THE VISION OF ST. BRIGID

From Legendary Fictions of the Irish Celts by Patrick Kennedy

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Brigid, daughter of the converted Druid, Dubhthach, was distinguished from her girlhood by an intense spirit of piety. Once while listening to one of St. Patrick's discourses she was observed to fall asleep, and those who observed it made signs to the preacher to arouse her. He did not take the hint, but when the sermon was at an end and Brigid wide awake but sorrowful, he begged her to reveal the vision which he knew must have been vouchsafed her. "Alas, Father!" said she, "my soul is sad from the sights that succeeded one another while I slumbered. I seemed standing on a high eminence with all Erinn in my sight, and from every part of it were issuing bright flames that joined above and filled the atmosphere. I looked again, and behold, fires were still burning on mountains and hills, but the sight was poor compared to the former general blaze. The third time I cast my eyes abroad, nothing brighter than the puny flames of torches and candles met my gaze. This was sad enough, but when I looked again, the land was covered with ashes, except where a few solitary torches burned in caverns and in the shadows of rocks. I shut my eyes and wept, but was comforted on again opening them to see a steady bright flame blazing in the north, and which spread, scattering itself from its focus till the whole island was once more cheerfully lighted up." [1]

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NOTES

[1] This vision is explained by the great sanctity of the people at and after the death of St. Patrick, the gradual decay and almost extinction of piety during the Danish irruptions, and its revival under St. Malachy, Archbishop of Armagh.


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