IAUSA Irish Apostolate

An Immigrant's Musings - February 2014

 

St. Bríd.

  

In Ireland February first has traditionally been celebrated as St. Brigid's Day. The feast dates back to the early Middle Ages and coincides with the beginning of spring in the Celtic calendar. The name is most closely associated with Brigid of Kildare, but can be found with a variety of spellings, such as, Brigid, Bridget, Bridgit, Bride and Bríd.

  

Brigid of Kildare was an Abbess and as such the leader of a Christian community around Cill Dara in the early 6th Century. The Church at that time functioned around monastic communities, which were centers of learning and also fulfilled the role that would later be part of the services akin to hospital or clinics in our time.

  

There is a legend that Brigid was in fact ordained Bishop by St. Mel, the story is told that it happened when Mel was old and practically blind. In any case, Brigid had a great reputation for possessing miraculous powers and there are many accounts of her coming to the assistance of the sick and suffering.

  

One of the more commonly told stories of St. Brigid was when she went to the King of Leinster to ask for land to build a convent. She told the king that the place where she stood was the perfect place for a convent. It was beside a forest where they could collect firewood and berries. There was also a lake nearby that would provide water and the land was fertile. The king laughed at her and refused to give her any land. Brigid prayed to God and asked him to soften the king's heart. Then she smiled at the king and said: "Will you give me as much land as my cloak will cover?" The king thought that she was joking and because Brigid's cloak was so small he knew that it would only cover a very small piece of land. The king agreed and Brigid spread her cloak on the ground. She asked her four friends to hold a corner of the cloak and walk in opposite directions. The four friends walked north, south, east and west. The cloak grew immediately and began to cover many acres of land. 

  

The king was astonished and he realised that she had been blessed by God. The king fell to the ground and knelt before Brigid and promised her and her friends money, food and supplies. Soon afterwards, the king became a Christian and also started to help the poor and commissioned the construction of the convent. Legend has it, the convent was known for making jam from the local blueberries that was sought for all over Ireland.

  

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Kiss Someone Before You Go

 

 

The subway train sways back and forth, its wheels screeching more fiendishly than ever against the tracks. Outside the window the freezing cold of winter rules and the dreary bay looks like a yawning abyss as the train rumbles across it. The carriage is f

illed with frozen self-centered, bored passengers. Good morning!

 

Suddenly a little boy pushes his way in between discourteous grown-up legs - the kind that only grudgingly make room for you. While his father stays by the door, the boy sits next to the window, surrounded by unfriendly, morning-weary adults.

What a brave child, I think.

 

As the train enters a tunnel, something totally unexpected and peculiar happens. The little boy slides down from his seat and puts his hand on my knee. For a moment, I think that he wants to go past me and return to his father, so I shift a bit. But instead of moving on, the boy leans forward and stretches his head up towards me. He wants to tell me something, I think. Kids! I bend down to listen to what he has to say. Wrong again! He kisses me softly on the cheek.

 

Then he returns to his seat, leans back and cheerfully starts looking out of the window. But I'm shocked. What happened? A kid kissing unknown grown-ups on the train? To my amazement, the kid proceeds to kiss all my neighbors.

 

Nervous and bewildered, we look questioningly at his father, "He's so happy to be alive," the father says. "He's been very sick."

 

The train stops and father and son get down and disappear into the crowd. The doors close. On my cheek I can still feel the child's kiss - a kiss that has triggered some soul-searching. How many grown-ups go around kissing each other from the sheer joy of being alive? How many even give much thought to the privilege of living? What would happen if we all just started being ourselves?

Author Unknown

 

 

  

 

 

Should you have any comments, questions or suggestions, please feel free to contact me at: sliabhanoir@yahoo.com or 773-282-8445.

  

  

 
 

 

YOU CAN FIND FR. LEONARD'S "MUSINGS" FOR THIS PAST YEAR ON THE CHICAGO IRISH IMMIGRANT SUPPORT WEBSITE:   

 

 

 

The Irish Apostolate USA is the umbrella organization for the Irish Immigration Pastoral and Outreach Centers in the United States, under the direction of the Irish Episcopal Council for Emigrants. 

Please visit our website for more information:    Irish Apostolate USA 
Geri Garvey, Administrator
Irish Apostolate USA
Phone/Fax:  301-384-3375     Email: administrator@usairish.org