St.Brigid– 1st February. Brigid is Patroness of Ireland and was an early Christian nun, abbess and founder of several monasteries. Brigid was the daughter of Dubtach a Scottish noble man from Leinster and Brocca a Pictish slave baptized 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 and took her first vows. The central achievement of her life came in 470 when she founded the first convent in Kildare,the name Kildare means “Church of the Oak” The foundation was a double monastery where Brigid 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 referred to as Mary of the Gael from a vision of bishop Ibor a common salutation in the Irish language expresses the hope that Mary and Brigid be with you. After travelling the country in a chariot proclaiming the good news of the gospel and acquiring many converts she died in Kildare in 523.In 1962 she was formally named Patron of Ireland, countless miracles are attributed to her, she is invoked especially by midwives and healers.
The Presentation of the Child Jesus in the temple of Jerusalem – 2ndFebruary.The feast of the Presentation of the Lord is a relatively ancient celebration. The church at Jerusalem observed the feast as early as the first half of the 4th century. The feast commemorates the presentation of Christ in the temple on the 40th day after his birth. Mary and Joseph were 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, two turtle doves or two young pigeons. Simeon and Anna the two venerable elderly people present at the time play an important role, due to the strength of their faith they immediately recognize Jesus as the long awaited messiah who brings salvation, in this sense this event is another epiphany( The manifestation of Christs Kingship). Simeon´s canticle the NuncDimittis holds the key to Christ´s mission ” a light to the revelation of the Gentiles” but he also foretells of Christ´s suffering and rejection and the pain that Mary will experience in her own heart. The Presentation of Jesus at the temple is the fourth Mystery of Joy in the Holy Rosary.
St. Blaise– 3rd February. Saint Blaise was a physician and bishop in historical Armenia. According to tradition he was born to wealthy noble parents and was consecrated Bishop of Sebastea while still very young. When the persecutions of Christians began he withdrew to live in a cave as a hermit where he healed wild animals.Many miracles are attributed to him, his most famous being the one where a woman whose son was choking to death on a fish bone comes to him for his prayers and intercession , Blaisemiracuously healed the boy. Mainly due to this miracle he is invoked by all those suffering for 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 taken before Agricolaus governor of Cappadocia, imprisoned subjected to horrific torture and finally decapitated. In many churches the blessing of St Blaise is given with the use of two candles held over the head or towards the throat of the faithful by a priest, rings of bread or cakes are also blessed to invoke his healing.