary, Virgin of Virgins, Pray for us.
Blessed St. Brigid, Pray for us.
Consecrated spouse of the King of Kings, Pray for us.
Corner-stone of the Monastic Institute in the Island of Saints, Pray for us.
Brigid, Patroness of Ireland, Pray for us.
Model of Irish Virgins, Pray for us.
Mother of Religious, Pray for us.
Pattern of holiness, Pray for us.
Intercessor for the Irish clergy, Pray for us.
Mediatrix for the Irish people, Pray for us.
Protectress of the faith preached by St. Patrick, Pray for us.
Enjoying with him the clear vision of God, Pray for us.

Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world: spare us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world: graciously hear us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world: have mercy on us.

Let us Pray

O God, the Author of all sanctity, grant that we who inhabit the Island of Saints, may, through the intercession of St. Brigid, walk in their footsteps on earth, and so arrive with them to the possession of Thee in Heaven. Through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Pour forth on us, we beseech Thee, O Lord, the spirit of Thy wisdom and love, with which Thou hast replenished Thy holy Servant, St. Brigid, that sincerely obeying Thee in all things, we may by a zealous imitation of her virtues, please Thee in faith and works. Through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

St. Anthony's Treasury - A Manual of Devotions (Anthonian Press, Dublin, 12th edition, 1941), 275-278.

This post was first published here.


Anthony S. Layne said...

Thanks for bringing these prayers out, Brigit. The first prayer especially strikes me as timely, in view of the recent troubles of the Catholic Church in Ireland. I have no qualms about copying it and adding it to my own collection of prayers (despite being a born-and-bred Yank!).

Faithfully in Christ Jesus,

Anonymous said...

The old prayerbooks are an amazing source of good solid devotions. I'm so glad that you're helping to bring them back to us. It's a pity that so few would buy them because I'd love to see them republished. The Treasury of the Sacred Heart and the Child of Mary Manual are two of my favourites.

Fitzy said...

Great! Some really well written stuff.

Shandon Belle said...

St. Brigid is a very practical saint as are the Irish women saints in general. We need to pray harder for a down-to-earth orthodox Christianity. No pun intended.

Brigit said...

No pun taken, you are absolutely right. My concern is that the modern prayers to St Brigid see her merely as someone who champions contemporary concerns about the environment etc. To me these older prayers present a different view of our national patroness precisely because the goddess, the social worker and the eco-warrior aren't in the picture. The older writers like Alice Curtayne always presented Saint Brigid as someone practical who understood the ordinary person.

Anonymous said...

The thing I love about St. Brigid is - pardon the phrase - how unsaintly she is. There are lots of saints concerned with very other-worldly things but you can always rely on St. Brigid to be caring about the cows and the house not being struck my lightening. I don't doubt her deep spirituality and her prayerfulness and her sound doctrine but she was a very human and practical saint.

A Prosperous Man said...

What ever happened to the Anthonian Press? No sign of it in Temple Street these days.

Veronica Lane said...

I have only begun to study this great saint but it is already giving up a rich harvest of spiritual insight.

Anonymous said...

Those is us who are the descendents of the Grey Geese of Ireland are enriched by the incredibly powerful prayers and holy meditations our ancestors used to increase their faith and trust in times of grief and trouble. Since we are all part of the Mystical Body, the Absolute Grace of God and the efficacy of prayers to His Saints is a blessing to us no matter when or where we live. Many times through the hectic years of raising two sons alone I turned to Our Lady and to St Bridget in prayer for guidance and comfort in my daily life. Never once in all this time have I ever felt my petitions are unheard. Thank you for posting these elegantly beautiful prayers for us to ponder and experience in our devotion to Ireland's Dear Saint, our Bridget. ~BostonRN~

olive said...

I was about to be made homeless this year, my husband and i were unemployed with 2 small children and no money. The future for us looked very bleak.
I have often heard people say to me in the past they prayed to St Brigid and got housed. I had never prayed to her before so while searching the internet i found this page, i printed all the prayers, i gave one to my husband and starting on St Brigid's Day we both said the prayers . Not only did St Brigid answer our prayers the house itself we found was called St Brigid's.
Thank you for posting these prayers. I will never doubt again. We are so grateful

Marcella said...

How wonderful to hear this, Olive. Yes, it's not for nothing that the 17th-century hagiologist Fr John Colgan named all three of Ireland's national patrons the trias thaumaturga - the three wonder workers. St Brigid's concern was always for anyone in trouble or need.