Saint Brigid of Ireland. Feast Day. February 1st. Brigid is a Patron saint of Ireland, she was an early Christian nun, abbess and founder of several monasteries . Brigid was the daughter of Dubtach a Scottish nobleman from Leinster and Brocca, a pictish slave baptised by St Patrick . Her father attempted to arrange a marriage for her with a young bard but she refused and went to her bishop Saint Mel of Ardagh under whose instruction she took her first vows as a religious. The central achievement of her life came in 470 AD when she founded the first convent in Kildare ,the name Kildare means ,” Church of the oak”. The establishment was a double monastery where Brigid herself became abbess of the convent and in time it became a centre for Irish spirituality and learning. It is believed that she also founded an art school there. Brigid is also given the tiltle “, Mary of the Gael “,from a vision experienced by bishop Ibor, a common salutation in Irish language expresses the hope that ,”Brigid and Mary be with you”. After travelling the Green Isle in a chariot proclaiming the good news of the Gospel and acquiring numerous converts she died in Kildare in 523 AD. In 1962 she was formally named Patroness of Ireland ,countless miracles are atributed to her intercession,she is invoked especially by midwives and healers.
The Presentation of the Lord Jesus in the temple of Jerusalem.Feast Day February 2nd. The feast of the Presentation of the Lord is an ancient celebration. The Church at Jerusalm observed the feast as early as the first half of the fouth century. The feast itself commemorates the presentation of Jesus in the temple on the fourtieth day after His birth. Mary and Joseph were both devout Jews who obeyed the Mosaic Law and it was custom to bring the first born son to the temple as he belonged to God. As a sign of respect and obedience to God they offered the simple offering of the poor, which was two turtle doves.Simeon and Anna the two venerable elderly people present at the time play an important role, due to the strength of their faith thay immediately recognise Jesus as the long awaited Messiah who would bring salvation . In this sense the event is another epiphany ,a manisfsetation of Christ’s Kingship. Simeon’s canticle the Nun Dimittis holds the key to Christ’s mission he was to be ,”a light to the revelation of the Gentiles”.Simeon also foretells of Christ’s suffering and rejection and the pain that Mother Mary will have to endure in her own heart.The Presentation of the Lord,is the fourth Mystery of the Holy Rosary. The feast is also known as Candle Mass, the candles are symbolic of the light Christ brings in to the world.
Saint Blaise. Feast Day. February 3rd. Saint Blaise was a physician and bishop in historical Armenia and one of the 14 Holy Helpers. According to tradition he was born to wealthy parents of the nobility and was consecrated Bishop of Sebastea while still very young. When Christian persecution began he withdrew to live in a cave as a hermit ,where he healed injured wild animals. Many miracles were attributed to him, his most famous being a story where a woman’s son was choking to death on a fish bone .Through his prayers and intercession Blaise miraculously healed her son .Mainly due to this particular miracle he is invoked by all those suffering from wounds and illnesses of the throat. Unfortunately as he was taking refuge in a cave he was discovered by the hunters of the anti Christian emperor of the time and was arrested and taken before Agricolaus ,governor of Cappadocia . Blaise was imprisoned and subjected to horrific torture finally undergoing decapitation. In many Catholic churches the blessing of St Blaise is given with the use of 2 candles held over the head or towards the throat the faithful by the priest . Rings of bread or cakes are also blessed and eaten to invoke his intercession and healing.