Madigan Muses: St. Brigid’s Day in Cleveland
by Marilyn Madigan
St. Brigid is one of the Patron Saints of Ireland and along with St. Patrick is one of the most revered of the Irish Saints. St. Brigid is often called Mary of the Gael and her Feast Day is celebrated on February 1.
St. Brigid Feast Day is the Patron Saint of the Ladies Ancient Order of Hibernians. Her Feast Day is one of the official holy days of the Order and is celebrated throughout the United States. St. Brigid’s Day has been celebrated in Cleveland by the Ladies Ancient Order of Hibernians for at least the past seventy-three years.
The Feast Day of St. Brigid (Lá Fhéile Bríde in Irish) is the first Festival of the Year. The Day is also the old Celtic festival of Imbolc traditionally the first day of spring in Ireland. In Cleveland, the Celebration of St. Brigid’s Day is the beginning of our St. Patrick’s Day Celebrations. This is the first time that the Parade Honorees and the Hibernian of the Year will be introduced to our Irish Community.
The Ladies of the Ancient Order of Hibernians, Our Lady of the Rosary Division celebrated the Feast Day with Mass at St. Patrick Church West Park. Following the Mass, a Brunch and a short program was held. Congratulations to the Hibernian of the Year Mary Ann McIlwee and the United Irish Societies Honorees for the 2019 St. Patrick’s Day Parade: Bill Homan, Grand Marshal; Eileen Kilroy, Irish Mother of the Year; Patti Maher Hanrahan and Sr. Corita Ambrose, CSJ, Parade Co-Chairs.
As we reflect on St. Brigid’s Day and look at the Cross associated with her, consider this, by Emme Finnegan.
Brigid wove a cross of rushes by a dying chieftain’s bed.
“Brigid what is that you’re making from the rushes there?” he said.
Brigid said, ”A cross I’m weaving, like the cross where Jesus died.”
“Who was this Jesus?’ asked the chieftain, “Why was this man crucified?”
Brigid told the gospel story to a dying pagan King. Lying silently, he listened,
Never saying anything. Then he kissed the cross of rushes.
Saying, “Brigid, thanks to you, I have come to love this Jesus,
I will follow his way too!”
Remember the real reason why the Irish celebrate the Feast Days of St. Brigid and St. Patrick.