- Bridget of Sweden, Saint
▪ Swedish saintBridget also spelled Birgit, or Brigid, Swedish Sankta Birgitta Av Sverigeborn c. 1303, Swedendied July 23, 1373, Rome [Italy]; canonized Oct. 8, 1391; feast day July 23, formerly October 8patron saint of Sweden, founder of the Brigittine (Bridgettine) Order, and a mystic whose revelations were influential during the European Middle Ages. In 1999 Pope John Paul II named her as one of the patron saints of Europe.The daughter of Birger Persson, governor of Uppland, she had from an early age remarkable religious visions that influenced her entire life and outlook. In 1316 she married Ulf Gudmarsson, later governor of the province of Nericia, and bore eight children, including St. Catherine of Sweden. (Catherine of Sweden, Saint)On the death of her husband in 1344, Bridget retired to a life of penance and prayer near the Cistercian monastery of Alvastra on Lake Vetter. To the prior, Peter Olafsson, she dictated the revelations that came to her, and he translated them into Latin. One was a command to found a new religious order, which she was not able to fulfill until near the end of her life, receiving papal permission in 1370. She went to Rome in 1350 and, except for several pilgrimages, remained there for the rest of her life, constantly accompanied by Catherine. She exercised a wide apostolate among rich and poor, sheltering the homeless and sinners, and she worked untiringly for the return of the pope from Avignon to Rome. Spurred by a vision to visit the Holy Land (1372), she died soon after her return to Rome. Bridget's revelations were first published in 1492. A 15th-century English version was edited by W.P. Cumming (1929).Additional ReadingJohannes Jørgensen, Saint Bridget of Sweden, 2 vol. (1954); Life and Selected Revelations, ed. by Marguerite Tjader Harris, trans. by Albert Ryle Kezel (1990), contains her Vita and selections from her Revelations.
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