- The Catholic Encyclopedia
St. Brigid of Ireland
Born: 451 or 452
Died: February 1, 525
Feast Day: February 1
Patron Saint of: dairy workers, scholars
Also known as Brigid of Kildare.
Saint Brigid was born in the year 451 or 452 A.D. to an Irish chieftain who married a servant girl. As a very young girl, Brigid felt the pull to serve her Lord and decided at that time to wed herself to her Lord as a nun. While very young, she made small acts of devotion with her generosity to the poor of the area. At the age of 18, she finally started her devotional life and at about the age of 20, she founded Ireland's first convent at a place now known as Kildare, Ireland. This convent was known as a place of devotion and of learning, for Brigid saw the connection between the spiritual and the material, and between the intellect and the faith.
Saint Brigid is known as a patron saint of dairy workers because of two well known events. As a very small child, Brigid's mother gave her money to go to market for butter; instead of buying the butter, Brigid instead gave all of the money to help poor along the way. And as an adult, as legend has it, she once gave some water to a thirsty pauper when the water turned to milk. She is also the patron saint of scholars and of the Irish.